Friday, September 30, 2011

A Day of Vacation

I took a day of vacation today.  I was invited to go to Grandparents' Day at my older granddaughters' school.  I am looking forward to that.

I am going to the 6:30 meeting this morning, then I will go out and do 8 miles.

It is a beautiful cool morning in late September.

Grateful to be experiencing September 30, 2011 for the first and only time.

I'll ask Him in the morning and I will thank Him at night.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Heartbreak on a September Morning

I have fasting labs this morning, it is hard to not have a cup of coffee.  But I have my water.  I love water. And at about 8:30, I will be able to have a cup of coffee and my oatmeal.  My physician's office called yesterday and said my doc had ordered these labs.... it took me 20 minutes on the phone to find out why.  The reason is that it has been 5 years since I have had these tests.

My heart hurts for my daughter today.  Yesterday she called her father to tell him she really wants to have a relationship with him and wanted to know what she could do to help that happen.  He told her it would never happen because she is a "scum bag drug addict."  And she has ruined his life.  He will never allow her back into his life.  I guess the fact that she is 33 months sober and is doing everything humanly possible to rehab her life doesn't factor into his calculations.

I am so grateful that I have this program and this way of life.  I have not been allowed to wallow in hatred, resentment, and ugliness.  The penalty for doing those things is well, I guess, it is being like him.  Also grateful for the reminder of why I have been divorced from this man for the last 27 years.  I usually remember the good times and not so much the bad.  But this is a reminder of what it was really like.  And why I could not possibly have remained with him.

But my poor daughter is devastated.  She made sure she had someone with her all day yesterday.  And she has school all day today, so she will be busy.  But I can only speculate about what this must feel like for her.

I can't make it better for her.  I can't change the reality.  But I can be here, always here, always her mama - and she has never had any reason to doubt that I love her.  At least she has one parent.

We have always agreed that it was divine intervention that gave us each other as mother and daughter.  I am grateful for that, for both of us.  And I am grateful she said she had no desire to drink or to use.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Life on a Wednesday Morning

Do you see my Denver out there on the horizon?  It looks like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, doesn't it?  This was from the race on Sunday.  You cannot believe the hill we had to climb to get up there!  That was pretty much the exact spot where in my dream I fell and broke my leg.  But - I did not fall, and I did not break my leg.  I had a great race.

So great, in fact, that I have decided to do some last minute training this week in an effort to do the marathon I am registered for in October.  I have decided not to do this race at least 3 times over the last 2 months, and each time, I have come back and said "I think I can!" and tried again.  I will do some big mileage this week and see how that goes.  The blister on my right foot will not be helpful, but other than that, I feel fine.

Yesterday we had a big event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the hospital where I work.  A lot of retirees attended.  It was so much fun to see people I haven't seen for a long time.  I kept saying, this must be what a high school reunion is like - I have never attended one.  But it was just deliciously wonderful to see some old faces and hear people shout "Mary _____!" turn around and see someone I have loved and not seen for a long time.   One man (retired for 10 years) walked up to me, hugged me and told me I was the first person he wanted to see and he was so happy that indeed, I was the first person he saw.   I got to talk to so many people who were so helpful to me early in my career in healthcare.  They are old now, and I am older.   I am glad to know that now I am doing what I can to help people who are early in their careers in healthcare.

But I was on my feet (badly blistered already) for 10 hours - and believe me, I am not used to that.  It made me grateful for my office, soft chair, and computer.  If I had to physically work for a living, I think I would have to be considering retirement.  I don't think I could do it (says the woman who is planning on a marathon 2 months before her 60th birthday).  Whatever.

I'm grateful this morning for just about everything.  It feels so good to have my real mood back instead of being under the influence of that horrible drug (for migraine prevention) I was on for a month.  I better stay in good health, because I do not tolerate drugs well.

It is good to be sober.  Thank God.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We've got work to do...

That's my sock after the race on Sunday.  They are ruined.  That's OK, that's what they are for.

I was trying to think of a title, and just now I heard the President on the television say "We've got work to do..." and I thought it was apropos.  I have a full day ahead of me.  I have to be exceptionally nice today, and that sounds like it might be work.  There is a big shindig at work and I have been part of the planning and organization and today I get to be a semi-hostess.  We are going to wear black skirts or slacks and white tops of some sort.  I almost went shopping but then realized I have changed my ways and I am not shopping for every little thing anymore.  I found four different white blouses/sweaters in my closet and picked the one I like the best that will be comfortable on a hot day.  I also had to find a pair of shoes with an open back because I cannot fit these blistered heels into any of my regular high heels.

Yesterday I took a friend from work out for lunch.  She needed someone to talk to.  I asked her in the morning if she was really "OK" like she said, and her eyes welled up and she told me she couldn't talk about it.  I asked her if she wanted to have lunch and she said yes.  Her beautiful baby grandson was mauled by the family dog on Sunday.  He was rushed to the hospital and had surgery on his beautiful little face.  What do you say about that?  I just listened, told her I was here, if she needs anything, I'll keep all of them in my prayers, etc.

When I got off work, I got phone calls.  So many people in crisis.  I wonder if it is something in the air.  I know that some of it is an artifact of this (horrible) economy.  

Blogging, although I have come to appreciate how much I love it and how much a part of my life it has become, is a strange way to have a relationship.  I have come to care deeply about people I have met here.  Some of them I have met later face to face, some of them not.  But when one of them was in so much pain she was talking about taking her own life yesterday, I felt so powerless and realized the limitations of this way of relating.  I don't have her phone number, I had several e-mail addresses for her but apparently she never got my e-mail.  I don't know.  I know that she is alive because she is still posting.  But I am so worried about her.

I couldn't sleep last night for thinking about all these people.

I have to look back at the things I have lived through in my sobriety.  Things I thought would kill me.  But they didn't kill me.  I was OK.  When I say "OK," it might not be your idea of "OK."  Homeless is not most people's idea of OK.  But I walked through that.  I walked through two divorces.  A violent husband.  Losing custody of my children.  A restraining order so I couldn't even see them (these things happen when your ex marries a lawyer).  A child with alcoholism.   A child who spent 15 years as a meth addict (and is now sober over two and a half years).    

I lost everything, but I gained everything.  Because I found out I was OK regardless of my circumstances.  It didn't take a fat checkbook to make me feel secure (because it never could).  It didn't take a new boyfriend to make me feel "loved," because I knew I had the love of God.  My kids didn't have to be perfect and we didn't have to have a perfect relationship.  And I knew that as long as I didn't take a drink, I could get through any of these things.  I remember truly "getting" the meaning of living in the moment when I couldn't bear the thought of even an hour ahead.  I could focus on how I was OK in this moment - and then try to stay there.

So, odds are, I can get through anything in my future too.  And you all can too, with the help of God.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Post Race

This photo is from the race start yesterday morning.  It was a gorgeous morning.  It was a fabulous race.  I had never done a trail race before, so I had woken up at 2 a.m. with a sudden fear.  How do these things sneak into your brain while you are sleeping?  I never understand that.  Anyway, I realized we would be on single track for most of the race.  I had a thought of myself on one of the high ledges, falling and breaking a bone... being unable to continue, but worse than that, unable to move.  Obstructing the whole trail.  Causing emergency vehicles to have to get into this place that is virtually inaccessible.  Ruining the race for everyone!  It took an hour for me to get over this and get back to sleep.

I didn't fall, I didn't break anything, I didn't obstruct the trail.  It was a beautiful day.  I am so glad I did this race.  Even though my friend and I did come in last in the half marathon.  I knew that would happen since this is a serious race... there are only real runners there.  And then there was me.  And although I love the big races with the old, slow, and fat people, because they are a lot more like me than my mind allows me to realize, and usually at least a couple of them will finish after me - it was awesome to be at a race that was an adventure!

At our meeting we have a man who has returned after a long absence - he is sober - but he has taken to interrupting people and telling them to wrap it up if they aren't talking about alcoholism.  I wondered how often I talk about alcoholism in meetings.  How often do I talk about alcoholism specifically here? Probably not very often.

But Being Sober, now, that is a whole different topic.  And that is what I like to talk about.  So, in case you need me to draw the parallel (which I know most of you don't), here it is.

When I drank, I ran most mornings.  I ran a whole lot better than I do now.  I was always gonna run this race or that race.  I was always talking about it.  But somehow I never got around to filling out a registration form and sending in some money.  I never got to experience a race morning because I never followed through with much of anything.

When I was nearing 3 years of sobriety, I decided to participate in my first race.  It was the 1987 Bolder Boulder 10K.  I bought running shoes and a little running outfit to train in.  I trained for the race.  I registered for it.  And on race day, I showed up and ran.  I ran it with a cigarette and matches in the pocket of my little running shorts, but I ran it.   As the runners finish the race, they run into Folsom Stadium at CU Boulder... there are people all around cheering.  When I ran into that stadium on that day in 1987, I wept for joy.  I knew those people weren't necessarily cheering for me - but they were cheering for me, because I was one of 30,000 people who had laced up their shoes that morning and gotten out and run.  I had become someone who actually did things instead of just talking about them.

Slowly, slowly, slowly, life changes if you just don't pick up a drink - one day at a time.  God can get to work on us if we let him.  I am so incredibly grateful for what he has given to me and taken away from me in my life.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Off to the Race

Who has two running dresses to choose from?  Me.  I am leaning towards the brown one.  In fact, I have it on right now.  I will let my daughter decide which one I should wear.  Who wears a dress to a trail race?  Me.  See on the brown one,  you can barely make out that brown line in the middle?  That is the flap on the pocket.  There is a pocket across the back, like a bike shirt.  That is why I am wearing a dress to a trail race.

It is my first trail race and I am a bit afraid.  These people are hard-core.  I may very well come in last in the half marathon.  But there will still be 50K and 50 milers out there, so it will be OK.  I woke up with the thought of something else to be afraid of at 2 a.m., and it kept me up for almost an hour.  If that should happen, it will happen.  I will tell you what it is after the race.

I'm so excited!  I just can't hide it!  I'm about to lose control.... not I'm not!

I'm safely in the loving hands of God - where I place myself each day with my first waking breath.

Wish me good luck.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

A little bit of hope

I woke up with a head that feels like my own this morning.  That was a lovely feeling.  I decided not to go out with my running group since I am racing tomorrow.  Instead I went to the Saturday morning meeting. I miss that meeting!

I saw so many people in pain at that meeting.  Sober people, living life, facing difficulties without a drink. God bless 'em.

Honestly, it does something to my heart when I see someone stay sober when they've lost their job, lost their wife / husband, facing a kid with alcoholism or addiction, losing a kid, getting sued, going bankrupt, being homeless...

It's great when life is good, but we need not to lose our perspective about where we came from.  And where we can go back to - with one sip.

So, when I see someone who is devastated in almost every way and can still say with sincerity that they are grateful to be sober, I feel like I have heard something real.  Something with weight.  Something so much more helpful to a newcomer than all that cheerful-ness about how life is so freaking great.   But maybe that's just me...

"When a big, healthy-looking young fellow stood up there and said, 'I'm a success today if I don't drink today,' I thought, 'Man, I've got a thousand things to do today before I can brag about not taking a drink for God's sake!' Of course, I will still drinking at the time.  (Today there is absolutely nothing in the world more important to me than my keeping this alcoholic sober; not taking a drink is by far the most important thing I do each day.)"  Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. p. 447

Friday, September 23, 2011

We're going to be OK - you told me so.

This is a photo I took while running along the beach in Galveston, TX.  It was taken with a cell phone, so the quality of the photo is not good, but it is still one of my very favorites.

Yesterday morning on my way to work I was talking on the phone with a sponsee.  This is actually a good time for me to talk on the phone.  She is a nice person and asked me how I am doing.  I am an honest person, so I told her I am not doing well.  I don't believe in the idea that the sponsor is perfect at all times and has all answers, although I realize this puts me in some kind of minority.  Anyway, after telling her briefly what is going on, she said:

We're going to be OK - you told me so - and I believe you!  

It made me smile and cry at the same time.  My sponsor used to tell me "Remember what I say because someday you may need to tell me."  So, I got patted on my own back I guess.  And I know it is true.  We're going to be OK - as long as we trust in God and don't decide to take that first drink.

Later in the day, after an hour or so in my office, weeping, sobbing, with the door closed -  I thought - this has to stop.  What in the hell!  I have worked there for a long, long time, and have done this only a few times - and with good reason.  I had no good reason to cry yesterday.  I just felt miserable, unhappy, useless, hopeless, unloved, well, you get the idea.  

And it occurred to me - I started taking a medication to prevent migraines exactly a month ago yesterday.  I knew it was making me feel physically ill, but I think it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that I have had a drastic nosedive in my mood since then.  

And since I work with medical professionals, I talked with a couple of them.  One of them said that she had been worried about me because I have been so unhappy, uncharacteristically unhappy.  She was wondering what was wrong.  Well, there are things wrong, there are always things wrong, but I have lost my ability to cope.  

So, I did not take the medication last night.  And it will take a while to get out of my system.  And I know I will have migraines.  But I can deal with migraines.  

I remember talking with a physician several years ago.  He said "you just don't metabolize medications like other people!"  Yep, that is a fact.  Most alcoholics I have known don't.  They either need enough to sink a ship, or like me, have outrageous adverse drug reactions to tiny dosages of innocuous drugs.  

I just need to be as drug free as I possibly can.  I need my happy self back.  I need to not sit behind a locked door in the daytime crying.  

I am in a super cool race on Sunday!  Yay!  I can be me again.  

Thank you God.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011


This is another photo I love.  I took this in Seward, Alaska while visiting there.  

I am a bit discombobulated.  I don't use the word "depression" lightly, so I am not going to use it - yet.  But it seems like it is at least looking in my windows, and prying at my doors.  Maybe it has the code to the garage door and has gotten in at night.  

I have a long history with this burglar that has come and stolen bits and pieces and chunks of my life.  I feel like I have learned to live along side him, to acknowledge him, but not allow him to take over.  But I admit, he does scare me.  

So, here's what I know... I trust God and pray every single morning and throughout each and every day.  Every day is a day when I must turn my thoughts to others... when I leave my thoughts to myself my thoughts turn rancid.  I must eat three good meals a day with whole grains, vegetables, lean protein, and a small bit of fruit.  I must exercise at least a bit every day, and a LOT at least 4 times a week.   I need about 9 hours of sleep a night.  I need at least one hour of quiet to myself a day.  .... This is what I know about how I live with depression.  And I have not found it necessary to take medications for this beast for many many years, thanks be to God.  

I have a race on Sunday that I am really looking forward to.  It is a trail race with three river crossings - not on bridges, through the river!  How exciting!  My daughter decided to join me.  She has not trained, so this should be interesting.  We are going shopping at lunch today to get her some clothes for the race.  There really is some logic to this, but it is too much to go into here....  I am really looking forward to this and my daughter being there will make it even better.  

I hope you all have a lovely, sober day today.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


This photo was taken a year ago today.  I love it and may very well have it printed 8X10 and framed for my office along with some other photos I have taken over the years.  Do you know this is a side benefit of this blog because I would never have taken these photos if not for the blog?

I have been crying all morning.  Inconsolable weeping, heaving sighs, like a small child.  I'm thinking there is something wrong here.  I have got some trouble, but I'm not sure the trouble is commensurate with this affect.  Oh, who knows, maybe it is.

I got an envelope in last night's mail from the Colorado Department of Revenue and I thought "Dear God, I cannot deal with this - I will quit my job, I will leave my home, I will go be a hobo."  Honestly, I just can't deal with one more thing - particularly one more financial thing.  And sure enough, it was a bill, due and payable upon receipt - with interest already calculated in.  It seems they have discovered that I made an error in 2008.  WTF?   Do they pay people to just randomly go through tax returns of years past looking for errors?  Couldn't they have found this in 2008?

It looks have got a financial perfect storm brewing.  Taking cuts in pay three years running while the cost of everything else has increased is a bit disconcerting.  All this happening as I am turning 60 years old is a bit sickening.  Money has never been the most important thing to me, but I have always liked being able to pay my bills and eat.  Oh well.

Here's what I do know:

  • I am sober and that is miraculous.
  • I like my job most of the time and I am working on some projects that are challenging and fun.  
  • These projects involve teams that I thought at the time I was putting them together were unusual, now I think they are awesome!
  • I never thought it would be a good idea to go hiking in Iran
  • My family is all well
  • Last night's mail also contained an invitation to my granddaughter's first birthday party
  • An awesome half-marathon on Sunday - complete with 3 river crossings - grateful I am a 59 year old who thinks this is a good way to spend a Sunday
  • My sponsor and sponsees are beautiful women I love
  • My blogger pals are awesome too!  
  • God loves us all, no matter what we have done or how much money we owe the state.
Have a good sober day everyone.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The shadow of the giant woman in a runnning dress!  I don't know why I am so fond of photos of my shadow when they make me look so huge!

Yesterday I was inspired by MaryinAfrica to answer comments on the blog.  She does this every day.  She also uses wordpress so she can respond to a comment.  I use free blogger - and I am not going to change now - 6 years later - all I can do is just post another comment.  I also visited someone who often comments on Mary's blog and she answers all of her comments.  I thought - how nice!

I have often said (more often complained) that I think a blog is a conversation, and there can be no conversation without comments.

I realize there are constraints on my time since I have a full time job and other obligations.  So I may not be able to do this.  There are also constraints on my disposition, since I tend to be thin-skinned and can be argumentative.  Sometimes I spill my guts here and someone comes by who doesn't know me from Adam and drops a little big book quote on me as if I never heard of the book before... and their quote will help me to realize that perhaps I ought to purchase one!

I am going to try this out for a day or two.  Bear with me if you will dear reader.

0K.  It is going to be a good day.  I am going to be sober most likely all day long.  And I am going to thank God for that.

Monday, September 19, 2011


It is Monday again.  For my retired friends this has a different meaning.  I remember the years when I was a housewife I looked forward to Mondays because all of the noisy people went back to their places of business and I had my world back.  For the last 20 or so years, I have been one of the noisy people who works M-F 8-5.  And I am good with that.

I think I may have reached my limit with sponsoring people who want me to answer all their questions in life and want to call me at all hours with tearful, hysterical questions having nothing to do with program.  I had to tell one woman that I am not a job sponsor.  I don't know what she should do about her job.  I told her she might consider that in all of her job situations, she is the common denominator - therefore, she might be the problem.  If she wants to really look at that, I will be happy to help, but if she wants an ear to listen to what so-and-so said yesterday about this-and-that, I am not going to do this month after month.   It is not productive - for either of us.

I had a similar conversation on Saturday with a sponsee who is much beloved by me.  We have a long-standing relationship that means the world to me.

I asked her to please consider where she got the idea that long term sobriety meant that she should have tons of money, a great job, a great relationship, a shiny new car, etc.  I understand that plenty of sober people do have those things, but plenty of people don't too.  I don't think these things are an accurate gauge of the quality of a person's sobriety.  In fact, I have known several people who have had those things and could not stay sober to save their lives - literally.  If they had lost those things, they might have had a fighting chance.

We collectively love to idolize Bill W. and Dr. Bob, but I think we seldom consider who they really were.  For one thing, they both smoked like chimneys, Bill W. died of emphysema.  They were both poor as church mice.  Bill W. was allegedly a terrible womanizer. Dr. Bob brought a Bible to every meeting he attended.  I think if either one of these guys were to show up at an AA meeting today, they would be ostracized.

But, in spite of, or because of, their faults, God was able to work with them to do something that had never been done in the history of mankind.  They were able to come up with a solution to the plague of alcoholism.  And because of this, alcoholics were able to lead productive, respectable lives.

Maybe we take this too much for granted 75 or so years later.  Shouldn't we be humbly grateful to be sober?  Not greedy for more, more, more, more, more?  I think I am just going to try to be grateful for this gift in my life and I will ask anyone who I am sponsoring (and calls me today) to write a gratitude list and if they still have problems, let's get going on an inventory.

Thanking God for what he has put in my life today.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Maybe Momentous Birthdays...

Yesterday's sunrise was pretty stunning, wouldn't you say?

I SO don't have time to write this post... I am sitting in a football jersey and nothing else, with my hair in a ponytail - and my fella is picking me up in an hour and a half - I gotta get in the tub and get myself ready.

So, I am two months away from my 60th birthday.  Somehow I thought this wasn't going to bother me.  But I think I am feeling the effects.  Not in the ways I might have expected.  More in ancient hurts and regrets than in worries about the mirror or the 401k, etc.

Yesterday I had the Nebraska game on while I was doing my housework.  I heard that the coach and several players hailed from Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio.  Honestly, I sat down and wept.  I just cried.  I am crying right now just thinking about it.  I grew up with that being my dream, my goal, my life's ambition.  I got to go to that school (in 1965) for 8 months before my parents moved and I had to go with them.  I still remember my navy blue uniform and all my little cardigans with matching knee socks, my Bass Weejuns, my ability to go to daily Mass on my way to class.  The weekly football games, the friends I had known all the way from first grade, etc.  The roots. Being where I belonged.

But in April of my freshman year, I moved to a suburb of Chicago.  I had to go to a public school because all of the Catholic schools were full.  Can you say Culture Shock?  It only took me a couple of months to add alcohol to this mix and then we were off to the races.

In 1999, I went back to Youngstown Ohio to visit my old friends.  We walked through Cardinal Mooney High School.  It broke my heart all over again.  When I heard my friends talk about their trip to Europe and their this and that, I thought - wow, this could have been my life.  I could have told them about my stint in the home for unwed mothers, but thought that wouldn't really fit.

So many things happen in life.  I have spent so little time looking back.  It is so useless to regret.

But yesterday it really smacked me.

Thank God for a sponsee who needed to come and see me yesterday afternoon.  We had a lovely visit. She brought me the most wonderful gift from Amsterdam - I will take a photo later this week.  I am sure you will be as surprised as I was!

Have a wonderful sober day everyone.  I will ask God to help me not to spend too much time in regret, and I bet he'll help you too!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


This morning I had to stop and snap a photo of this little branch of cottonwood leaves that had decided to blaze ahead of its friends and change colors.

It was a beautiful morning to be outdoors.  I am grateful that I was able to be there.

And I am grateful that now I can take a hot bath (although I should take a cold one) and take a nap.

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that fill my heart with joy.

And today is one of those days.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Morning

I am so happy to be wearing jeans and danskos to work today.  I will also wear a wool sweater.  It will get up into the 70ºs outside today - but I know my office will never get up into the 70ºs.  I am always happy to switch out the clothing as the seasons change - although it is clear that the warm weather will return... and that is good too.

Last night I was supposed to have dinner with a woman I had sponsored back in the 80s.  She canceled as I suspected she might.  We talked on the phone for probably as long as a quick meal might have taken.  Well, she talked and I listened.  It is amazing what happens to us when we let go of the program and go off on our own.   She is someone I loved and hope will come back to the fold, so to speak.  She is a beautiful woman.

Every morning I wake up and make myself a cup of coffee.  Then I sit in my little prayer chair and read my daily readings and say my daily prayers.  I then ask God for his help that I may do His will - and then I start my list of people I pray for.  I will add my friend's name to this list.  And then I have my time of meditation.  This is how I start my every single day - no matter what is on the agenda.

Some days I can get to church and add another hour of prayer, I am fortunate that my particular religion has lots of opportunities for silent prayer.  Prayer is good.  The writers of the big book were clear about the need for prayer.   There is a whole step about prayer and meditation.  Whenever someone calls me all in a flutter about this and that and the other, the first thing I ask is "Do you start every single day with prayer?"

"Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation.  we shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer.  Better men than we are using it constantly.  It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it.  It would be easy to be vague about this matter."  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 86

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We have a new employer

Thats a partial quilt top that isn't sewn together yet.  It's just laid out on the floor - and I have just noticed that the colors aren't true on the photo... oh well.  It is a quilt for the baby - for her first birthday.

If I got any more tired I don't know what would happen.  I have got to schedule some down time.  I am running around like a nut.  It has to slow down.  I had to take a few hours off work this afternoon so that I could get some stuff done in my personal life.  And I just got done with all of that.

I thought I would blog tonight and that will free up about an hour of my life tomorrow morning.

It gets like this sometimes and it is not good.

I stopped at church tonight and sat for an hour in silence and prayed.   That is the only thing I know that calms me down when life starts spinning out of control.

God is always God no matter how nutty I am being.  He is constant.  He is the center.

"First of all, we had to quit playing God.  It didn't work.  Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.  He is the Principal; we are His agents.  He is the Father, and we are His children.  Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.

When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed.  We had a new Employer.  Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. "  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 62 - 63


The weather is changing.  I always welcome this change to cooler weather.  It is supposed to rain today and I welcome that as well - not that it matters one whit whether I do or not!

Last night I hosted the meeting of my HOA.  I have grown comfortable with this group, but this comfort did not come overnight.  A few years ago I quit the group after my initial commitment of two years - those two years were full of uncomfortable conflict.  I was gone for just a few months when the president of the board asked me to come back and I did.  And I have enjoyed it since then.  A couple of the people who were on some kind of crazy, misguided power-trips have left the board and I think we have a sensible resident-focused HOA now and I am glad to be on it.

I have a huge day at work today again.  I thought if I woke up at 4:30 this morning I would have time to get a few miles in, but I don't.  I will have to do that somehow tonight.  I have to get out of here so I have time to get out of work early so I can do what I need to do tonight.  I really am a bit over-scheduled.

My boss brought up alcoholism again yesterday.  I told her that I tell NO ONE at work that I am an alcoholic.  She assured me that she will tell no one.  I told her that was not the point and if I had it to do over again, I would never tell her, that she caught me off guard  and I regretted telling her.  That I do not feel comfortable talking about this at work.  I hope she can knock this off.

OK, with God's grace, I will stay sober today and live to the best of my ability - and I hope you all do too!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trauma Mechanisms

Yesterday I spent an hour or so with our facility trainer going over the annual training that will start today for most of the hospital staff.  She wanted to show me a training she had developed for treatment planning.  It focused on looking at why the behavior we want to change actually works or worked at one time for the patient.  These behaviors don't come out of nowhere.   It's how humans adapt.

Last night I met the man I have been dating.  I had intended to have a serious talk with him.  When I walked up to the restaurant and saw him sitting inside - my heart sort of melted when I saw his face lit up when he saw me.  That was disarming.  And then when we started talking and he had an absolutely horrible day - I thought this is not the day to pile on him.  We walked to our cars after dinner and talked for a while.  I actually shed a tear and talked to him in a real way instead of being a tough girl the way I had intended.  A lifetime of well-crafted behavior to adapt... just given up?  I guess so.

He will be traveling for most of the next couple of months, so we will have a natural break.  That is good.

Work is so busy it is insane - but good.  I ran all day yesterday.  In 3 inch heels.  Which I have found are more comfortable on my injured feet than my little orthopedic shoes.  You know, I can't stand being an old sedate lady in orthopedic shoes.  I am happy when I am running around in 3" heels - even if it hurts!  It hurts less than the alternative.

I will trust God that I am where I am supposed to be today.  I don't know where I am going, but I will step there in faith (and in heels).

"This above all:  to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."  W. Shakespeare

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Morning

On a crystal blue Colorado Saturday morning.  Oh, it was glorious.  

And now it is Monday.  And I find that glorious as well.  I wouldn't really say I exactly love my job, but I am grateful for it, and I am grateful to be gainfully employed outside of my home.  Outside of four walls of my mind.  I found this weekend to be a rough one.  The whole 9/11 thing was a bit over-the-top for me.  I have a son in Afghanistan and found out yesterday my daughter-in-law may be deployed early next year.  I am sick of the way we have allowed our lives to be changed by that day.  And that we have traded our freedom for "safety."  OK, enough out of me.  Like I said - I need to get back to work.

My relationship with the guy has hit the first (and maybe last) bump in the road.  We will have dinner tonight and probably find out.

When is the iPhone 5 coming out?  Have I lambasted AT&T here?  I had Verizon since it was Airtouch (the mid 90s), but in my lust for an iPhone, I switched to AT&T in May 2010.  A month or so later, Verizon offered the iPhone, but I was stuck with a 2 year contract with AT&T.  My phone frequently doesn't ring when someone calls, the voice mail goes into deep space - to appear 12 hours or a day later.  I have spent hours with their customer service - in person and on the phone.  Each person is sure they have it figured out, but they don't.  The last person I spoke with at AT&T was a very kind gentleman and I explained that not only do I have a son in Afghanistan (whose last call I missed because the phone did not ring), but I also have a new relationship which is not being helped by me waiting for him to call when he said he would - when he has already called and I don't know it - he laughed and said that would make a good commercial - I said it would make a good commercial for the other company!  I have decided I am willing to pay to cancel my contract with AT&T and go back to Verizon, but I don't want to get an iPhone 4 just before the latest and greatest is released (I did that with the iPhone 3).  So, I am waiting, and waiting, and waiting.... tick tock, tick tock, tick tock....

The highlight of my day yesterday, the moment I shall treasure in my memory:  two frazzled women, me and one of my sponsees, sitting in the back of the meeting - with my granddaughter and a baggie of cheerios.  I called her later and thanked her for helping me with the baby.  It was a very special moment.

We do really form relationships that are unique and priceless.

God bless you all today as you go about your Monday business - sober.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It is 2011.

Do you see that little herd, running into the sunrise?  Isn't that awesome?  That was yesterday.  Do you know how hard it is to keep up a pace when you stop every couple of seconds to snap a photo?  Oh well, I just can't help myself.

Today I am watching my little eleven-month-and-one-day-old granddaughter.  At six-seventeen a.m., I had to step away from the television set, bundle her little footed pajama'd self into the car and drove to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.  While I was driving, the phone rang.  It was a sponsee.  She was crying.  She asked "are you coming to the meeting?" I told her I was on my way.  She said, "Please sit by me, I need you today, the topic of the meeting is 9/11."  At which point, I lost it, and said "Are you f***ing kidding me?  I am bringing a baby to a meeting, which I don't even believe in, just so I can get away from this s**t. - Oh well, I will be there in a minute, and we will get through this together."

We sat in the back of the meeting and shared the baby between us.  I truly don't believe in bringing children to meetings (and if you would like to hear why, I would  be happy to share that with you), but when I saw faces light up that hadn't had a smile in years, it was a beautiful thing.  We got through that meeting, and I hope we will all get through today.  I know my sponsee and I will.

Thank God I have this beautiful child with me today.  But I truly wish my son were not in Afghanistan.  I wish his wife were not away wherever she is in her camouflage today.  I wish I had been lying to my daughter 10 years ago at just about this moment when I said "the whole world just changed."

But there are still babies.  And they still make cranky old people smile. There are still people getting sober in AA meetings.  The sun still comes up in the morning and it is still a beautiful thing.  And still if I ask God at night and thank him in the morning, the odds are I will stay sober that day.

And that is a good thing.  Beautiful even.

Here's some unsolicited advice for today:  turn off the television.  Go outside.  Take a walk.  Call someone you haven't talked to for a while.  If there's someone you know who is lonely, give them a call.  Think of what you are grateful for.  And then Thank God with all your heart.

I know I will.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday Morning is full of Hope

I love this photo.  It was taken two weeks ago while I was out with my running club.  It shows several groups of runners out ahead of us on the trail.  Usually you can't see a mile ahead like this.  I love this particular trail, well, except for the hills!  Today we are going to a trail I have never been to before.  And I am going to do 9 miles, and I am looking forward to that as much as I used to look forward to a nice pint at my favorite bar.

Yesterday I registered for a half marathon - it is on September 25.  I thought I wasn't going to do another one, but reconsidered.  I have wanted to do this race since I heard of it a year and a half ago.  It is a mile from my house!  It has two river crossings in it!  It has 900 feet of elevation gain in it!  It will be killer and I have little doubt I will come in last in the half marathon, but I think it will be fun if I can just leave my ego aside and just enjoy it for what it is - a killer half marathon.  The event also includes a 50K and a 50 mile, so I won't be last overall, therefore it won't have the humiliation factor.

I think I won't ever be in the shape to decide two weeks out to do a half marathon again.  I don't want to train like this again.  I could be wrong, because I have been before.  Next year I hope to do an olympic distance triathlon.  I think that is a good goal for the year I am 60.

And I know you all think I am nuts, but there is Alzheimer's in my family and exercise has been proven to slow the onset.  There is also heart disease and cancer and I don't need to tell you about that.

God was good enough to get me sober, I can show my gratitude by taking care of the life he has saved. I really believe that.

Friday, September 09, 2011


This is the back of this year's "spring" shirt - "spring" season starts in January!  This is possibly the cutest shirt, but very tight.  I am pushing sixty, so I don't usually wear skin tight shirts :-(

I have really begun to realize that I am no longer smack dab in the middle of AA.  That's a dangerous situation in many ways, but I don't think I can do anything about this  - other than have a drink and become newly sober.  That's not something I would want to do.  So, I shall remain someone who is, by virtue of being sober a relatively long time, sort of apart from the rest.  I wish it weren't so, but it seems to be.  My experiences are different than most of the people sitting in AA meetings now.  The thoughts I express seem to be about 180º apart from most.  And my age separates me from the young girls giggling around each other at meetings.

So, about a month ago I had a sponsee who was calling, texting, and visiting a lot.  She was in crisis.  I finally told her she needed to get some professional help.  She was suicidal and had some PTSD issues that I know I cannot help her with.  I think I would be doing her a terrible disservice to pretend I could help her with those.

I called her several times within the last week or so.  She never returned a call.  I sent her an e-mail yesterday and asked her why she never returned my calls.  I asked if she was OK.  She responded that she is seeing a counselor.  And she is still having a hard time, etc.

But in between the lines, the message I got was that she is now seeing a counselor and there is no need to return my calls.  Seriously?  I have been her sponsor for 7 years.  I didn't consider that her seeking professional help was the end of our relationship, but I guess I may have been wrong.

I will talk with her about this in the next few days.  Because I think she needs to know that this is hurtful to me.  And it might be emblematic of some of her problems in relationships with others.

I see the sponsorship relationship as a very profound, spiritual relationship.  It is disturbing to me that someone might perceive it as a utilitarian one.

I will trust God that this will be as it should be.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Just Keep Running...

That's the back of the latest t-shirt from my running club.  Although I have been a member for a year and a half, I have only three of these shirts, perhaps I will post photos from all three.  I like them.

I have been hearing a lot on television about the events of ten years ago.  The ten year anniversary of 9/11 is upon us.  It is hard to believe.  Ten years ago I was at the end of my master's program.  I was literally counting the days until it was over.  On the whiteboard outside my office, I had a daily countdown as such:

T - 101
At about noon on September 11, I erased that countdown when I considered the number of people who would be grateful for one more day, one more hour, one more second.... no matter what the condition.  And I considered that I had far too much to be grateful for to bemoan the fact that I had a job in management and was attending one of the nation's finest universities - no matter how difficult that seemed to be to me.  

There are people at work who have little clocks in their offices that countdown the days to retirement.  I think that is about the most depressing thing I can think of.  On Tuesday I mentioned to my boss that it was my 17th anniversary, she congratulated me and said "you are another year closer..." I said "to what? my grave?"  I am not working for retirement.  I am working for today.  Because this is the life I have.  

It is a gift from God.

And if there are bees as well as a bear chasing you, it doesn't matter - just keep on running!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Normal Wednesday Stuff

I went to the pool and swam this morning.  I guess for most of the world, it is fall because school has started.  To me it is not fall until it is fall - that is on September 22.  But the gym was packed this morning and I had to wait 15 minutes to get in the pool and all lanes were full the entire time I was there.  The locker room was packed.  I don't like this.  :(  And I am so hungry from swimming, I am having a little bowl of Cheerios before work.  I will eat my usual bowl of oatmeal with blueberries when I get to work.

Yesterday morning I was ready to quit my job... but I actually had a good day there.  I took my phone into all meetings with me since I missed a call from my son (who is now in Afghanistan) last week and I would not care to do that again.  Since I had my phone with me and it was on silent, I surreptitiously took photos.  When I got home and looked at the photos, I realized how much I love some of those people and how much fun we have.  I talked with one of my favorite psychiatrists about how angry I have been about work and he commiserated with me.  But he said that the workgroups I am chairing are productive and fun.  There are four of them right now, and although I feel like they are killing me as far as workload, they actually are fun, and we are getting stuff done - stuff that needs to get done.  So, what more could you ask of a job?

Can you guess where I learned how to chair a meeting?

Yep.  Right in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.

If you could learn to handle the crazy lunatics who attended the meetings I used to go to, you could handle just about anything.  I would throw people out who were sleeping - I know we don't do that now, but I did.  We had a lot of homeless folks there for the donuts and a warm place to sleep - they could sleep in the club, they didn't need to be in the meeting.  I would manage the "court slip" people by telling them up front to get their slips signed and then they could leave because we didn't want anyone there against their will.  I once had a guy (court ordered) who threatened to start shooting people - because the "promises" hadn't come true for him - I have never referred to them as "promises" since that day.  I enlisted the help of the men and got the guy calmed down.  aye, carumba - I could go on and on... oh, the good old days.

It was good experience.

So today I will sit with a bunch of social workers, psychiatrists, RNs, etc., and I bet I won't have to throw a one of them out of the room for sleeping!   Awesome!

Sobriety has been bery, bery good to me.

Thank you God!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Monday Morning

I read what I posted last night and I couldn't leave it all day as my last post.  What I thought was cute as I wrote it last night just looked kind of bitchy this morning.   I am a morning person, I do everything better in the morning, including write.

Why a photo of my foot, you may ask.  Well, there is something very strange about my foot, but I don't think you can tell.  I am losing a toenail - again.  I had just lost the nail on the second toe on the right foot a few weeks before the race in August.  I thought I was all set to go.  But I developed a terrible blister underneath the new toenail and unfortunately, that usually means you will lose the toenail.  Usually there is a little nail under the toenail as it falls off - but there is nothing but skin under this one.  I am hoping to keep the nail on for a little while longer.  So I put a bandaid on it.  And then I thought it looked funny, so I painted a little dab of nail polish on it in the shape of a toenail.  And then I wonder why people think I am a bit peculiar....

Today is the 17th anniversary of my employment at the hospital.  When I started, I said I wanted to work there until I retired.  I think I may have recently changed my mind.  I still have another ten years to work, I would like very much to be happy in those ten years.  There is no point in grimly staying somewhere because I said I would.  No one I said it to even works there anymore!

This determination has served me well in my sobriety, but I am learning it can be a character defect in other areas of my life.  I remember a sponsor I had long ago who said when she got into a rut, she moved in the furniture and the rugs, got comfortable and just stayed there.  She didn't stay sober.

I think I am ready to break out of some ruts in my life.

But I wouldn't consider sobriety a rut.  I would consider it a blessing. And a discipline.  And a beautiful habit.  And I thank God for it every single day.

Monday, September 05, 2011


I spent all day working on a quilt for my baby granddaughter.  When I say I worked on the quilt, I started by needing to clean out a closet to find parts to the sewing machine.  The parts were on the bottom, covered by about 7 years of gift bags, purses, christmas ornaments, gift wrap, ribbons, and other very special items I felt it necessary to throw in the bottom of a closet.  Then once I threw away most of that, I had to clean off the ton of mail that had accumulated on top of the sewing machine.  And extra buttons,  price tags, washing instructions, race packet innards, etc.  Once I threw away most of that, I needed to dust the machine, and then spend an hour or so making it work properly.

I needed to look up youtube videos on how to do various tasks that I didn't remember how to do.  How on earth did we do anything before the internet?

I literally spent all day on this and have one square to show for it.  But most of the foundational work is done.  I hope I can get this little quilt done before her first birthday.  We shall see.

I saw no one after the meeting this morning.  I talked on the phone to only a few people.

I am looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the 17 th anniversary of my working there.  You know what?  That is too damn long to work in one place.

I'll pray for God to work on my attitude while I sleep tonight.  He is so good at that.

God bless you all.

Labor Day

I was walking around the grounds of the hospital where I work the other day and found this old entry to nothing.  Since our hospital is on grounds that were formerly an Army fort that was established during the civil war, there are lots of weird old things like that on grounds... and I love them.

I attended a meeting this morning and saw some old pals.  I stood outside talking to one for nearly an hour.  She is exactly my age and has been sober for eighteen years, I have known her for most of those eighteen years.  It is always nice to talk with her.

Last night I went to see a great movie with my gentleman friend.  It has gotten mixed reviews, but we both really liked "The Debt."  I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and gasped several times.  It is very suspenseful with dark twists and turns.

Today I intend to have a very low-key day.  I am still feeling the effects of the migraine prevention medication I have started.  It makes me incredibly tired.  BUT I have not had a migraine for a week now, and that is a big deal.  Some of the docs at work have assured me that I will get used to the medication... but I know I will never get used to the migraines.

I hope you all have beautiful days.  If you have the day off, I hope you enjoy it.  If it is your first sober holiday, remember, your alcoholism never took a holiday, neither does your recovery.

God bless you all.


Sunday, September 04, 2011

2000th Post

Two Thousand times I have sat down and started to write something for this blog.  Probably One thousand five hundred times I have had no idea what I was going to write.  And probably those five hundred other blog posts are the ones I regret.  It is much better when I am just sharing my experience, strength, and hope - and not trying to make a point.  If I happen to make a point while sharing my own experience, so much the better, but it is better to not set out to do that.

This blog was pretty much an accident.  I just wanted to communicate with someone who was irritating me on another blog I had at the time.  I knew he was an alcoholic and I wanted to talk to him about that, so I made an anonymous blog.  It was the very week of Katrina.  The date of my first entry is September 7, 2005.  I was suffering from a broken rib after a bike accident, so I was not able to run, feeling homebound, and the computer was occupying my time more than it should have been.

I only posted intermittently until just after Thanksgiving that year when a wonderful (now) former blogger named "Trudging" discovered my blog.  We used to be a great big solid community, so when she found me, they all came over.  Suddenly I had readers!  It was so much fun!  I started posting every day and reading the other bloggers religiously.  Most of us posted early in the morning and we all read and commented.  On a day when I had less than 10 comments on a post, I considered it somewhat of a wasted effort.  I may have only had 30 to 50 hits a day (whereas now I have 120 to 150), but they were mostly all bloggers who commented.  We were really a community.

In 2006, I got to take a trip to Texas and met Pammie, Dave, Scott, Zane, Ricky!!!, Boston, and so many more bloggers I cannot even think of them all.    THE most amazing thing about meeting those people was that they were all exactly as I had imagined them.  I felt I knew them from reading about them.  I visited Dave's house and saw familiar sights from photos on his blog.  I got to blog from Dave's house on more than one occasion!

To say I came to really care about some of these people would be an understatement.  And then there were problems too... as there inevitably are when you put people together.  But that is life.

Skip forward to the International Convention in San Antonio in July 2010.  I attended a workshop on AA and the internet - or something - several of you were there, you might be able to recall exactly what it was.  My face may have actually turned red as I realized how wrong-headed my blog is.  I decided at that time that I would discontinue it - as soon as I could muster the courage.  It took me until December.  On December 1, I wrote what I thought would be my last entry on this blog.  But I was wrong.  

The line that hit me between the eyes at that workshop was "we feel it is best to let our friends recommend us."   I knew my blog flew in the face of that good advice.  I was "promoting" AA with my blog.  And I have always known that my blog was within the letter of the law of the eleventh tradition about personal anonymity, but that it really is not within the spirit of the twelfth tradition about spiritual anonymity - humility.  My blog is about me!

This may be rationalization, but there is a dearth of positive information about AA on the internet.  AA as a whole has made the decision not to "fight" that.  I have decided that it really isn't too terribly wrong for one person to put her own experiences out there - as long as I couch them as such.  They are my experiences.  So now when you search "does AA work" my blog comes up as well as all of the negative stuff.  When you search for information about why people hate AA, my blog comes up as well as all the horrible stuff.  People get here by those searches and then they find some information about getting to AA.  I think that is a good thing.  I am not selling books, I am not promoting my own philosophy, I am not pushing my own religion - I would like to let people know that AA truly works if they are willing to try it.

So, that is why I returned to my blog in June and am still blogging.  Even when there is a small community of us, and few comments every day.  I love to write.  And what better to write about than my own experience, strength, and hope?

I thank God for my sobriety every single day.  And I am also grateful for this blog. And especially the wonderful people I have met along the way in the 6 years and 2000 posts.


Friday, September 02, 2011

I made it to the weekend

I ate some sushi this week to help me through. And I made it. I do not like living for the weekend, but this was a rough week. I am glad I have three days off. I am going to try to make it easy for myself. Of course, my first inclination is to tell you of all the plans I have - starting at 4 a.m. tomorrow.

I thought of canceling my run tomorrow, but it is one of my favorite parts of the week, so why would I do that? And I only have to do four miles. Four miles? I could do that in my sleep!

And then a quilting class with my daughter. How fun is that? Well, it probably isn't a whole lot of people's idea of fun, but it is mine.

And I think I should see my b.f. on Sunday night when he gets back from his trip. How fun is that? Fun.

Somewhere in there I will get to a meeting or two. And probably see one or more of my sponsees. And then it will be Monday night and I will be planning my return to work.

And that is good. I was told today I would be a facilitator for something I thought I was being ignored for. I was very happy about that.

Now if only my body will get used to this horrible medication I am taking and it will stop the horrible migraines... I don't know what. But something.

Last night as I was falling asleep I was dreaming my hand was being held by the man I am seeing. That's how pure our relationship is. That's how sweet it is. That's how nice my life has gotten to be. A memory of a nice big hand holding mine. It made me so happy.

And you may not know me well enough to know how much of a miracle that is, but I know how much of a miracle that is. And I can tell you - it is a big one.

God can truly write straight with crooked lines.

(sorry the last several posts are not very coherent, I am really ill) Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend everyone. I hope if you are in the Labor Market, you are gainfully employed. I hope if you are not gainfully employed, it is because you have earned the rewards of long career. In any event, I hope you are satisfied with your lot in life, or if not, that you have hope that you will be. If you are a sober person, you have reasonable cause for that hope.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

One More Day...

And then I will have a long weekend. I need a long weekend. On Saturday afternoon I am taking a quilting class with my daughter (not the tattoo'd addict one, but her MS'd, bunned twin). My fellow is going out of town to see a baseball game and a college football game. It should be a quiet, low-key weekend and I need that.

I had dinner with the man last night. I went to see "The Help" tonight with one of my gal pals.

I started a migraine prevention medication on Tuesday and I am not liking this. I am at the very bottom of the titrate and already I don't like it. But I don't like having migraines 3 out of 7 days a week either. So I will give it a go.

This weekend I will probably ending up seeing two of my sponsees. I will also probably call another woman. She was one of my first sponsees. I recently found her on facebook. She messaged me the other morning, she would really like to meet with me. She is having a hard time, she says. Hers was the first fifth step I ever heard, well over twenty years ago now. She told me a secret she had never told another soul. I told her I would take it with me to my grave. So far, that is the truth, and I intend for it to remain so. Although I am tired, these are the things that make my life - well, my life...

"For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objectives and new-found faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding and love-without strings, without obligation-we acquire relationships that are unique and priceless." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 312"