Monday, May 31, 2010

The End of a Four Day Weekend...

Another summer season is officially kicked off. I started mine the way I like to start it - with lots of AA meetings, lots of fellowship, lots of rest, lots of runs, some family time, lots of good stuff. I feel rested and ready to go back to work tomorrow.

Today I got a new dishwasher and stove. I am very excited about that.

I am very grateful that my son is 3 miles down the road - and not half way around the world fighting in a war.

I am very grateful that my daughter is sober today - sober for 16 months. She and 5 others on 3 Harley Davidsons decided to pay me a visit this evening. Gosh, that is a noisy way to visit someone. It was fun though. And reminded me of my early sobriety.

They gave me an update on a man who was a sober friend before he was my sober boyfriend for 10 years - he is not doing well. He has had a series of strokes. He could not see my daughter yesterday when she said hello to him at the meeting. But when she told him who she was, he reached out for her hand and told her "say hello to your mom, it is very important for you to tell her that I said hello." Oh dear Lord, I need to see him, and I think I need to see him very soon.

I can hardly stand the number of people that I seem to be losing.

But I am grateful for the number of people that God has seen fit to put in my life for me to love. And they have loved me back. Oh, what a good thing it has been.

And I know it is not over, just changing.

God has been so good to me. And I know he will continue to be.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Home Groups

There's a little sprig of lilac - brought indoors to scent my entire house. It is stationed between two icons. The large one I did myself - St. Michael the Archangel. The small triptych was a gift from London from my beloved sponsee. You do not "paint" an icon, you "write" an icon. I took a class 4 years ago. I wish I could take another, but it cost a fortune and took an entire week. Someday... someday.

This morning I hopped in my car and drove 18 miles to my old homegroup. Every single time I drive there, I say - "this is NOT my OLD homegroup - this IS my homegroup." This is where I belong. It has never ceased to be where I belong. I don't know why that is. I have gone for 15 years to the other group. But the old group is where I belong.

Here is a little illustration:

On Friday morning at the southern (new) group: I shared - I never share for more than 10 minutes. After about 5 minutes, I said something about shutting up, but continued to talk for probably 5 minutes - because I thought of something else. After I talked, a young man who is brand new and in serious trouble for domestic violence shared. After he talked for 15 minutes or so, he told me - in the meeting - that he was resentful at me for talking SO LONG - after I said I was going to shut up. The guy was obviously enraged and pretty nuts. I just smiled and told him it was OK. And there was a whole room full of people watching this -

This morning at the northern (old) group: I wasn't going to share. I was happy to just sit there and look at my old pals and listen to the old and new people talk about real AA stuff. Real sobriety stuff. But the chair person called on me. I talked for a little bit about probably nonsensical stuff - probably what I wrote last night in my blog. About being grateful to be sober. About my son's wife being pregnant. About being present in the moment and available to my family - because I am not drunk. After the meeting, three different new guys - not old friends - but new guys who do not even know me at all - came up to me and thanked me for what I said and told me they wished I came to that meeting more often.

Nobody at the old group is getting their phones out and texting or reading magazines during the meeting as they do at the other meeting. And they all pray - they say the third step prayer at the beginning of the meeting and the Lord's prayer at the end of the meeting. They have not opted to try to throw God out yet, Thank God. Maybe that is the difference.

I guess I know where I belong.

Oh, I know some AA members say they have never been to a bad meeting - but I have. I have been to meetings where there have been fist fights and chairs thrown - I would call that a bad one. I have been to meetings where people have been called names, etc. Those were not stellar either.

I am facing a lot of losses right now - I am not writing about them - some of them I will sooner or later, some of them I will not out of respect for others' privacy - I am profoundly sad. If I can go to a meeting and actually hear about recovery from alcoholism, the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and be treated nicely instead of crazily, I think I would prefer that, thank you very much. We do have these choices you know.

I can treat myself well by going to the meetings that will be good for me and will contribute to my recovery from alcoholism. This is a life and death proposition.

By the Grace of God, I can choose Life.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Tourist in My Own Town

This is the back of a mariachi band - taken with my iPhone... while dining at one of the strangest restaurants in the United States of America. My son's new father-in-law wanted to go - having been denied this event on a vacation to Denver with his grandfather when a young boy - now he insists on going. Oh, it was fun.

It was nice to see my son with his arm around his beautiful - and beginning to show her pregnancy - bride. Yes, I did just slip that little tidbit right into that sentence.

Three years ago on Memorial Day I was using every tool available to me to try to maintain my sanity - when he was in Iraq. The Memorial Day weekend might have been the worst time for me with all of the focus on blood of young men lost. It is not easy to acknowledge this when your fondest hope is for none of your beloved son's blood to be spilt. Oh, that was a long year.

And now, it is three years later. He is a newlywed. He and his wife are thrilled to be expecting a baby. All of the grandparents are thrilled. Including me.

You know, every minute of life isn't necessarily "good" when you are sober, but I am certainly grateful that I get to walk through each thing as a sober woman. I am grateful that I lived through the year he was gone - going to tons of meetings, sponsoring too many women, blogging here - and coping as best I could. I am grateful that I got to go to that crazy restaurant tonight and enjoy a pink lemonade. I didn't even consider until this moment what it might have been like had I tried to "enjoy" a frozen margarita... or two... or three... or four. Oh, I can easily see the dirty looks instead of the smiles and laughter. I can see the stupid jokes instead of asking others questions to try to get to know them better. I can imagine the loud mouth big shot-ism that comes with a few drinks. And I can easily imagine myself standing at a bar right now having a couple of beers and probably telling some poor soul how my family just doesn't appreciate me....

Oh, yeah, too bad I had to give all that up.

And now I shall go to bed - having been up since 3:30 a.m. I am tired. It was a huge day. And I think I have another huge one tomorrow. By the Grace of God...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Evening Outdoors

I'm sitting with my laptop on my deck - surrounded by flowers. My lilacs did bloom and bloom abundantly - they are an olfactory delight. It is nearly overwhelming. But oh so short-lived. Really, I don't know if I could take much more than a couple of weeks of this.

I had a very busy day today. Started at 6:30 at an AA meeting, then to church. Then a very hot four mile run. My daughter came over for a quick visit, then I went to physical therapy. My physical therapist was amazed at my improvement - I was amazed that there was any improvement. I actually broke down and cried when I told her that I have felt that this shoulder has felt to me like the thing that is going to turn me into an old person. Not having the use of your right arm is very limiting. I have done my exercises - and now I will continue. Oh, please - I need this thing to recover.

Tomorrow I meet my running club at 6:45. We are not meeting at 5:30 as we usually do because we are not doing big mileage.

I am feeling tired and a little blue and I need to go to bed. Tomorrow is another day.

Praise God I am sober to face it!

OH! A little gift from God - the first star of the evening shining through the leaves of the trees! Oh, how beautiful.

And speaking of gifts - you guys have been too kind with your comments. Thank you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back with so little...

I have wanted to write this post for days, but haven't had enough time. I haven't been able to fully form the thoughts. I still haven't really got them fleshed out. So, as I have a thousand times - and that is no exaggeration - I sit down to write something, not sure what it is that I am trying to say, and not sure how to say it. And that is why I love to blog.

I want to say I miss you all, but most of "you all" who I miss don't blog any more. I am sad about that. There are those who remain and I appreciate you, I really do, but as you know, you are few. There are those who are new and there are some of you who I truly appreciate. I have written to some of you in my absence.

I miss writing. I love writing. Some "real" writer, who I know I should cite - but I can't remember who said it, said, "how will I know what I think if I don't write?" I have felt somewhat lost these seven or eight days without writing. Many times over these days I have thought "I will blog about that!" "I will put a picture of that on my blog!" just like the way you think of things you would like to tell your recently deceased friend. It felt like a death in many ways.

I have a four day weekend starting tomorrow. I am grateful for it, including the furlough day. Yes, I am tired enough to be grateful for a day off without pay. I have not a whole lot planned. I spent the afternoon today with a sober friend who fixed my sprinkler system (and then I wrote him a big check - yikes!) Then I had dinner with my dear sponsee who I love so much. Tomorrow I will go to a meeting, then to church, then for a four mile run... then who knows? I might write a more cheerful blog post.

I am not real sure I have a whole lot to offer right now, but with your indulgence, I think I would like to write again... and I would be very grateful for your readership... and your comments. Really. You have no idea how much your kind comments mean. I had no idea how many "anonymous" readers were reading my blog - I wish you would say hello every now and then.

Thank you, and love,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On Sabbatical

I need to take a break from blogging. I also need to thank you. For nearly five years I have written here every single day. Along every journey - some on highways, some on planes, some only in my mind, I always felt that you were with me, and I have felt that you added to my life immensely. Thank you.

And if you are a stray reader who has come here because you wanted to read about a person who is sober, I am still sober and I would still say to you:

Don't drink.
Go to an AA meeting. (you can look up a local meeting online or in your phone book)
Read the Big Book.
Get a sponsor.
Trust God, and clean house.

AA works. Whether you are sober 25 minutes, 25 days, or 25 years... AA works just fine.

God Bless You All,
Mary Christine

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reading in Bed

I'm going to bed now. I will read for a while until my eyes start closing... and then I will shut them (hopefully) until tomorrow morning.

My back hurt so much today that I stayed home from work. I got a heating pad and went to bed. I know that I should have iced it instead of heating it, but ice is horrible and heat is nice. I slept all morning and didn't do much more than that this afternoon.

This evening I watched American Idol. I think my guy just might win it. He sure is good.

I am in pain. I am worn out. There is not much more to say about that - I guess that is the Forrest Gump approach to sharing. That's all I have to say about that.

Good night.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Merle Haggard

The title of one of Merle's songs says: I'm always on a mountain when I fall. Oh, how I love Merle. He sure can write and sing a song for an alcoholic. When I was a young drunken woman living in a small town in New Mexico, I would sit at the bar and play the song Misery and Gin over and over and over again on the juke box until the bar tender would ix-nay it every time it started. It is not exactly good for the atmosphere in a bar. Unless, of course, you would like to see everyone peering intently down into their glasses of beer, crying. (watching the video just now on YouTube actually made me cry, remembering all that pain.)

Oh, yes, these were the "good times." The times I didn't want to give up. Imagine wanting to hold on to all that "fun."

I thought it was so romantic to be a bit of a problem drinker. Interesting people had interesting problems. I never aspired to be a boring person who did everything as expected. It is certainly a good thing that was never my aspiration, because I certainly didn't disappoint myself. I pretty much screwed up everything until I got sober - and for quite a while after I got sober too actually.

My friends and I went out to a Chinese restaurant on Saturday night. I was disgusted when my fortune cookie said "you are competent, reliable, and trustworthy." My sponsor said "That is true!" Oh, I was so disappointed. I would like a fortune to say something like "you are the life of the party!" "You are the most fun person around!" But the truth today is that I am competent, reliable, and trustworthy.

I used up my lifetime supply of screwing up long ago - I think.

Thank God for the second, third, and fourth chances we get.

And that I still get to listen to Merle.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Everyone's Gone...

Do you see my city off in the distance? Sitting on the plain on this beautiful Sunday afternoon? After my guests left this morning and after I went to church, I took an 8 mile run. The masochist in me planned a three mile uphill route, followed by running about on a mountain for a while - see above - then running down. It was a bit ambitious - maybe overly so. My body is not feeling so great right now and I am planning on going to bed before it is even dark tonight. I consider that one of life's greatest luxuries.

The weekend with my sponsor was great. I have a small feeling of desolation now that they are gone.

She used to live a mile away. Now she lives a very large state away.

She used to have bright red hair. Now it is grey.

We used to laugh a bit more freely. And have a bit less to mourn.

Getting older is not really that easy of a thing to do. I am not really complaining. I am just a bit sad tonight. For how things change. For all the losses over the years. All the people we still miss.

She was recalling the nutty girl who couldn't sit still who lived in North Denver. She said she can't even believe I am the same woman as she. I can't either.

Last night we went to visit her God daughter. I last saw this child when she was about 3 or 4 years old. Last night was the eve of her confirmation. That makes her sixteen years old. She is beautiful. She is the daughter of an AA member I have known forever. Last night he was sitting in a chair, post hip-replacement, mourning the recent death of his sponsor.

Oh, I am morbid. Maybe too tired.

Here's what's good:
  • I am sober and alive - alive to get old enough to see myself and others get old.
  • I have had the same sponsor for fifteen years - we have a lot of history - and a lot of love.
  • She may live far away, but she is always close to me, and always a phone call away.
  • I have had a sober life for this last quarter of a century - and have so many memories of wonderful people I have met in this fellowship -whether they stayed sober or not - whether they are alive or not - whether they are around or not - they are still a part of my life.
  • It is dusk and I can go to bed.
  • The birds are singing - the trees have leaves on them - the windows are open - and I think spring has finally arrived.
And in the immortal words of Orphan Annie - "The Sun will come out Tomorrow"

Saturday, May 15, 2010


My plants got to go outside today! I still won't put any in the ground, but the pots are outdoors basking in a couple of minutes of sunshine right now. Its a wonderful thing.

This morning my sponsor, her husband, and I loaded into their car and drove down to the 6:30 meeting. It was glorious to be there. I haven't been there since I joined my running club - which meets on Saturday mornings. It happened to be someone's 10 year birthday - I got to reflect on his ten years. How much he has changed. How much he has meant to me. How much my life has changed in those ten years... I had just gotten my bachelor's degree in 2000 when he got sober - I was sober 15 years. It seems like yesterday - and also like light years away. I was so grateful to be there for his birthday. And I was so grateful to be seated between my sponsor and her husband. Two people who mean the world to me.

We got to go out for breakfast with a bunch of people. Again, it was just glorious.

To sit with these people who are so much a part of my life - it is priceless.

When I was sober about 6 years, I moved northern Washington and met a bunch of AA folks - the likes of whom I had never known. They had fellowship that I didn't know was possible. After I was around for a year or so, I realized something that was absolutely earth shattering to me. They didn't just happen to fall together - all these super cool neat kind wonderful people. They came together as a bunch of drunks - as difficult as drunks can be, and then because they spent the time together, loving one another, sponsoring each other, and sincerely working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, practicing the principles in their affairs, they grew into the kind of people you would actually WANT to hang out with. It was a revelation to me. When I moved back to Colorado I took this revelation with me.

So, all the people I got to sit with this morning and be astounded by my love for them? If you heard all the back stories, you might be amazed that we could all sit at the same table. We don't have all peaceful lovey-dovey stories. But because we have God in our lives, and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, we have peaceful relationships today - that truly are full of love.

It is a wonderful thing.

The sun is shining on me today. Literally and metaphorically.

Thank you God.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Morning

(more flowers sitting around - waiting for it to be warm enough to go outside to play)

My sponsor and her husband arrived yesterday afternoon. Yay! Thursday nights were always "our" night - because her husband (also an AA member) has a group of guys who get together on Thursdays for dinner and then travel to a different AA meeting each week. Last night he went out with those guys - many of whom are my friends. We stuck around here and then met up with one of my sponsees for dinner. Oh, it was great fun. We used to have an AA meeting we attended on Thursdays - just up the street, but after she and her husband moved away and another member moved, and yet another member died, it just sort of evaporated.

It sure was good to be with my very own last night. These are the woman who are my very own. We are cut from the same bolt of cloth. We understand each other on a cellular level. We are not "sweet" women. We are not easy women. We all were drunks - we drank a lot of booze, we did stupid stuff, we fell down and we puked. We all hit our bottoms, none of which involved skid row, prisons, or any other extremes... but we all drank for a long time and drank a lot. We are all clear on the devastation our drinking caused in our lives and the lives of others. We are all grateful to AA for our very lives. We are all clear on the fact that God did for us what we absolutely could not do for ourselves. And that we still need him to. Because we are not women who magically got "well" and were able to waltz away from AA and into magical fairy land of "recovery." Oh, I cannot tell you how good it is to be with these women!

I don't know what all this weekend will entail. I didn't make any plans - my sponsor has a sister to see and whatever friends she wants to see - I don't want to put any expectations on her time here. Her husband has several sponsees to see here. I hope to have a parade of people through my home as I frequently do when they are here. I love, love, love it.

Yesterday I saw the dermatologist for my first ever full body scan. Yikes. I was really really frightened. I am a fair haired and skinned woman of 58 years - who has never ever shied away from the sun, nor the tanning beds - eeeeek! The only areas of problem for me were on the left side of my face - from driving a car. I had some pre-cancerous stuff - which got frozen off. But now I am left with some angry swollen blistered awful looking leprous areas on my face. I guess I will look like this for a week or so? And then I won't. But the timing is not good - I guess it never is. (Gosh, I really like dashes today - don't I - ?)

This morning I go to the first physical therapy appointment for my frozen shoulder. So far my herbal remedies have done nothing but clean out my checking account. I am a little bit nervous about the PT too. This thing hurts and I don't want someone yanking on it. But I will bravely go and do what they tell me to do. This needs to get better - pronto!

A good weekend is ahead. It is wonderful to have these people I love so much sleeping downstairs while I drink my coffee, eat my oatmeal, and write my blog. Somedays it is just so good - and this is one of those days.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


My house is full of flowers intended for the (frozen May) outdoors. A rosebush sits on the bar between the kitchen and the dining room - aren't the roses glorious? My entry way is full of pots of flowers, there are trays of flowers sitting in boxes on rugs scattered about in the living room. Last night when I got home from work, I carefully walked down the icy back stairs to the back yard to take clippings off my beloved lilac bush - you can see a vase full on the dining room table. They are still not fully open. I still have hope that what remains outdoors are not fully frozen - I guess I will know tonight when I get home from work. I checked my rosebushes in the front (which has a southern exposure), and they are fine. The back, with its northern exposure, could be a different story. I will live through it - and I certainly will not need a drink over it.

Today my sponsor and her husband are due to arrive. I am thinking they may change their minds if they think there is too much snow on the mountain passes. I am very excited that they may be here when I get home from work. I have a refrigerator full of food and a guest bedroom all fluffed up for them. The guest bathroom has clean towels, new soaps, nice candles, new toilet paper, and is as good as it gets. The downstairs family room is dusted and vacuumed and ready for "prime time."

I am so ready to sit down and talk with this woman I love so much.

I had a hard time finding a good sponsor. I have some horror stories, unfortunately, about experiences with sponsors. I am so grateful I never let these experiences color my opinion of AA or change my resolve to stay sober.

When I was sober almost eleven years, I was at a meeting with one of those know-it-all guys. It was before the meeting, and he asked me who my sponsor was. I told him. It was Eva. I loved Eva. He asked me who Eva was. I told him. He asked me how often I talked to Eva. Well, the truth was, I didn't talk to Eva very often. Mr. Know-it-All then had the nerve to tell me I needed to ask M. to be my sponsor. I was incredulous that this guy would have the nerve to tell me to get a new sponsor - and then tell me who it should be!

And just about ten seconds later, M. walked into this meeting. She never went to this meeting. I sat through the meeting wondering about the meaning of this. I asked God to help me with discernment. After the meeting, I asked her to be my sponsor. She, in her inimitable crusty way, asked me if I was "ready to work the program." Oh! I could not believe she would say something like that to me! I was sober nearly 11 years! What did she think I had been doing? I spent that night, sleepless, wondering why that bothered me so much.

That has now been 15 years ago. This woman has become someone so important to me. I have a bookshelf in my bedroom with all of my AA literature. It has photographs of my grandparents, my parents, and my M., my sponsor. I didn't plan it that way. But she is that important to me. She is family to me. She and her husband retired a few years ago and moved to the other side of the State. We talk on the phone a couple of times a week, and see each other a couple of times a year.

And I think I am going to see her today! Yay!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Practicing these Principles...

I was heartbroken to look out the window and see my lilac bush this morning... fallen and frozen under the weight of the snow. The absolutely only consolation I can think of is that my friend Ed G. came by yesterday and commented that he is allergic to lilacs. Well, I guess this is going to be a good year for him!

So, yesterday there was a bunch of drama here. Not to belabor the point, but I said some things that were hurtful to someone. I edited my post within an hour and took out the offending material, so most of you never saw it.

Here is the point: I realized I was wrong. I prayed. I promptly contacted the person I had hurt and told her that I was sorry. We were able to quickly, through a few e-mails, make amends, and go back to our former friendly relationship. God is so good when we allow him to help us with our relationships!

Someone else, however, reads my blog every single day and got involved. I have asked her not to read my blog. I don't know why she does. I have looked at her blog a couple of times and I don't go back there because there is nothing there that I want to read (yesterday, just for giggles, I looked at it, and it talks about skinning someone alive - uugh). If I don't like someone's blog, I don't continue to go back and I don't leave mean comments. I especially don't go back every single day and wait for a day of weakness and then pounce - so to speak. She has attacked me a couple of times before when I have been feeling not well. I ALWAYS delete her comments, they are never constructive, they are never kind, they never contribute anything to the dialog here. She asked me why yesterday. Why? Because it is my blog. I can. And I will.

Most of my old readers have moved on from the blogosphere and a new (and smaller) set of readers have replaced them. Maybe you don't realize who I am. I have NEVER EVER set myself up as some expert on sobriety. I am not one who has "arrived" and will now lecture you all on how to do it. I am a person who, by the Grace of God, has not had a drink of alcohol since July 24, 1984 - and that gives me a good amount of sober experience. It does not make me immune from being a human being who has faults, emotions, and occasional troubles. The purpose of my blog is to share what life is like for a person who is living sober - one day at a time - no matter what happens. Trying my very best to practice these principles in all my affairs. Staying sober. Living peacefully. Growing closer to God.

But somedays I am just an alcoholic brat.

And I have a program for that.

Thank God.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11 - Winter Weather Advisory

My lilac bush is almost in full bloom. And today we have a winter weather advisory. We may get a considerable amount of snow over the next 24 hours. If it starts snowing, maybe I will cut all of the flowers off of my lilac bush and bring them indoors so that I may enjoy them for a few days. For the last 2 years the buds have frozen and I have had no lilacs - I had such hope this year.

I will go out and run my four miles this morning. Perhaps that will lighten my mood. I am profoundly discouraged this morning.

About a month or six weeks ago, I had made the decision to quit blogging. I prayed about it. God sent to me a woman, a terrible drunk, in despair. I took that as a message that my blog had a mission. So, I persevered - happily. This has not worked out as I had hoped for her. And now I have upset her.

I have thought and prayed about this for the past 12 hours or so. I have even lost sleep over this. Is this a personal affront to me? No. I have never met this woman. I have no investment in whether she goes to AA. But I do care about her because she is another alcoholic - just like me.

God bless her. God bless them all. I wish them all the best. Really I do.

I know that AA does not claim to have the only answer to alcoholism.

It is just that in my 25 + years of experience in AA, I have watched too many people waltz out the door with their magical answer, only to go to their funerals later. I wish this were not so. I wish it with all my heart.

I also wish I had a blog with a pretty little incoherent blather about how happy I am and how much I love everyone. But alas, that is not me.

I have pretty much one message.

I was a terrible drunk. I drank daily for 18 years. I could not stop. I tried on my own for years and years, and could not do it. One day, I picked up the phone and called Alcoholics Anonymous. That day was July 24, 1984. I have not had a drink since that day. I believe that God did for me what I could not do for myself - and got me to AA, where I was able to get the help I needed. A huge part of that help - for me - was to help others.

The Grace of God and the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous.... that's my message.

I have edited this post. I have upset the woman I wrote about and for that I am deeply sorry.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back to the Work-a-Day World

The photo is from my run on Saturday - it was on a trail that ran along the Clear Creek in Golden - famous site of the Coors Brewery. It really was beautiful. And very close to home.

Yesterday I got several text messages wishing me a Happy Mothers Day - and I don't know who they were from. Since my blackberry died and I changed providers, I had to hand enter all of my phone numbers - I am sure I missed some. Like the people who wished me a Happy Mothers Day yesterday - I have no clue who they were. I thought of answering "thanks - but who are you?" but thought I would leave well enough alone. I talked with all of my children, including my long lost daughter - given up for adoption at birth in 1967. What a thrill it was to get a call from her.

And now I must get back to work. I told people I would be there at 7 o'clock... it is now 6:18 and I am sitting here at my home computer in my jammies. I could make it if I really kicked it in the butt.... but I would have to really work at it. I was invited out for snacks after work - including deep fried pickles - who can resist such a thing? We are supposed to meet at 3:30. At 7 p.m. I have my final exam for year 3 of Biblical School. I have a whole little handwritten book of notes to study today. I will do that. Amid the other things I must do.

It is all good. I am so grateful to be fully engaged in life today. Not something I was able to do when I was drinking.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

This is my newest rose - the mothers day gift from my children. I thought it was splendid that it bloomed in time for mothers day. I took the photo with my iPhone - and I am impressed with the quality of photos you can take with that thing!

My children will not be here with me today - they all had other commitments for today. I try not to be sad about that. And so far today I haven't been. We all went out for dinner on Thursday to celebrate mothers day. I will try to avoid looking around my neighborhood at the families that look happy - and thereby comparing my insides to their outsides and coming up short every single time. Comparisons are odious - and I do try to avoid them. Sometimes I am weak though...

My neighbor and I have a standing date for the first Saturday in May - we go buy our flowers. This year we are going today. It has been too cold to put flowers outside. It is still probably too cold, but we are doing it anyway.

This morning I have already been to a meeting, then to Home Depot for some pots and soil, and back home to get things ready for my summer flower extravaganza. It sure would be a lot easier if I could move - yesterday after my 6 mile run/walk, I came home and spontaneously broke out the tree trimmer and started pruning the dead limbs off of a huge tree in my front lawn. Then I had to cut up the branches and bundle them for trash removal... then I continued with weeding, lawn edging, and lawn mowing. Last night at mass, I was hurting so bad, I could barely stand and kneel - sitting wasn't such a problem.

Oh well, this too shall pass. These are good problems to have.

I hope you are all blessed with nothing but good problems today. And happy mothers day to all.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Saturday Morning

This is the hydrangea I gave my friend at work for her birthday yesterday. I almost bought two, one for me, and one for you... but I refrained.

I need to be out of here shortly for my Saturday morning run. I am beginning to love this. I am sure I will love it more when it is not 33º in the morning - as it is this morning.

Yesterday I had a particularly productive day at work. I have a workgroup, working on a project, but decided to get a smaller group to do some work outside of the group. We needed to just blast out a particular portion of the thing. We met yesterday afternoon. On a Friday afternoon - after lunch. And we got some stuff done that I think will benefit the organization and its clientele long into the future. I think the reason we got that kind of productivity was the fact that we have worked together a long time and we are all friends. We trust each other. We can truly "brainstorm." We know that we won't be ostracized or mocked for crazy ideas... and therefore we came up with some really good, but novel, ones. Because none of us want to work on the aftermath of any more suicides.

OK, I gots to go. Excitedly going off into my Saturday morning. And I hope you all are too.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Another Rose

There's a rosebush sitting in my kitchen tonight. My children gave it to me for Mother's Day. It is a particularly nice variety. Its name is "Chicago Peace," which reminds me of my youth. Having lived through the 60s in the Chicago area - which was the furthest thing from peace, but it was what we wanted. We idealistic, crazy, drug-addled youth. The flowers are reminiscent of flame - pink and yellow - I will treat you (or bore you) with photos through the summer, I am sure.

The day was just so jam-packed with stuff, I just don't know how I feel - other than tired. I could just decide to be grateful, and that is good. But I think there is an underlying sadness that would be good to acknowledge.

My heart is breaking for more than one person. I am struck by how we cannot make an intellectual decision to be done drinking. It is not a function of the intellect. If busy resolutions worked, we all would have been sober years before we got beat up as badly as we did. It is a deep surrender, a deep knowing that it is over. Done. There is no place else to go.

When I got to AA, I was so grateful to be with people who did not judge me or look at me as a fallen woman. They just understood me, reached out to me and treated me like I belonged. Because truly I did. For the first time in my life, I belonged.

And now I belong so many places it makes my head spin. So I need to put it on my pretty little pillow. Grateful for another sober day.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Average Day, Average Night

I am devoid of ideas right now. It just was a day. A day as good as any other. They are all pretty good - I am alive. I am sober. I am gainfully employed. I have a family who loves me - even if they don't do exactly what I want them to.

I went to a 6:30 meeting this morning on my way to work. I saw someone I haven't seen in at least a year ( I think). He had a terrible relapse and is now sober (I hope). Another blogger writes about him from time to time and calls him Mike. I was shocked to see how much the effects of the last year show on him. He looks at least 10 years older. He is shaky and shows signs of neurological damage. But he is still a charmer and promoter and still was trying to talk me into coming to his home group on Saturday night... I told him I might be able to make it in 2 weeks. Bless his heart. It was sure good to see him. I thank God he is alive.

At lunch I went to Whole Foods (whole paycheck?) with my daughter to get some things I needed. I also wanted to get some advice about natural anti inflammatory stuff. So, I got some of that, and left with a lot less money. But I feel better about taking turmeric and rosemary, etc. than a steady diet of motrin. I'll give you a full report, OK?

I have to go to sleep. I am scheduled to run 3 miles tomorrow and need to do it in the morning - my son and daughter in law would like to take me out for dinner tomorrow since they are going out of state for Mother's Day. To see her mother. Being the mother of the groom is very different than the mother of the bride. She is a very young bride, and far from home, and we can all cut her some slack.

Thank God I have a program that taught me to love people. Because that was not something I was born with. Some people seem to be born with that ability - I was not.

In the homily at mass on Sunday, the priest said something about love. When we talk about romantic love - we calling it falling in love. But the kind of love we are called to - the difficult kind of love - we have to climb into. I liked that a lot.

I have had to climb into a lot of love.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Someday is Now

An old friend sent an e-mail yesterday asking if I could have lunch today. He said he realized it was late notice and understood if I was unable. I told him I would be thrilled to have lunch today, it just so happened that I was available. But then I started wondering what was behind this sudden invitation for lunch. This man is a Catholic priest, and an old friend. He can be a little bit difficult and we have had a few minor difficulties over the years, but basically we have been very good friends.

The more I wondered about the reason for this lunch out of the blue, the more I worried about it. But then he showed up in my office at 11:30, and I was so happy to see him. We went to a restaurant we used to go to all the time. We talked and laughed and caught up with each other. I finally asked him why did he suddenly e-mail when we haven't gotten together for so long. And he said at the age of 72, he can't put off things, if he wants to see someone, he better do it... because "someday is now."

I told him how grateful I was that he took that initiative. It was so good to see him. We resolved, as old friends do, to stay in touch, to get together more. Hopefully this, unlike the other resolutions, will be true. But even if not, I do appreciate the time we spent today.

Oh, there are a million things going on, but right now, I have the memory of a beautiful vietnamese lunch with a wonderful friend on a warm spring afternoon. And that shall sustain me into a beautiful sleep on a lovely warm evening - the first with the window open, and the sheers billowing in the breeze. That's quite good enough for today.

May you find what is good enough to sustain you for today. xoxox

Monday, May 03, 2010

Golden Ticket

I sure was happy to get my United States Passport in the mail tonight. Tomorrow I expect to get the card version. And then I expect to get my birth certificate back in another envelope. I am nearly ecstatic about having this little bit of proof of my legitimacy. I am not even planning to go anywhere, but I know I can if I need or want to. It was so difficult to obtain this in 2010, as opposed to the last time I got one in 1990 - I do not intend to ever let it expire.

Today I went to visit an orthopedic surgeon and got my shoulder problem diagnosed. It is Adhesive Capsulitis of Shoulder - aka Frozen Shoulder. The good news is that it is treated with movement, movement, and more movement. Not surgery. The bad news is that every movement hurts like hell. But if it makes my shoulder better, I will gladly endure the pain. The telling thing about this is that the doctor cannot even force my arm to move. It just will not move. I will get it to move.

Tonight I went to the next to the last night of my third year of Biblical School. There is a young woman at my table who I have become very fond of. She has spoken of her mother, with whom she has a poor relationship. Her mother is a couple of years younger than I am. Tonight after class, she came up to me and told me that I always look so cute and wear such nice clothes - she wants to be like me "when she grows up." And then she quickly added that she didn't mean "cute" as trying to look young - because she admires me for looking age appropriate. Wow. What a compliment.

It is all such good stuff. I had a long chat with my sponsor tonight. We talked about being in elementary school and being told we were hopeless. We talked about how that felt - hopeless years before either of us ever took our first drink. She was told she was "incorrigible." I was told I was "in a rut," which I knew I could never climb out of. And yet, here we are today, two sober women, she for 37 years, me for 25. I don't think anyone would accuse either of us of being incorrigible or in a rut. The Grace of God is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Revisionist History

This is my first photo with my new iPhone. I am very happy that I spent the couple of hours it took to return the phone I purchased yesterday and attend to all of that... and then drive across the street to get an iPhone. I am very excited about this little doo dad.

So, in my travels this weekend, I was driving up Federal Boulevard in Denver, Colorado on the first weekend in May. If you have ever lived in Denver, you know this is not something you want to do. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated. The rogue element of the celebration is "cruising" Federal - making this road and all the roads leading to it virtually impassible.

I used to live 2 blocks from Federal in North Denver. It is a traditionally hispanic neighborhood. It is now one of those gentrified old neighborhoods with wonderful restaurants and cute shops. It is a beautiful old area with flagstone sidewalks, old trees, old houses, and old churches. But in 1998, Cinco de Mayo got so out of control, I holed up in my house for the entire weekend. I was afraid to leave the house. I should have left, but I didn't know if I could get out. The noise from the cars was deafening, and terrifying. In the end, there were (if I recall correctly) two murders, two blocks from my house.

After that weekend, I decided to move.

It is funny that this is not part of my "story." I don't think of my decision to move that way. Maybe it isn't flattering to me. I only remember this when it is the first weekend in May and I have visceral reminders of that time.

If you asked me last week why I moved from North Denver to the southern suburbs, I would have told you it was closer to work and that I couldn't afford to buy the old house I was living in - and I couldn't afford the upkeep on it. All of that is true, but those are not the real reasons. The real reason was that I couldn't live in a house where I would be trapped by rioting crowds for 3 days a year.

It does make you wonder what else you may have "revised" ....

That's why I have friends and family and a wonderful sponsor for frequent reality checks. And thank God for them.

Sunday Morning

I have many ideas for blog posts over the last several days, but I am writing on the fly and no one seems to be reading my blog this weekend (or commenting anyway) so I will hold off for now. For the record the ideas are 1. Finding I have revised my own history, 2. Setting ones self up for a drink - do we talk about this anymore?

As it is, I have had a day that wanted to be a frustrating day yesterday, and expect to be challenged not to have another one today. I got up at 3:45 a.m. and struggled to get dressed in the 27º morning and out to meet my running / fast-walking group across town. But I did, and it was great. I finished my 7 miles before 8 a.m. and went to check my phone - which was dead. Dead. Dead.

I pulled out the battery to do a reset. Its lights came on, but its little buttons still did not work. On the way home I went to the grocery store. I asked if they had a pay phone - ha! I guess there is no such thing. They let me use their phone. I called my phone, which lit up and I could see someone was calling me, but the buttons would not allow me to pick up.

Well, I may make fun of my daughter for her endless phone usage and texting - but my phone needage is just slightly more subtle. I don't even have a home phone! The idea of not having a working phone does not appeal to me at all! Instead of taking a nap, I ran over to the Verizon store to see if they could figure out what was wrong with it, and 2 hours later, I walked out of there with a shining new blackberry.

I hate this phone.

Today I am going to endeavor to return it to the Verizon store, cancel my contract and go to the AT&T store and buy what I really want. And that is an iPhone. This is not my idea of how to spend a weekend.

Interspersed with this, I did get to go to a gathering of my group last night at a fellow member's house. It was so lovely to sit with these people. I managed to bake a pie yesterday between all the miles and the phones too. I sat on the sofa at one point between two men in the group - we were squished together because there were a thousand (an exaggeration, you must surely realize) people there. One is a handsome man in his early 60s, sober for close to 20 years. I have known him for as long as I have gone to that group - which is over 15 years now. The other is a younger man who just turned 40. He is sober 6 or 7 years, I have known him since he came slinking in the doors back then. I have watched him turn from a dirty homeless kid to a respectable young man, now married to a respectable young woman. I love these guys. I sat between them and thought how lucky I am to be a part of this AA family.

Most people don't have the kind of friends we have - ever. And we can travel all over town and find them. All over the world really.

It is a good deal. Because AA works. Yes it does.

Gotta get ready for church. You all have a nice Sunday, OK?