Saturday, December 31, 2011

Endings

I snapped this photo last night after being dropped off in front of the restaurant while my fella found a parking place.  Actually, I think that is him crossing the street in the distance.   We went to three restaurants before we found one with a wait time of less than an hour - and I was starving!

This morning I am going to meet my running club because I want to meet with the triathlon coaches to get a plan or some suggestions about how to proceed.  I don't know that I am going to do any miles at all because of the ongoing undiagnosed problems with my foot.  But I want to see my pals and talk to the coaches - so I am excitedly getting ready to go out for a non-run.

Yesterday was such an exciting day.  I still don't want to write it down because it is not FINAL, but I feel very happy and good about where my future appears to be heading.  All of my indecision was taken away yesterday when I met this young woman who would be my boss.

I was so elated after our meeting, I left work, and went to church to pray for a while - you know, those wonderful "THANK YOU" prayers.  And then I went to the yarn shop to get some yarn for socks.  I love to knit socks and I need to knit a pair right now.  There are other projects I am working on, but I seriously NEED to knit a pair of socks right now - there is so much comfort in it.  You should see this yarn!  I will post pictures as we go, I am sure.

I am making dinner tonight.  New Year's Eve at home with a man I care for, this sounds so wonderful to me.

It was a good year.  Another sober year.  Another year with a marathon in it.  And at the end of it, it truly looks like I will have some new adventures in the new year.  I look forward to them with hope and faith.

Sobriety is so good.  God has been so very good to me.  I am wishing you all a very safe and peaceful New Year's Eve and a happy 2012.  May we all stay sober - one day at a time.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Momentous Friday

Today I have a meeting that will probably decide my future career.  I have an opportunity, but I need for it to be good in order to make the move.  I put my "needs" out on the table last week and today I should find out how close we can get to an agreement.

Yesterday I cleaned my office.  It was a wonderful feeling.  I never take the time to do this.  I "straighten up" and "clean off my desk," but don't really go through things and take reams and reams of paper to the shred bins as I did yesterday.  I also took two huge bags of clothing to donate to the clothing lab for the patients - the bags have been in the back of my car for a couple of months.

This morning I have done my morning prayer and meditation.  I have painted my nails a nice conservative pink/beige.  I will put my hair in rollers and get in the tub.  I will wear the grey flannel Armani skirt that was my sister's birthday gift to me last year.  It just looks like a skirt - but it feels like a million bucks - which is roughly what it cost.

I will put my best foot forward, and trust in God.

And hopefully I will get to see my daughter today.  She works in the same building as I do and she said she will be back to work today.   I hope I will talk with my other daughter today - last I talked to her, she was crying about her sister.  Actually the last time I talked with both of them they were crying.  This too shall pass....

Whatever happens, I plan to stay sober today, and hope you do too.

OH - and if you want to read a wonderful reflection on the nature of our disease, go see my friend AnyEdge today.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The David Stone

Our dear friend and blogger, Pammie, gave me this gift when I met her - I think it was in 2006 or 2007.  It has been on the counter between the kitchen and dining room  - where I see it every day - since then.

It is a wonderful reminder.  Sometimes I think my problems are too ordinary and boring for God to be interested in.  But I know that my constant nagging and pleading is OK with God - and he has never let me down me before.  It is also a wonderful reminder that I am not alone.

I was supposed to be in the pool 16 minutes ago.  I don't know how I am going to write this and get there - and get to work.  Last night I looked at my blog and could not write one word.  It looks like, for now, I need to write in the morning and deal with the rest of the things I need to do.  I know this can change because there have been times when I have written at night and it worked.  Just not right now.

My "normal" daughter has had health problems since the middle of December.  It is so shocking to be worried about her.  It started with a deep vein thrombosis in her leg.  Yesterday she was sent for a CT scan, where they did find a pulmonary embolism.  I was shocked that they sent her away with a PE. She has oral meds and injections she has to take twice a day for another month.  She said she would text me when she gets up this morning, and I am anxiously awaiting the text.  I wish I had asked her what time to expect that text.  I tried to get her to stay with me last night - but she is as independent as her mother is.  She looked at me like I was nuts.  I understand, daughter, I really do.

There are so many serious things brewing around me.  I need to "be there" for those people who need me (even if they don't know it) and turn to God for my strength.  Left to my own devices, I cannot handle any of this.  But I know that no problem is too big for God and it will be OK.  Nothing may be the way I want it, but it will be OK.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mid Week

My plan to get out of here exceptionally early to go swimming did now work out.  I woke up at 1 a.m. and stayed awake until nearly 4.  I hate it when that happens.  My mind does not function well in the night.  Everything takes on dark and sinister tones.  I pray, and pray to go back to sleep, but sometimes it takes hours.  When I finally fell back to sleep, I slept until after 6.  Too late to go swimming.  I will try to see if I can get out at lunchtime.  Then I will come back to work with wet hair and no make-up, but that is the advantage of working somewhere so long that you are comfortable enough to do that.

I was talking with someone about my ex-husband yesterday.  Something came out of my mouth that kind of surprised me.  I told her that I had spent so many years paying attention to my own side of the street, trying not to be bitter, or blame others, that I think I became delusional about the true nature of that marriage and the person I was married to.  I had convinced myself that we were divorced only because I made a foolish mistake - getting divorced - in my early sobriety.

Now that he is raising two of my grandchildren, I have to interact with him if I want to see them.  It is so unpleasant that I see them less and less.  He is an old bitter man.  But I remember he was a young angry man - behind a jovial smile and joke that fooled most into thinking he was a "great guy."  He is still hiding behind the "great guy," but does some of the most vile things to my daughter.

Funny, when he did the same things to me, I took responsibility for myself and looked at "my own side of the street."  But when I see him do those things to my daughter, I see them for what they are.  Cruel and cold-hearted.  Lashing back at her and hurting her in the worst possible ways - like bad-mouthing her to her daughters.  The girls are so confused about their mother.  When she confronted him about that, he simply said "I am not going to lie to them."

When my daughter told me that,  I thought about how I have "lied" about him all these years.  To my kids and to myself.  I always tried to paint him in the best possible light -  because I felt my children deserved to have TWO parents.  Unfortunately, he did not return the favor.  Two out of three of my children still see him as the "great guy," and I am the "alcoholic" even though I haven't had a drink for a long damn time and he still drinks every day.

It's weird to realize how much working the program has influenced how I have behaved with my family.  I am not saying it was wrong, but perhaps a bit misguided.  And delusional frankly.

I know who I am.  And I know who my daughter is.  And other people can chose to see that or not.  I have no control over that.

God is large and in charge and I know that all is well - even if it doesn't seem so.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Night

Well, it's night.  I want to go to bed.  I want to get up exceptionally early tomorrow and get to the pool - and try to swim for an hour before I go to work.  So, I better post something here now.

Unfortunately, my head is empty.  It often is by this time at night.  I am a morning person.  I wake up with ideas.  I go to bed done in.

OK, I have been sitting here for a half hour staring at this page.  I guess I must admit defeat.  I'll probably post something tomorrow morning - because I will probably have ideas.  For now, I am just done in.

But I am sober.  And that is nothing to sneeze at!  Thank you God.


Another Morning

The photo is from Christmas Eve.  My daughter was so delighted by the little tree-shaped candles - I thought I would take their picture.  And I thought the background was pretty.  A fireplace alit, a Christmas tree with gifts, a Nativity Scene.  And Syd, do you see that starfish on the mantle in the middle?  You sent me that several years ago.

So, it is another morning, with me sitting here in my pajamas, writing... when I need to get on the treadmill for a few miles and get ready for work.  I will post tonight - I can't continue to do this morning ritual even though I do love it.

I have hinted at this, but didn't want to write it down.  It is looking very much like I am about to change jobs.  I have been driving to the same building every M-F for over 17 years.  I have had the same job within that building for over 10 years.  I have had the same office in that building for 9 years.  By Friday afternoon last week I had decided I didn't really want to change jobs.  But I have a great opportunity and I simply must give up this "comfort," which in retrospect will probably not seem to be a comfort at all.   I need a change.  I need a challenge.  I also need more money.

There are still details to work out about this job.  I will meet with the person doing the hiring on Friday of this week.  She offered me the job last Friday.  I am delighted - especially since this is a new job and they approached me about it.  It is nice to know that I am seen as someone competent to take on a new challenge.  But the idea of me being downtown in an office building for an 8-5 shift five days a week is so terrifying!

I have walked through terrifying before. I know it is OK.  I remember a meeting I went to in Glenwood Springs in 1986 - someone said that once you take the third step - and really mean it - your life is never your own again.  And that is a good thing.

So I will step out in faith again today.  Grateful to be sober.  Grateful for the grace of God.




Monday, December 26, 2011

Paternal Centennial


One hundred years ago today my father was born in an eastern Pennsylvania town.

My dad was an alcoholic.  He was a brilliant engineer, and held several patents.  He was a lover of classical music.  He had a great career with one company from the time he graduated from college until he retired.  When he and my mother were newly married, he would teach high school Calculus at night for a little extra cash.  He read voraciously, and our table was always full of lively conversations about politics and current events.  He was a devout Catholic and was quite active in the church.  When I came to AA, this was my stereotype of an alcoholic.  I was quite shocked when I saw derelicts and criminals in AA!

My father got sober in April of 1965.  In June of 1971 my mother died.  In March of 1972, my father remarried - a woman who drank like a fish.  I never quite understood why he would marry someone who drank so much.  He claimed she was not an alcoholic.  I don't know how he determined that.  On July 17, 1975, I called my father in the middle of the day and was shocked to find he was home - and drunk!  He had gotten bad news from the doctor, had taken a hasty and early retirement, and came home with a bottle.

He did not die in 6 months as the doctor had prognosticated.  He outlived that doctor!  He lived for 17 more years - in alcoholic hell.  He told me his ten sober years were the best years of his life.  He told me "resentment really IS the number one offender."  He told me he could not stand to go to AA meetings and hear people tell him what he used to tell new people.  He told me there was no such thing as anonymity in a small town... and then he admitted all this sounded like rationalization for not getting sober.  He never could get sober again.

I have often called my father my greatest teacher.  Unfortunately, it is a bad example.  His story is what I would like to avoid.  And so far, so good.  He was very happy that I was sober, and said he was very proud of me.  I think it was the only thing I ever did that he told me he was proud of.

Thankfully, I have other teachers.  I have a sponsor who is sober 38 years.  Her husband is sober 39 years.  I have watched them for nearly 20 years.  They have stayed faithful to prayer and meditation, meetings, and sponsoring other alcoholics for all of those years.  They have gone from healthy people, fully engaged in mid-life, living in a beautiful foothills home - to being in their seventies, retired, living in a mobile home in western Colorado.   No matter what, they are still grateful every single day.  And fully engaged in a spiritual life.

My sponsor and her husband also help me with something I am really struggling with right now.  Fear of economic insecurity.  I am now 60 years old and in not in any way nearing financial readiness for retirement.  Thankfully I am healthy and should be able to continue to work for many years.  But I see them, in greatly diminished circumstances - and they are just as happy as they were when they were living very very differently.  The spiritual life is not a theory!

My dad lived in "luxury" for his last 17 years.  I wouldn't want any part of that kind of "luxury."

But what I would mostly like to say about my father today is that although he was a flawed character (who isn't?),  he was a good man.  He was intelligent, accomplished, and successful.  I guess in the end, all of that is undone by alcoholism.  But I have been reading so much writing by non-alcoholics who have love-hate relationships with us - I feel the need to defend anyone who has battled this demon disease.  They talk about us as if we are unruly zoo animals!

Happy Birthday Dad.   I hope there is no booze in heaven.

"We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from drink as he may do for months or years, he reacts much like other men.  We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop.  The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous p. 22-23


Sunday, December 25, 2011

On This Christmas Day




On the way home from the 6:30 meeting this morning, I stopped at a small local park, parked my car and walked around.  I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for too many blessings to count here.  And I had to thank him for the beautiful, sunshiney, 13ºF Colorado Christmas morning.

I wish I had better skills or camera so that I could have captured the sparkling snow and ice covered trees shining in the sun.  But use your imagination - it was amazing.

I hope that Christmas is easy on everyone who finds themselves reading this.

And if not easy, I hope it is satisfying in some small way - if only to know that you are staying sober no matter what.  And if not sober, please be on your way to a bottom that will be truly YOUR bottom so that you will never want to drink again.

God works these miracles in the lives of alcoholics every single day.  You wouldn't think he'd have time for anything else, but he does.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I am wishing you all a beautiful sober Christmas.  If you've never had a sober Christmas before, hang on, you might be very surprised.  I think most people agree it is much better sober.

My sober daughter came over today and we went to a movie and then I made us dinner.  She wanted to see Sherlock Holmes, and although I thought the movie was just as stupid as the first one, I went to see it with her.  She thought it was great.  I am glad she enjoyed it - that was the whole point.

We had dinner and watched a couple of movies at home.  As she was leaving, she said how much she enjoyed the day - and then commented that it is the first Christmas in years she hasn't cried all day.  That's wonderful progress.

My son called earlier today to wish me a Merry Christmas.  He says he will be home in 97 days - but who's counting?  I wish we were all at least on the same continent!

Tonight I went to mass.  When we sang Silent Night, I burst into tears.  For some reason, it reminded me so strongly of the family gathering around the piano to sing Christmas Carols when I was a child. I haven't thought of that for years.  It came back like a flood tonight.

When mass was over, one of my AA friends came over and said hello.  I was so happy to see her!  I asked her if this was her church.... what a stupid question to ask someone you see at church on Christmas and never any other time.  She looked sheepish, and said she was thinking of starting to go there.  I welcomed her and told her how much I like it.  I hope that was welcoming to her.

I am far too tired to be writing.  I really need to go to bed.  It was a huge day, and tomorrow is a mini day - in terms of plans and what I need to get done.  All I want to do is get to a meeting in the morning. The rest of the day is quiet.  And I am grateful for that.

And grateful for another sober Christmas.  God has so generously poured his grace on me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Preparations

These are some tiny pecan pies I baked for tomorrow.  My sober daughter is coming over and we will have Christmas Eve together.  The rest of the family is scattered across the globe.  We will make the best of what we have got and try not to regret what we don't have.

She is going to another state for an AA meeting marathon on Christmas.  I don't know why she needs to go to another state because just about every AA club in town has meeting marathons for Christmas, but she thinks that this one is going to be  the best.  OK.  I am not going to argue with her going to meetings all day long.  And she did ask me if I would like to join her and her friend.  No, thanks.  I don't want to be on the road on Christmas.

I am used to being alone on Christmas because of all of the divorce years - the years when I got the kids on Christmas Eve, and he got them on Christmas day.  It is nice to have nothing to do on a day like Christmas - nothing is even open - except for church, and I will be there early in the morning.  I used to go to the meeting marathons in younger years - and I enjoyed them tremendously.    I will probably head down to the club for at least one meeting on Christmas day.  I don't know if I have ever missed a meeting on Christmas since I have  been sober.

I got some very good news today but I don't want to share it until it is set in concrete - and it isn't yet.  I texted my boyfriend, who is also in another state, and he called me immediately.  It was nice to share some exciting news.

I am tired and ready to go to bed with my Audible.com book.  I am loving the latest Stephen King book - and I don't read Stephen King books - or any scary books!  The book is 11-22-63.  And I guess if you are much younger than I am, this date means nothing to you.   But if you are my age or older, that date is just as indelible on your brain as 9-11-01.  It is a great book.

So, I have many reasons to thank God tonight.  I am sober, I am healthy, I have good news.   The advice I got when I was new has never failed me - "Ask Him in the morning, and thank Him at night." They say God is a sucker for gratitude.  I happen to believe that.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Minimalist Shoes

I got the new shoes this afternoon.  The guy at the running store was extremely dubious when I came in and told him I had a foot injury and my coach suggested I try minimalist shoes.  He had me get on the treadmill in them and he filmed my feet to see what is happening.   He ended up agreeing that the shoes I was in MAY have been a problem.  My feet land pretty straight - no over-pronation.  He said that having a stability shoe with lots of cushion may have caused me some problems.  It is worth it to me to try this out and see what happens.  I tried them on the treadmill tonight - for one half mile - you need to get used to these shoes slowly.  And forgive the stained socks - all of my socks are brown - that dust from trails never washes out.

These shoes give me a teense of hope.  I know most of you don't understand what I am talking about, but some of you do.

Maybe by tomorrow or the next day I will stop being so irritated by the inspirational messages on facebook posted by people I know are drunk.  And what would be your motivation to post something every day about how ecstatically happy you are?

See?  I am still a bit irritable.

But maybe tomorrow....

As long as I don't drink today, there is always hope.

And I thank God for the fact that I didn't have a drink today - and didn't want one.  Now, that is a good deal.

Axis I Diagnoses

While shoveling 50 cubic tons of snow this morning, it occurred to me that I am not feeling like myself.  And then it occurred to me that I do have two axis I diagnoses (if you don't know what that means, county your lucky stars), one of which may be out of control right now.

Alcohol Dependence, sustained full remission

Depression Major, recurrent, in partial remission

I took these straight out of my electronic medical record.  I would not call what I have "alcohol dependence" but DSM IV does.  In fact, if that was my choice - I would not even include it in a list of diagnoses.  I have not had a drink for 27 years, I don't think I am dependent upon alcohol.  I am still an alcoholic though, every single day of my life.  The grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous seem to keep this in "full remission."

Major Depression however, now that is something I don't think about often anymore.  Because I found a way to keep it at bay without medications.  That something was running.  Also, eating well, avoiding white crap - like sugar and white flour - and sleeping well.  Getting a bit of quiet time, and some social time.  But really, I found the exercise to be the most important thing.

In recent years, my running has been a bit more like walking - race walking.  It has worked well for me.  It is fun, it is great exercise, and I thought it was sustainable into my 60s.

Then my foot started hurting.  And it kept hurting.  And no one knows what is wrong with it, although several doctors have suspected a stress fracture.  But the MRI this week ruled out a stress fracture.

I have been two weeks without getting outside and getting some miles in.  I have been swimming and spinning, but no miles.

I feel like crap.  I feel unhappy and a bit irritable.  My life seems like a mess.  Absolutely nothing has changed except the lack of good exercise.

So, you may say "rest!" and think that is a good solution, but it is not working out so well so far.  I am going to go out with my running group on Saturday and walk a slow 3 miles - probably in some new shoes.  I will get out in the air and see my friends.

I have called myself "high maintenance," I really am.  I have found a recipe that works for me.  And right now one of the major ingredients is missing.

But like everything else, I will trust God and "put one foot in front of the other" metaphorically speaking.  If you are so inclined, I could use a prayer or two.

Thank you, and God bless you.




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter's Darkest Day

It's snowing like crazy outside.  When I drove home from work tonight I had a little fantasy of having tomorrow off due to snow.  I stopped at the grocery store and purchased the makings for borscht.  By about this time every year, I need to have some borscht - after all the candy and breads and other non-vegetables.  At about 7:30, it was ready and I had a bowl.  It was good.

This morning I found myself in a foul mood.  I was waiting for word about my interview last week and the results from my MRI.  Both of them impact my future plans.  I got the MRI results later today.  No stress fracture - that is the good news.  The bad news is that I still have no idea the hell is  the matter with my foot.  The doc said "rest."  Yeah, right doc, you will really think that's a good idea when I show up weighing 300 lbs.

I wrote my coach and she suggested I try minimalist shoes.  I will do that.  I will go out on Saturday morning (weather permitting) and do a few miles.  I cannot sit for the rest of my life.  Spinning and swimming are just not doing it for me.

I still haven't heard about the job - and have since decided that I don't really want it.  I am dreading the phone call.  Dreading.

I am extremely tired and need to go to bed.

I can say that I am grateful that I am sober and able to face whatever the future holds - with God's help.




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Volitional?

If I felt like killing time, I would edit out the pole in the foreground - but I don't feel like it.  
There are many things in the big book that I believe with all of my heart.  One of them is:
 "most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink."  --  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 24
It is my experience that once I took any alcohol whatever into my body, I had no control over the amount of alcohol I would drink or what would happen to me once I drank it.  And furthermore, it is my experience that I seemed to have no control over taking that first drink, thereby setting up this whole pathology.  I do not believe I ever picked up a drink and said "I choose to drink today."  I needed to drink, not because I was "addicted" to alcohol, but because I am an alcoholic and my body and mind are different than those of my fellows.  I felt "restless, irritable, and discontented" unless I could "again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks."  (p. xxvi)

I drank, and drank, and drank, and drank.  It made absolutely no difference to me that I hurt people I loved.  It made absolutely no different to me that I found myself in situations that were perilous.  It made no difference to me that I was ruining my health and all of my relationships.  None.  No difference.  This was not because I was selfish (although selfishness was certainly a symptom), it was because I was in the grip of a disease that was much more powerful than I was.

When I had enough to drink, I was done.  I believe it took a lot of booze for this moment to arrive.  And I believe that God was working in my life all that time - through my drinking and in my getting sober.

I didn't get sober because I wanted to be "good" or stop hurting people. I got sober because something inside of me changed.  Nobody said any magic words to me.  Nothing external happened.  I just had enough.

I asked God for help and became ready to do what I had to do to stay sober.

After a year or so, I thought I had gotten sober.  I thought I had done "the work" and therefore was sober.  After a few more years, I realized there was no amount of work in the world that could have produced one sober day or the things that had happened in my life.

I realized that my drinking was not volitional.  And my sobriety was not really volitional.  And once I realized that, I could understand that God was doing for me what I could never do for myself.  Never.

I have tapped into a power greater than myself.  That power is God.

I did not get myself sober.  I do not keep myself sober.  I did not "wise up" and stop drinking. I drank until I couldn't drink any more.  Then I threw myself on the mercy of God and my fellows in Alcoholics Anonymous.  I did the simple things you told me to do.  I call that cooperation.  That's all.  Just cooperating with someone who wants to give me a huge gift.

I was doing my best in 1983, and I am doing my best at the end of 2011.  I need to look at everyone I meet and realize they are also doing their best.  Sometimes it is not very good, but I believe it is their best.  When I could do better, I did.  And I trust others will too.

By the grace of God, I have been sober all day today.  I will lay my sober head on my pillow and thank God for another blessed day.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Going Postal

I went to the post office at lunch today.  The line was all the way through the post office and out through the door and around the bend to all the post office boxes.  I thought I would take a picture.  By the time I got through the door and into the actual post office, my line-mates were angry.

"No wonder they are going broke!"  "This is so inefficient!"  "Oh, great time to go to lunch - thanks a lot!"  Etc., Etc.

I said to them "I worked at the post office for one Christmas, and it is NOT a cherished memory."  They laughed.  But the guy behind me asked me why I thought they couldn't do it better.  I asked him what he thought they might do - he suggested hiring more people.  I told him they are broke and besides, every window had a person behind it - working as hard as a person can.  I asked him to watch the customers - they all get to the window and haven't wrapped their box right, or don't have the address done right, or something - and it takes time.  I told him that line would be like that all day long - and the employees need to eat lunch and go to the bathroom occasionally!   And they have to deal with angry people all day long.  He finally said "No wonder they call it 'going postal.'"  Indeed.

I was 21 years old.  I had a "good" job, but in the early 70s, a "good" office job for a woman paid virtually nothing.  I applied for a job with the PO.  I took the civil service test and got the job.  I felt I had to take it - I think it paid about 2 times as much as the office job.  They put me in the back, sorting mail, to start.  I LOVED that job.  I threw mail all day.  I was good at it.  My hours were 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and I could drink like a fish at night and still make it to work on time.  Unfortunately, as in most jobs, if you are good at something, they give you a job doing something else.  They wanted me to be a window clerk, at a small, two-person post office.

Me and the general public are not really the best possible combination.  I did the job well enough, but it was really hard for me to deal with all those people all day long.  And I didn't show up about one day a week because I was drinking so much.  One time I drank all night and showed up at work drunk - I ended up passing out at the window while trying to calculate postage to Taiwan.  I woke up propped up in an office chair covered with vomit.  Oh, the good old days!

I started looking for another job and when my old boss was called for a reference, he drove over to the post office, stood in my line and asked me to come back to my old job.  He paid me as much as I had made at the post office.  And that was a very good thing.

I lasted an entire nine months at the post office.  But I will never forget what it felt like to stand at that counter feeling like I was vulnerable and available to any kind of nutty chicanery the public could possibly come up with.

I am not only grateful that I am sober today, but I am grateful for the reminder of what it was like.  It was pretty awful.  I wish I could find my old partner from the two-person PO - because I made his life hell when I didn't show up or when I showed up drunk.  I heard he died just a year or so after I left.  I certainly owe him an amends.  I have nothing but respect for postal employees, it is a tough job.  And I am really glad I am not doing it anymore.

I wish I could go back and make amends to my old boss.  John was very very good to me.  He told me when I gave notice that I was a great employee - when I was there.  If I would have stayed, he would have put me on an attendance plan - ha!  As if a plan from a boss could keep me from getting drunk!

I am so grateful for the Grace of God -  I am sober and not dealing with any of these issues today.  And I hope the people I talked to today thought about it a little bit.  I hope maybe they will think before they go off on someone who is just doing their level best at a very unpleasant job.

Let's cut each other a bit of slack, OK?  Can we just make an effort to?  Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Spinning...

I went to a 6 a.m. spin class this morning.  It will be my last for a while - the insanity of the holidays is upon us.  No class next week - and in January it will be crammed to the gills with the resolutioners.  I will need to stay away for a while because I am not good at dealing with huge crowds.

I only read a few blogs this morning, because I need to be at work right now and instead I am sitting in sweat drenched bike shorts and shirt.  I need to make this super quick.

The MRI yesterday was fine.  My head did not need to be in the tube, so I got to skip the whole claustrophobia thing.  It was nice to know the man was sitting outside in the waiting room - waiting for me.  I even let him keep my purse for me.

When we got to the place, it was 6:20 a.m.  There was only one person there.  A great huge black woman with orange hair.  She was yawning and complaining about how tired she was.  She started talking about her Christmas shopping and I responded to something.  She looked at me as if to say "Excuse me?  Was someone talking to YOU?"  And I realized she was talking to my boyfriend.  They had a great chat, and I sat looking at my phone.  She did most of the talking, and he listened attentively.  He does that well.  It was very heartwarming to me.

I am devoid of ideas this morning.  I think I am in survival mode.  I wouldn't say it is going to be a difficult week, because I will make every effort for it not to be.  But let me tell you, it is going to be an effort.

This phony family happiness crap is not my strong suit.  I have a lifetime of memories to deal with.  I have a fractured family that still has sharp edges that seem to get sharper at this time of year.  And I don't have to pretend it is something different.

It is what it is.   That is where I need to start.  And when you start from reality, you are more likely to have realistic expectations and plans.

I know that God will be with me every second of every day.  And that is really all I need.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Happenings

I am going for my much feared MRI this morning.  My fella is picking me up at 5:45 a.m.  How crazy is that?  How nice that he is willing to do this.  He said he will text me when he leaves the house so I will know he is awake and on his way.  How thoughtful!

Last night I couldn't sleep.  Thinking about the MRI.  Thinking about what I have to wear that is cute but has no metal in it.  Think about it ladies, this means no normal bra with hooks or underwires .... so I will wear some funky old sports bra I have.  And I think a dress with leggings.  If I were going alone, I would be wearing sweats and a t-shirt.  But we are going out for breakfast after, and I can't go out for breakfast in sweats.

Then since the middle of the night is the best time for self-doubt to creep in, I thought about my interview on Friday.  I thought about things I said, but particularly all the "ummmmmm, ummmmmm...." answers.  Because almost every question she asked me caught me off guard.  And that is probably not a good interview.  Here is the good part about that -- I have a job.  I don't even dislike it.  I could easily spend the rest of my career there.  Which is another reason for self-doubt.  Why change everything up at this advanced age?  It would take a whole other page to list the reasons, so I won't.  But there are good ones... like the need for a challenge, and the need for a change.

But I won't be terribly unhappy if I find I don't get this job.  I will probably be ecstatic if I do though.

OK, so this is the kind of thinking that spins around my mind in the night.

And now it is a new day.  The sun will come up, and I will have my MRI over with in a couple of hours.  I will get to have a nice breakfast with this man who impresses me more every day.

I know that God is "large and in charge," so it's going to be OK.  No matter what.

I'm likely to stay sober today - and I hope you all do too.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Coming Home

Look at what my kids gave me for my birthday!
God truly can write straight with crooked lines.  I have been despairing at the meeting I have been attending for a while (well, 17 years), and I have prayed about it.  I have been sponsoring someone who is having the same issues with the meeting.  I told her that if she was looking for a sponsor to tell her to "write inventory" about the group or some other such thing, she had the wrong sponsor.  I told her what my sponsor told me -- "go to another meeting."  Do not persist in going to a group you don't like.  It is that simple.  But the time and place are so convenient!

This morning, I woke and thought I could easily make it across town to go to my old homegroup.  When I walked in the building and saw the old threadbare stained carpet, and the old 80s office chairs chained to the wall in the lobby, I thought - Well, this seems to be my old homegroup.  I got to the meeting 20 minutes early because seating is always an issue.  When I walked into the meeting room, I was greeted by strangers - it was reassuring to me.  They didn't know me but they greeted me warmly and made me feel welcome.  What kind of awesomeness is that?!  And then old friends started drifting in.  I haven't been to that group for a while, so they were shocked (pleasantly) to see me.

The man who took me to my first meeting was there!  There were at least 4 people in the room who are sober longer than me!  They remember me as a young woman.  The woman who chaired the meeting has known me since the day I came to my first meeting.  She said to me and two other women who were bat-shit crazy back in the 80s (and into the 90s) that she really appreciates who we are today because she knows the misery we went through to become the people we are.

We talked about gratitude!  We talked about working with others!  We talked about GOD!

It was an AA meeting.  A meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.  With people who are firmly committed to their sobriety and being sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Happily sober, grateful, faithful alcoholics.  Wow.

I know where I belong.  I simply MUST make that trip at least once a week.

Some people say they have never been to a bad meeting.  (an old timer I knew used to say that if you haven't been to a bad meeting, you are not going to enough meetings.)  Some people think they ought to work on themselves if they are finding a meeting objectionable.  That all sounds good.

But I say, you must find a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous where alcoholics are talking about the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Not what their therapist said.  Not how they would love to have a drink.  Not how being sober doesn't matter.  Not how the only important thing is to "keep coming back."

Oh, thank you God! for sending me back to my home group.  I know where I belong.  And I am eternally grateful that I can still go there.

And now I am going to stick some vegetables in that fancy food processor and make a great breakfast!  I couldn't believe they bought me that!  I have an old, first generation, Cuisinart -  from about the time I got sober.  It still works, but it looks so bad, I have it hidden in a cabinet... on a top shelf where it is a pain to drag it down.  But this thing is so beautiful, I will leave it on my kitchen counter!  And maybe my sober daughter wants my old one.  I forgot to ask her last night.

So grateful.  So grateful.

As I sat in that meeting, it occurred to me that my blogging community has probably been my only link to real program I have had in the last couple of years.  For that, I thank you with all of my heart.
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo, Mary Christine.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday

A bowl of Pho Tai
I had a lovely birthday yesterday.  A meeting, mass, swimming 1500 meters, manicure, pedicure, lunch out (see above), and dinner out at a lovely steakhouse with my man.  At the restaurant, they overheard us talking about my birthday and brought us a piece of mocha ice cream cake, compete with candle.... but no singing, thank God!

Today I have a telephone interview at 10:30 and that is all I am going to say about that.  If you are inclined to, please say a prayer.

I was looking forward to starting this decade of my life.  When I think about it being my seventh decade, it makes me kind of queasy, so I think I will just enjoy today.  

As Pammie says, I will try to stay in today, because that is where God lives.  And I will thank him, because he has been so good to me.

I think I will probably stay sober this day, and I hope you all do too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I am 60 today

Well, I made it.  It is my 60th birthday.  Before I even got out of bed this morning, I thanked God - for another sober day, another sober birthday, a good clean life.

So, I will get to a 6:30 AA meeting this morning.  Then I will go to mass.  Then to the pool for 60 lengths - 1500 meters.  Then to the spa for a mani - pedi, etc.  My boyfriend is taking me to one of my favorite restaurants tonight.

I am more grateful than words can express.  Although my life is not where I thought it would be, it is more wonderful than I ever could have dreamed.  Because the things I do not have are not really the important things, but the things I do have really are important.

I keep thinking about my mother this morning.  She died when she was 57.  If I want to complain about how old I am getting, I think of how she would have loved to have gotten old.

So, I have another sober day, and another opportunity to be of service to God and my fellows.  And what could be better than that?

Thank you bloggers for being such a wonderful part of my life.  xoxoxox, Mary Christine

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Last day of my 50s.

I woke up and thought about the decades this morning.

  • When I was turning 10, I was a young pre-alcoholic - a drunk before the magic of the first drink.
  • When I was turning 20, I was a young drunk.  
  • When I was turning 30, I was a wife and mother and drunk - and a new runner.  I was so excited to run 3 miles on the morning of my 30th birthday.  
  • When I was turning 40, I was sober 7 years and happy as can be to be turning 40.  I spent the night of my birthday at an AA dance.  It was delightful.  
  • When I was turning 50, I was sober 17 years, lived right here in this house, and worked right where I will work today. I had a new boyfriend who I loved (and later got drunk and never got sober again).  I had a huge party and it was awesome.  I had just gotten my master's degree and a new promotion and the world appeared to be my oyster.
The world is different to me now.  I am older.  I have lived in the same house for 10 years (with not much appreciable increase in equity).  I have worked at the same place for over 17 years, in the same job for 10 years.  I have had 2 fiances in the last ten years, but never married.  It will be work for me to keep my perspective positive tomorrow.  But I will do the work and hopefully reap the rewards.

I had planned to take my kids and grandkids out for dinner.  My daughter told me yesterday that my older grandkids can't come.  I nearly cried.  I have planned this for 2 months.  I have verified and verified that they can all come.  But two days before the event, they can't come.  I wanted to have a self-righteous fit.  This is my ex-husband's fault!  He has custody of the older kids, the offspring of my addict/alcoholic daughter.  And believe me, it really is his fault.  But how much energy am I willing to spend on that?  Probably not much.  So, I have arranged to move my dinner to Friday night and my boyfriend stepped right up and is taking me out for dinner on my birthday.  Which will be just wonderful.  

But let me be didactic for a moment and let you know that my inclination was to say "screw you all, I'm not taking you out for dinner at all, I'd rather go to McDonald's alone."  Hopefully I have learned to stop cutting off my nose to spite my face.  Or as Dave would say "Would I rather be right or be happy?"  I am choosing to be happy.

And an update from yesterday:  I called my fella last night and asked him if his offer to take me to my MRI appointment was still good.  He said yes, and I said "Thank you, I would love it if you would take me."  And I told him I have independence down to a fault.  He said "I understand, I have the same disease."  Bless his heart.  

Also, there is something exciting in my job world.  Things may be changing soon!  I am very excited and hopeful.  But man, what a change it will be!  God's will, not mine, be done.  

Thank you bloggers for being such a big part of my life.  I really appreciate you.  (Especially Pammie's new term, "web-balls.")

"I fear only one thing - to keep my own will."  -- St. Therese Lisieux


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday

The doll I found - after searching at many, many stores
Can I just ask, is there a reason that female news anchors need to wear skin tight red mini-dresses?  It is almost a uniform, it is so ubiquitious.  I really would enjoy hearing a middle aged fat woman tell me what's happening. 

I managed to get to the pool this morning and swim 1 kilometer.  I am working my way up to one mile.  I can't run 6 miles on my 60th birthday, so I will swim 60 lengths of the pool - for a total of 1500 meters, or .93 miles.  It doesn't feel or sound as wonderful as 6 miles, but it is what I have to work with.  And if there is one thing I have learned in AA, it is how to work with what I have, play the ball where it lays, etc.  

I need help here - I am actually asking for advice - and then I will probably get annoyed with the advice I get - but here goes.  My boyfriend urged me very strongly over the weekend to schedule the MRI for my foot and get this taken care of.  I have a triathlon in June and I need to be fit in time for that.  So, I called yesterday and scheduled an MRI for 6:45 a.m. on Sunday morning.  I texted my guy with that news - he texted back "good for you!"  Last night, he called and asked me if I wanted him to take me to the MRI.  I hemmed and hawed and finally said - oh, it is so early in the morning - he said "I'll be up anyway..."  I said I will think about it.  I am not used to having a romantic type man want to help me and I am having a hard time being comfortable with it.  I guess I should call him and tell him "Thank you, I would LOVE for you to take me to the hospital for my MRI."  But my stomach kind of turns when I think of that.

Here is where I think I can't "trust my gut."  My gut has years of maladaptive behavior - that it is perfectly comfortable with.  My gut freaks out when I do something new and perhaps healthier.  Is seems like it would be healthier to let someone who cares about me help me.  But my nature screams "NO!  Don't Do It!"  

Let me hasten to tell you that I have no problem calling my AA friends for help with all manner of things.  I call my sponsor many times each week - practically every day.  I am good at asking for that kind of help.  

I just have such a bad history with men that I really have no "gut" for what a healthy romantic relationship should feel like.  

What's this got to do with sobriety? you may ask.... Here is what.  I once heard an old sage say there are two things that people get drunk over - "romance and finance."  I have found that to be true.  I am not likely to get drunk over this, but it is confounding to me.  I like to think I am pretty smart, but I think my 11 year old granddaughter would have more sense about dating than I do.  

So, I have asked for advice... have at it.  And I'll try not to argue or complain.  (try)

And I will pray, because if I know anything it is this:  
"Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 181

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12

It's Monday - time to get back to work.  I should also be working out this morning, but this foot hurts so bad that even the thought of swimming doesn't appeal.  Oh dear, this could be disastrous.

Honestly, I have been sitting here for 10 minutes staring at this screen.  I don't know that this has ever happened to me before.  I have started writing a couple of things that are just simply complaining.  I don't want to complain.  So - here's what's good:

I got a birthday card from my brother - he said he was proud of me - and I believe him.  If you knew our history, you would know what a miracle this is.

Those flowers are sitting on my dining room table, someone cared enough about me to bring them to me.

You will note that the lace tablecloth has been usurped for the month of December by this velvet table runner - it was a gift last year from my favorite psychiatrist.  I <3 him.

It is a delightful thing to be a Broncos fan right now.  I <3 Tim Tebow.

I have a job - I have taken cuts in pay for the last three years and will take another in July - but I still have a job.

There are no such things as debtors prisons in the United States of America.  (I can still pay my bills, but the margin is getting slimmer every day and I am starting to worry.)

My sponsor is a wonderful woman and I got to talk with her last night.  She always tells me she loves me and thanks me for sharing my life with her.  I <3 her.

I had phone calls and text messages from women I sponsor over the weekend.  They may drive me to distraction at times, but I <3 them.

My kids are all having challenges of different sorts right now.  But none of them are legal problems.  None of them are drug or alcohol related problems.  They are just life problems.  I <3 my kids (and grandkids).

My 60th birthday is this week.  It is happy and sad.  I realized that I will qualify for "senior" rate at the movies and that can never be a bad thing.  But it is sad to know that so much of my life is gone.  I had planned to run 6 miles to celebrate my birthday - just as I ran 3 to celebrate my 30th... but my foot will barely allow me to walk - slowly.  I am still grateful that I am a person who takes no medications for blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.

I am grateful most of all that God has graced me with another day of sobriety.  Because no matter what else is going on, my sobriety is the most important thing.  Because no matter what else is good in my life, it all turns to crap if I pick up a drink.  And no matter what else is bad/scary about my life, I know it will be OK if I just trust in God and do the next right thing (thank God it is my left foot that is hurting).

So, I think I will stay sober again today, and my hope is that you do too.  xoxox

Sunday, December 11, 2011

10,001

A photo from the Mount Desert Island Marathon, October 16, 2011
OK, so I'll stop the counting tomorrow.  I just wanted to make the point that every day is a miracle when we are sober.  I always worry about the folks who manage to stay sober for a year and and are greeted at their birthday meeting with balloons, flowers, cards, and gifts.  I am always the wet blanket who tells them they need to show up on day 366 too... even without the flowers and balloons.  

Yesterday was the most wonderful day.  A beautiful crisp, sunny, cold winter morning to join my pals for a few miles (the last four of which were incredibly painful).  I don't know why I didn't take any photos of the sparkling snow covered mountains.  Then I raced across town to meet a friend for a movie at 10:30 a.m.  We saw New Year's Eve.  I would not call this a "good" movie - but it was nice to enjoy a movie on a Saturday morning with my friend.  

Then I raced back across town, went grocery shopping and came home and started cooking for my boyfriend.  He arrived and I was not even remotely ready, it was really kind of nice.  He brought me flowers, and helped me with dinner.  We watched the Republican Debate after dinner.  It was just so nice and normal.  For someone who has been single for as long as I have, "normal" with a man is a really nice thing.  Today we are going to do some Christmas shopping together.  

I have realized that I have ignored this foot problem for as long as I can.  I must have the MRI.  I am terrified to have an MRI.  As someone who reads patient safety publications all day long, an MRI machine is the last place I want to be.  I think my running/walking days are over for a while.  I can barely walk right now.  My left foot is swollen and very painful.  (The doc thinks it is a stress fracture and ordered an MRI - now months ago - and I just haven't had it.)

I am so looking forward to this day.  First mass, then breakfast and shopping with my fella, and then serious sofa time with the Denver Broncos.  It's Tebow Time!!!  

Thank you God for this beautiful life.  I think I will stay sober for another day today, and I hope all of you do too.  xoxoxox

Saturday, December 10, 2011

10,000 Days

My sobriety countdown
For my 10,000th day of sobriety, I think I will go out with my running club this morning.  Then I will go to a movie with a friend.  After the movie, I will go grocery shopping and come home and make dinner for the boyfriend.  All day long I will be thanking God for his incredible limitless grace.  

I watch other alcoholics, in meetings and on blogs, and they astound me with their wonderful working of this program.  They are busy with service work and self-improvement.  They have had spiritual awakenings and rigorously live by these principles.  

I am sorry, but that is not my story.  I have screwed up absolutely everything that could have been screwed up.  In my first years of sobriety, I actually left meetings and made fun of people I met there.  I had friends who were happy to join me in this past time.  I put WAY more effort into my career than into my program.  I lost custody of my kids when I was 6 years sober.  My behavior with men was less than exemplary.  I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

By the Grace of God, and when you behave like this it is clear that it is the Grace of God, I have not had a drink for 10,000 days.  

Let me also be quick to add that there were a few things I did right.  Like I went to meetings, I never stopped doing that.  I got a sponsor.  I tried to help other alcoholics.  I usually had one or another suffering alcoholic camped out on my couch in those early years (which helped me to lose custody of my kids because sometimes these were unsavory characters).  

But in balance, I don't think this small amount of work could possibly account for the tremendous bounty of blessings I have received.  

When I could do better, I did do better.  What a miraculous thing to find that suddenly you are a functional person in your community, in your workplace, in your family!  

I am so very grateful for God's grace and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  They have made my life worth living.  I can report that I actually have a peace of mind and I am happy about my life today.  This is amazing news for someone who has been suicidal for a large percentage of her life.  I am grateful for the people I have known over the years, and that includes quite a few bloggers.  I am grateful for this small community of sober souls.  

I better stop gushing about how grateful I am and put that gratitude into action by getting on with my day.  

Thanks and Love,
Mary Christine

Friday, December 09, 2011

9,999

This photo is the "back side" of the photo I posted yesterday.  I was taking photos of the sunrise, and for some reason, decided to take a photo of what was behind me - my car, still running, with headlights streaming out into the dawn.  Actually, the drivers side door was left open while I ran out to quickly snap a few pics.

On this, my 9,999th day of sobriety, I had intended to go to a spinning class - but I just couldn't move myself fast enough to get there by 6 a.m.  So, I have read blogs instead.  My computer (MacBook) is fast enough today which leads me to believe that it is my internet connection that needs some speed.  It seems I need to replace the modem every year or so.  Sad, because it costs money.  And I am having a bit of a shortage of that right now.

Last night I went to church and a verse I have heard all my life just leapt out and entered my heart.  And I cried (of course).  It was "Do not be afraid, Mary" spoken by the angel Gabriel.  Now, I know that was spoken to a young woman in Israel over two thousand years ago, but yesterday it felt like it was spoken just to me.

There really is a lot to be afraid about right now.  But there is also an awful lot to be grateful for.  And I know that when I trust God and just do the footwork, things tend to be OK.  Maybe not exactly the way I want them, but OK.

I'm getting my hair cut and colored tonight.  And when I can relax and not think about the million things I have to get done, I really enjoy sitting around the salon.  I have had the same hairstylist for the last 8 or 9 years, so we "know" each other.  I love to read trashy magazines (People, etc.) that I refuse to buy.  I love the female camaraderie.  Even though I have a huge weekend ahead where I have a ridiculous number of things to get done, I will make every effort to enjoy my little time-out at the salon.

It's all in how I want to look at things.  I think I will try to stay on the happy side today.  I may not be able to, but I will make the effort.

And I will thank God that I am sober for another day.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

9,998

On this (9,998th) day of sobriety, I did go to the pool and I swam one kilometer.  I stopped at a park on my way home from the gym and took some photos of the sunrise.  I love the dawn light.

My computer or internet connection has slowed down to the point that I cannot possibly visit all of your blogs today and still get to work on time.  Some of you have so many doo-dads on your blogs that it takes all day to load.

Last night I was on the phone all evening.  I heard from so many people!  Including Ed, my old boyfriend.  He and my daughter attend the same meetings these days and hang in the same social circles.  He raved about how great she is doing.  I was happy to hear that, but I said "she is going a little bit crazy and I am really worried about her."  He laughed and said "Crazy?  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!  Ha!  I remember you when you were that age!"

I don't know if there is anything so comforting as talking with someone who has known you for half of your life.  All of my sobriety I have known this man.  God Bless Him.

Later I heard from another friend I have known since I got sober.  She remembered that I have a birthday coming up.  Bless her heart, she did not know how old I am.  So, I got to tell her!

You cannot believe how I am walking around telling everyone - I am going to be 60 years old next week!  I did the same thing when I was 30.  I never thought I would be excited about 60, but I am.  It doesn't hurt that people tell me I look like I am in my early 40s.  Good.  In fact, someone at church last week thought my granddaughter was my daughter!  Oh, that was nice!    Another friend tells me I wouldn't be so happy to be this age if I looked it.  OK.  That's  fine.

I am grateful to have lived so long.  I am grateful to have been sober for 9,998 days of my life.  I was delighted when I saw my first gray hair - that was a long time ago - and I don't even know what my natural hair color is anymore.

Sobriety has been very very good to me.  I am grateful for God's mercy instead of his justice.  His justice would have me dead, in prison, locked in a psych ward, or sitting as a lonely old lady.  His mercy has given me sobriety and a life I never could have imagined!

Staying sober is good.  Let's all do it today, OK?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

9,997

This is my 9,997th day of sobriety.  I think I will try to make it as special as the other 9,996 days that God has blessed me with.  In fact, instead of having oatmeal for breakfast, I have made rice pudding and it is currently baking in the oven.

I am finding my mornings increasingly unmanageable.  I am "sleeping in" until after 5 a.m., and that does not leave enough time for blogging and getting a workout and getting to a meeting.  This morning I intended to go swimming, but time has run out as I have sat at this computer, so I will try to get to the pool after work.  Knowing that by the time I am done working for the day I don't want to do anything.

Last night I searched the local AA central office website for a meeting nearby.  I have gotten into such a habit of going at 6:30 a.m., I don't even know what meetings meet here at night.  Imagine my surprise when I saw a meeting I used to go to years ago, not even a mile away.  I thought they stopped meeting!  I was wrong, they only stopped meeting on Thursday, not Tuesday.  I drove for one minute and got to the meeting.  And frankly, I thought the meeting was terrible.  The woman who chaired the meeting talked eight times!  Eight!   There was a new woman there who probably talked eight times as well.  She can be excused for that, but she will have a rude awakening if she goes to another meeting and finds that behavior is considered unacceptable in other places.

So, I will probably keep going to that meeting.   It is not my "cup of tea" but that is OK.  It is good to switch things up every now and then.

I went to the dentist yesterday afternoon and got some really upsetting news.  The hygienist really made me feel good when she praised my clean teeth and healthy gums.  Then the dentist came in and told me about a terrible cavity that will need a root canal and a crown - if I'm lucky.  Otherwise I will need an extraction and a bridge.  They gave me a little bag with a toothbrush and toothpaste and ushered me into the little "financial arrangements" room.  Well, I am looking at $1,100 for best case scenario, and $3,600 for worst case scenario.  Oh, and this is AFTER the insurance pays their share.  You know, I no longer have money hanging out so I don't exactly know how I am going to do this.  I told them I had to go away and figure this out .  And it is one of my front teeth!  It is not an option to lose this tooth.  Well, I guess it is an option, but not a good one.

There is a woman I sponsor who calls me with tragedies every day.  I always tell her that God will see her through.  I have to explain sometimes though that God isn't going to see that we have tons of money and no problems.  But God sees us through in that he will give us the grace to get through what we need to get through.  And all kinds of wonderful things happen when you place your trust in him.

I will trust him again today.  Because he has never let me down.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Heart

This little girl has captured my heart.  I swore I wasn't going to post pictures of her here, but here I am.  I put this photo on my cell phone as the wallpaper yesterday and every time I picked up the phone I smiled.

This morning I included some new links on my sidebar.  I haven't done that for a very long time.

I realized this morning that all the people I had linked to had already been attacked by our little nutty friend from down under.  I think he has been gone for a year and a half now.  He did write to all of us in an attempt to make amends, but I didn't believe him at the time.  Apparently he really was done because only one of us has heard from him since.  (Aren't you the lucky one AnyEdge?)

A link from me used to mean you would be attacked unmercifully.  It was unbelievable.  Hundreds of the most insane comments you could imagine.  He called me a "shape-shifting reptile" among other things.  We all were attacked, and anyone we linked to on our blogs were attacked.

He would copy our photos and post them on his blog in the most vile ways.

Obviously I wouldn't have posted a photo of someone I loved.

Should I really trust that things have changed?  I guess I am starting to trust that.

And if he comes back, you can blame me.

At the hospital, we have a superstition that you must not ever use the full name of a troublesome patient who is now discharged.  Somehow using the full name will call them back to the hospital.  And frankly, I don't know how anyone gets assaulted by a patient and comes back the same day to care lovingly for that patient.  I could not do it, I know that.  That is why I work in an office.

So I hope I have not summoned him by talking about him.  God bless him... I hope he got the help he needed and is now happily prospering in the Australian sun.

And I hope you are all prospering happily under the sun wherever that may be.  Sober, by the Grace of a loving God.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The High Expectation Season is Upon Us.

I had a delightful day yesterday with my granddaughter.  I normally cherish my alone time, but after she left, the house felt a little bit empty and a little bit too quiet.  The absence of giggles is something I don't normally notice, but it is almost painful once the awareness is there.  My son has an amazing daughter - and he is missing these wonderful moments.  My daughter-in-law has the days counted until he comes home.  I think it is 117 today.

I'll get back to my work-a-day world today.  I am grateful for it.

This is a difficult time of the year for a lot of us.  The expectation is that it is "the most wonderful time of the year," but that expectation carries a lot of baggage.  We have memories of things past - maybe our now deceased parents, maybe our ex-spouse and happier times around the Christmas tree.  Maybe just the memory of happy children who are now unhappy adults.  Maybe we don't have the money to buy all the gifts we feel committed to purchase.  Maybe we would like to go to a party if no one asked us any questions... sometimes our lives are so complicated it is terrible to watch a friendly face go all "how can I get away from this person- stat!" once we start talking about just simple facts of our lives.

I am grateful to be as old as I am and to have had quite a few sober holidays behind me.  I will be fine.  But it is sad to watch others struggle.  I know how painful it can be.   For me, these days have meaning, but they are all about something that happened 2011 years ago, and that is never an unhappy thing to meditate upon.

So, let me just say, just in case you need someone to:  You have permission to take care of yourself.  You may not be able to go to that party - it is OK - they probably won't even notice you're missing.  You may need to drive to an event alone - so that you can leave without needing to explain or cajole someone else into leaving with you.  You may need to hold that cell phone like a lifeline - and use it in the bathroom and other unlikely places  - to stay in touch with your sponsor and other AA people.  If you have a smart phone, you can get a big book app - mine is called "twelve steps, the companion," and then you are always carrying a big book with you.

For me, one of the most important things to realize is that I am not the center of the universe.  The season will go right on with or without me.  The world will not screech to a halt if I am drinking coffee while others are drinking cocktails - likely no one will even notice.  And even if they do, it won't be as noticeable as my drunken debacles were.  I may think I am central to an event, but I have found that new people step in to be "central" once I step aside.  And I may need to step aside.   Kids don't care if you purchase them something cheap - they may like it better than the really great present you were going to spend too much money on.  And any adult who expects you to spend a lot on them is probably not worth the expense.

Back to basics:  Don't drink, go to meetings, read the big book, call your sponsor.

And your higher power is just waiting to hear from you and would love to help you in ways you couldn't begin to anticipate.  Just waiting!  For YOU!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sunday

I put up the Christmas tree this weekend.  What a lot of work!  It always brings me joy to place the Texas boot - a gift from Dave U. of Higher Powered fame - on the tree.

I have the tiny granddaughter all day today while her mom is serving our nation.  I took her to church with me.  Oh, my aching back!  It is a lot of work to keep a 13 month old quiet and peaceful for a solid hour!  But we did it.

We are greatly looking forward to watching the Broncos game.  I hope they can win again and maybe shut up the haters about a certain prayin' quarterback.  We'll see.  I still don't have the nerve to put my Broncos t-shirt on.  Some weird part of me says it is bad luck for them.

I'm just a sober nana today.  Nothing going on.  Just cooking, baking, watching a baby, and going to church.  God has been so very good to me.


Saturday, December 03, 2011

Snowy Saturday


I woke up this morning at 4, ready to get up and go out with my running group.  I looked out the window and saw blizzard like conditions and plenty of snow on the ground.  I decided to bag it and go back to bed.  And I slept until 8 a.m!  CRAZY!  It is the first time I have missed a group run because of weather.  I feel like I slept all day!

I have a big date tonight - going to a trendy restaurant downtown.  I have it in my mind that since it is cold and snowy, I need a pair of jeggings to go with my super cool boots - but I am fighting the urge to go out and buy such an age-inappropriate thing to wear.  We'll see how I do with impulse-control today.

I had intended to be at the hardware store at their opening this morning to buy some more garland for my Christmas tree and a tree skirt.  I got a 20% coupon in the mail the other day.  I know that place gets mobbed when they have a coupon - and I usually arrive wondering what the big deal is.  I have finally gotten to the place where I am looking at coupons very carefully and making decisions based on discounts.  I did fight the urge to buy a beautiful Balsam Hill tree when they went on sale for Black Friday.... 40% wasn't enough of a discount in that case.  Because the amount of money I "saved" doesn't make up for the amount of money I wasted on something I never needed.

What's this got to do with anything?  Only everything.  Although I have been sober for over 27 years, I am still an infant in learning how to live like a responsible adult.  It just is not in my nature.  It is my heart's desire though, so by the Grace of God, I get better every day.

By God's Grace, I pray to stay sober all day today and I hope you do too.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Spinning

I didn't get around to taking any snow pictures yesterday.  So, this is an old photo.  And since I stopped posting on this blog a year ago yesterday, I really cut down on the photos one year ago yesterday.  It is amazing to see how my photos change from December 1 2010 to June 1 2011.

This morning I went to the gym for a spin class.  I haven't been to one of those in maybe a couple of years.  I was happy to see that I could keep up with the class.  Spinning is hard!  My goal is to have a pool of sweat under my bike by the end of the hour like the lady in front of me.  I am not there yet.

I have lately been semi-tortured by a memory from June 1968.  It was really the beginning of me finding that I had no idea what was going to happen to me once I took a drink.  That day many things happened to me - it was horrifying.  As a 16 year old, I was so ashamed.  Honestly, I would say that I have never given this day another thought for all these years.  Until the last couple of weeks.  And now I wake up thinking about it.  I go to sleep thinking about it. I think about it on the treadmill and on the bike.

The funny thing is:  as a nearly 60 year old woman, I look back at that 16 year old with a greater deal of compassion than I ever had before.  Where there was shame, there now is sadness for that girl - and a bit of anger for people who would victimize her.  I guess age can bring detachment from our own younger selves.

Alcoholism is a very degrading disease.  It truly decimates a person.

"But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worth while in life.  It engulfs all whose lies touch the sufferer's.  It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends adn employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents - anyone can increase the list."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 18

But by the Grace of God, we get to live a decent life with our heads held upright.  No longer victims.  God's children.


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Strange Birds


The birds aren't really strange as in odd, just strange as in I don't really know them.  They are ordinary house finches.  I love to watch them come to the feeder and eat.  They are all over that aspen tree in my back yard.  

It is snowing like crazy.  I got up at 4 and was in the pool by 5 a.m.  The ride to the pool and back was terrifying.  I do a lot of talking to God on these ill-advised journeys of mine.  I am hoping that if I don't leave for work until 8 a.m., most of the traffic will be gone and the plows will have been out.   I think this might be wishful thinking as the tracks in the driveway from my car returning are already totally covered over with snow.  

Today I am just grateful to God that I am sober, there is no real drama going on, I can go to work today - with only one meeting on my schedule - and come home from work tonight.  I am grateful for an ordinary life today.  

For an alcoholic, that truly is strange!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living in this world

My front door with the new solar lights
When I was new in sobriety, someone told me to focus on the similarities not the differences in people.  Specifically, people in meetings.  But I have found this to be wonderful advice that has served me well over the years.  I even gave this advice to my daughters on their first day of kindergarten... having just heard it in AA.

Recently I had dinner with my best friend and a bunch of her friends and relatives.   We used to argue to the point of screaming at each other about politics.  Some people are just sure to their very soul that they are "right," and have no respect for people who aren't.  She falls into that group.  At dinner on Sunday, they started talking about politics - and threw in religion for good measure.   They mocked politicians, religious leaders, and public figures.  I kept my mouth shut somehow.  And later in the conversation, I mentioned, with no ax to grind, my own religious affiliation (the one they had just mocked).  Because although I don't need to defend any politician (however I may wish to), I cannot deny my faith.

Blessedly, there was no screaming involved.  If I had stated my political opinion, I am quite sure there would have been.  I am grateful that I have learned when to shut my mouth and sometimes I actually practice that!  When looking for the similarities, there is usually some small morsel in the conversation that can be seized upon to find common ground.  If that is your intention.

I am a person who is trying to practice these principles in all my affairs.  That means respecting others.  It means learning to live without resentment.  It means being honest - and trustworthy.  For me, this is work because it does not come naturally.

There are people in my life that sorely tempt me to live in resentment.  I would love to dwell on how wrong they are and retaliate.  However, the price I pay for indulging in this may be my very life.  So, I opt to try to find common ground.

I have lately been praying in my office a lot.  I have been going out of my way to try to get along with a couple of people.  I have done this before and have found that miracles really do happen when you are willing to let go of your pride and ego and try to be of service to God and your fellows.  We are not at the miracle stage yet - just the hard part stage.  But I have faith and trust in God.  He has never let me down.

In the immortal words of the famous philosopher Rodney King:
"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"