Monday, October 31, 2011

Too Much

Sometimes it is all just a bit too much.

Today I told my boss I would be a bit late tomorrow morning.  I need to go to a sponsee's birthday meeting at 6:30 a.m.  And then I need to go to church at 8:00 a.m.  I told her I wouldn't be very late, but I would be late.

She said I work more than my fair share of hours and I have a lot on my plate.  And then she said "And most of the things you do are for other people."  Well, I am glad she has the perception that I am so unselfish.  Because....

Right now I feel like if one more person calls me and cries or complains I will scream.

It would be so nice for someone to just call to say hello, or to actually see how I am.

But I am the sponsor, I am the mother, I am the grandmother.  I have become invisible.  I am just the ear to listen to the drama.

OK, enough out of me.  I am going to bed.

Gee, I know that sugar and I don't get along really well... do you think this might be evidence?

I can still thank God for another day when I didn't drink, and I didn't want to.  And regardless of how I feel, that is still a wonderful thing.

Trick or Treat

The flowers were a treat yesterday.  My fella brought them over.  I had decided before our date that if he didn't bring me flowers we were going to have to have "a talk."  I was so happy to see the flowers, because I really didn't want to have that talk.

We watched the Broncos game - and that was not a treat.  Unless you were a Lions fan (and if you were, you don't need to rub it in).

And now I am back to the work-a-day routine.  I need to get in a couple of miles on the treadmill and get to work.  I hope to hear some good news this week.  Life changing good news.

I intend to stay sober today and I hope you all do too.  And that is indeed a treat!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hoy es Domingo

This little flower managed to live through being covered with snow for several days.  A tenacious little thing, no?

Yesterday I found myself in something that could have been a sticky situation.  We met at coach's house and headed out from there for a few extremely uphill miles and back.  Then we had brunch.  I hadn't realized the brunch would be accompanied by mimosas.  That doesn't really bother me, but I always make sure I am alert when in such situations.

She kept asking me if I wanted one - even though I have been telling her consistently for two years that I don't drink - at all.  I told her again "I am a teetotaler."  She asked if I would like some orange juice.  I thought that sounded swell, so I said yes.  I hadn't thought through the fact that she would serve me orange juice in the same kind of glass everyone else was drinking mimosas in.  I found myself holding something that looked exactly like the alcoholic drink everyone else was having.

Then I remembered my father's advice when I was newly sober.  He said when going into a social situation where others would be drinking, get a drink that doesn't look like others and hold it in your hand.  That way you won't pick up another drink by accident, and people won't keep asking you if you want a drink.  (A cup of coffee, a can of pepsi, etc.)

I needed to set the drink down while I got my breakfast.  I looked around and there were glasses all over the place.  I know it probably sounds silly, but this is really dangerous stuff for us.

I took my glass into the family room, far away from everyone else, and set it on a table while I went and got my breakfast.  That way I knew where it was and was sure it was mine.  I was fine, I ate a yummy meal, including a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie I had baked, I socialized for a little while and then I left.  There is no point in me hanging around people who are drinking.

In my early decades of sobriety, I only hung out with sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous.  It was more fun and a hell of a lot more comfortable for me.  Later on, I started enjoying other activities with people who do drink.  I just have to remain vigilant.  I am an alcoholic.  I don't care how long I have been sober, I am still an alcoholic.  Alcohol is still cunning, baffling, and powerful.  I pray I never become cavalier about my sobriety.

I remember a man I loved a long time ago.  He had been sober for over 30 years.  And then he wasn't.  He didn't ever raise his hand, he just got really nutty and everyone knew.  He was the first person I ever heard say "I am sitting in this AA meeting, but my alcoholism is out in the parking lot doing push-ups."  It was extremely moving when seeing this man saying it.

He could not get sober again.  One day he decided he must die.  He got a gun out in front of his wife.  She struggled with him.  She called the police.  While she was on the phone, the gun went off and her husband died.  So, in the first days after she lost her husband in this horrible way, she was in jail.  Accused of killing him.

We do the most horrible things when we are in the snares of this disease.

I don't mind looking a little bit "nutty" moving my orange juice into the family room.  I don't mind the vigilance.  I don't mind the "work."  I am delighted to be sober and I don't want to drink again.

I am absolutely dependent upon the Grace of God.  And I am fine with that!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One in the Oven

I am meeting my running group this morning at the home of our coach.  It is the break between the summer/fall session and the winter session.  But most of the group is training for races, so they thought they would get together and put in some mileage anyway.  I am going, but only for four miles... so I don't need to be there until 9 a.m.  We are having breakfast after we are done - and I have been requested to make a pie.  Hence, there is a strawberry rhubarb pie in the oven as we speak (or I write).

Yesterday I heard something in a meeting that just hit me as being weird.  Someone said she is jealous of people who can drink normally.   She has been sober nearly two decades, and she said this.  I asked the woman next to me - do you wish you could have one glass of wine?  Without a nano-second of hesitation, she said "oh, hell no!  I want 2 cases of wine or why would I bother!"  I talked with a sponsee after the meeting and she said the same thing.

I don't even understand the concept of one glass of wine.  It has no appeal to me whatever.  If I were going to drink - and I pray to God I never do again as long as I live, one day at a time -  I would want to get drunk.

I am delighted to be a sober woman.  I can't think of anything I want more.  I think it is the best gift I have ever been blessed with.

Thanks to the grace of God, I am sober today.  I am grateful for that and happy about it.

So, I will go out and give it my best shot today and I hope you all do too.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I bought this gilded maple leaf in Maine.  It was something I just "had to" have when I was in the store.  And I am not usually a sucker for gift shops.  When I got it home, I wondered what could have possessed me to pay $40. for a leaf.  I mean, it's pretty, but it is sitting on the desk here with me.  I have no place to put it.  I would like to give it to someone, but they probably wouldn't have anything to do with it either.

Yesterday I got some fabulously good news at work.  It is not a done deal, so I don't want to write about it.  But suffice it to say that my work life may be changing soon.  And to have someone want me felt so good, I was flying around on the clouds all day.  God's will, not mine... God's will, not mine....

I am now going to a meeting where I will hear a young woman speak.  She has been sober for 5 years I think.  She has been written about here several times in several ways.  She had helped me as a personal trainer, and then she was the recipient of meals I cooked once a month as she recovered from cancer.   She is an awesome woman who I have come to really love.

It's going to be a great Friday.  I think I will stay sober today and I hope you all do too.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday of the week after...

That's my deck this morning.  There were live plants under that snow.  They aren't alive now.  Poor things.

I am scratching my head at the lack of depression going on here.  When I did my marathon last year, by Thursday of the next week, I was writing about "the dark night of the soul."  I was in despair.  It was truly awful.

This year?  I am just fine.  I might be a bit cranky, but maybe no more than usual.

I am so relieved because I would not like to go through that again.

Tonight I am going out for dinner with two AA friends.  A woman who came close to taking her own life a little over a year ago, and her sponsor.  She sent her suicide letter to both of us, via e-mail, on that fateful day.  And now she wants to take us both out for dinner.  She has now been sober over a year and has just landed a job in the field she worked in before her alcoholism took her down.   It will be nice to sit over a lovely meal in a nice restaurant with these two.  Especially when I contrast that with the night in the hospital room, she nearly dead and delirious, and my friend and I standing at her side - sick with worry.  We truly did not know if she would live through the night.  But she did.  And a year later, it looks like a happy ending.

A year of sobriety is a miraculous thing.  It is nothing short of miraculous what can happen in a year to one who stays truly sober, goes to meetings, and works the steps.

I worry when it looks like a "happy ending" because I have so frequently seen the person drift away.  Life gets good and then it appears that there is no need for meetings, a sponsor, steps, etc.

I will pray that doesn't happen to her.  She remains in my prayers every day, it is just a habit.

And do you know that I am still in my prayers every day?  I am clear that I am sober by the Grace of God.  I am clear that I am a hopeless alcoholic.  I can drink tomorrow (but not likely today).  I am sober today.  I cannot coast on yesterday's sobriety.  None of us can.  I don't care how long you are sober, how spiritually fit you seem to be, how many people you sponsor, or what service position you hold.

I have today.  I think I will stay sober in it - and try to make it the best October 27, 2011 I possibly can.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winter Storm

This morning I stood at my back door and shot the same photo as yesterday.  As you can see, it looks very different today.  It is snowing like crazy out there!  There is probably 5 to 6 inches of snow here and it is still coming down.  I need to get to work early this morning, because I have presentations to give at 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., and have written neither of them.  Getting to work early will be a challenge due to bad road conditions.  Oh well.

I need to go get a new iPhone and I need to get it from Verizon and pay the penalty to cancel my contract with AT&T.  This all sounds like too much trouble.  I am nearly tempted to sign another two year contract with AT&T just to avoid all the hassle.  Last night at the Homeowner's Association Board meeting, I talked with a man who had done just what I had - canceled his contract with Verizon so that he could get an iPhone and then was stuck with AT&T for two years.  He was proud that he waited out his two year contract and could now switch.

I have done many stupid things in my life just because I wanted to "avoid the hassle."  Someone once told me that alcoholics are lazy.  I am not sure I agree with that.  It takes a lot of hard work to drink alcoholically - it definitely is NOT the easier softer way.  Getting sober was a tremendous relief after all that work!  Every day seemed so EASY!

But even after years of sobriety, I sometimes don't want to deal with things in the right way.  I want to side-step and circumvent.  I want to avoid.  I want to procrastinate.

Recovery is the work of a lifetime.  And that's the good news!

The grace of God is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Golden Morning

I love the way I walk around my house in the morning light, my windows are golden from the outrageous flaming trees outside.  The leaves will likely be gone by tomorrow morning.  It's 59º now, which is also the predicted high temperature for today.  It will get cooler as the day goes on.  The rain is supposed to start this afternoon and turn to snow by evening.   And some say we should get 6 to 13 inches of snow!  Woooo Hoooooo!

I love the changing seasons, all of them.

Has anyone ever gone to facebook and been so inspired by all the lovely messages there that their day is changed?  I have so many friends who post little inspirational things all day long, some with pictures of a blonde, blue-eyed Jesus.  And this nice Jesus is saying all kinds of sweet things that could never be reconciled with what we know he actually said.  

When I was fairly new in sobriety, "affirmations" were all the rage.  I think Stuart Smalley did them the very best.  The looking in the mirror and saying "I love you."  Etc.

I couldn't bear it then, I can't bear it now.  If I want to have self-esteem, I need to be esteemable.  I can do that with action, not make-believe.

There are several women who are my "friends" on facebook who are not sober, they are struggling and resisting anything that makes sense, like going to meetings, getting a sponsor, working the steps.  But they sure do all the sweet little inspirational messages all day long.  I want to comment "How's that working out for you?"  But I don't.  Every now and then I have restraint of keyboard.  Every now and then.

I am now going to be late for work because I have been screwing around with this post.

I think it would be safe to say that although I am enjoying the golden windows, I am a bit cranky today.  I will ask God to help me with that.  I know he will.

And I will give it my best shot to stay sober today and I hope you will too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dad's an Alcoholic

And mom bakes apple pies.

I spent too much time with my kids this weekend.  I am exhausted and glad to be going back to work.  I wish I could stay home and lay about in bed, but that would not be very good for me.

Did I ever tell you guys that my ex-husband is an alcoholic?  Oh, I guess I have been so busy keeping my own side of the street clean, I failed to mention a fact that is so corrosive and evil in my family.  Besides, we are not supposed to proclaim anyone as an alcoholic.  But I can tell you that I drank side by side with him for over 10 years and we drank the same way.  He got sober right after I did, and he called himself an alcoholic for about 90 days while he came to meetings.  Then he left meetings and stayed sober for another 3 years.  And for the last 24 years, he has been drinking.  And he looks like it too.

I am sick to death of what his alcoholism has done to my kids.

And that's the truth.

I only threw in the "mom bakes apple pies" because that's what I had a photo of this morning.  Yesterday I baked an apple pie and cooked all day.  We had a dinner and it tasted good.  I was so happy to have all my children and grandchildren in one room I took lots of photos.  My sober daughter is frowning in all of them.  If I were her, I would have been crying.  But she is much stronger than I am.

I learned something in Alanon that has served me well over the years.  I can't find it in the literature right now because I haven't kept up with Alanon and don't remember where it is.  I think it was in ODAT in Alanon.  A woman's husband had just died and she was beside herself, as you can imagine.  She called her sponsor (I think) and her sponsor asked her what she would be doing if this were an ordinary day.  She said she would be washing dishes.  So, her sponsor told her to wash the dishes.

Today I will wash the dishes, metaphorically speaking.

I will go to work and give it my very best.  I have already done my morning prayer and meditation and I know that God is with me today and every day.  I will put a smile on my face and try my best to mean it.  I will stay sober and give life my very best shot.  By noon, I am sure I will feel fine.  But I have found it is better to let my actions direct my feelings rather than wait to "feel" like taking action.
"To suppose that our emotions in any way give us reliable evidence of the nature or quality of our life with God is to misinterpret them."  -- Answering God, Eugene H. Peterson, p. 87.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Yesterday was my youngest granddaughter's first birthday party.  It was very nice.  But as I sat there, I realized the her grandfather, my ex-husband, wasn't there and wasn't going to be there.  Because I was there.  He didn't even come to our son's wedding for the same reason.

My sponsor says "that's his problem."  Well, technically, it is.  But it becomes my son's problem.  How hurtful is it to have your father never show up because your mother does?  Maybe I should back off and allow him the space to show up in his son's life.  Oh, I know you will all disagree with this, but I care about my son and my granddaughter and I hate that I am the kernel of a problem for them.  I am not THE problem, I know that, but I am at the center of it.  I think maybe I can do something different.  I am not sure.  I am very sad about this.  I went to church last night and cried through the entire Mass.

Today the tiny girl is coming over while her parents go fishing.  I am cooking madly for when they return and we have dinner.  That will be my salvation today.  The cooking.

This morning I went to a meeting and watched a man text the hour away.  He didn't even have the decency to go to the back of the room.  When I shared, I stated that it was very distracting.  He didn't even look up from his phone.  The topic was resentment, and he shared that he has no resentments, but he has some "justifiable anger."  Wow.  And this guy's been in AA for a while.  Is this our message?  Really?  I see blogs that carry on the same way.  They have restraining orders, and spew hatred, but when confronted will tell you that they are justified in their particular case.  And that I am being judgmental.

I would like to stay sober, and the big book is pretty specific about "resentment is the number one offender."  We cannot afford it.

When I was drinking I was full of resentment, anger, and hatred.  When I got sober you all told me I had to let go of that.  And that there is a whole program to help me do that.

And then you said:  The woman I WAS drank every day.  The woman I WAS will drink again.  If I want to stay sober, I cannot continue to be the woman I WAS, I had to become someone new.

Thank God there were still people sitting in AA meetings who talked that way back then.   I will still talk that way, and I guess if anyone cares to put their phone away and listen for a minute, they will hear a message.

I guess I will put this dude on my list of people to pray for for a while.

Thank God for his mercy.

Friday, October 21, 2011


This morning I had an early meeting at work.  We all sat in the conference room and were about to begin. The medical director was called out of the meeting.  He came back in and announced that one of our beloved doctors had died last night.  And then we sat in silence for a good two minutes, sniffing and stifled sobs the only sounds punctuating the quiet.  Someone got up and brought in two boxes of kleenex.  We all reached for one or two and dabbed our eyes and noses.  

Then our medical director (written of earlier this week as "my favorite psychiatrist") said, "I know this is hard, but we really have to go on with our meeting."  And we did.  It was indeed hard.  

I loved this doctor.  I wrote about him in July when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He was 72 years old, which probably sounds old enough to die if you are young.  But he was still working every day, and working a very challenging job.  He was the best psychiatrist I ever knew.  My background is medical records (I am a credentialed health information administrator), and I fell in love with him before I even met him.  His records were impeccable.  His documentation always far beyond complete.  His meticulous caring was evident on every page.  His handwriting was legible!   And he was handsome - in a Cary Grant (photo above) kind of way.   

He loved me as the medical record director and he never quite forgave me for being promoted 10 years ago.  

In July, he got added to my list of people I pray for every day.  This morning I prayed for him and started crying.  I just felt that he was gone.  

But when I got to work and saw everyone acting normally I was sure I had to be wrong.  We just didn't know yet.  It was a mournful place for the rest of the day once we knew.  

I know this has nothing to do with my blog.  

Except that I am a sober woman and I have been able to love people I work with.  I know some alcoholics have a stable work history while drinking, but that certainly wasn't my story.  The fact that I have worked somewhere for 17 years and have loved people I interact with every day is nothing short of miraculous.

And sometimes that hurts.

Like today.  

God bless you Dr. L___.  You will be sorely missed.  

Friday, Halleluiah.

I have only worked two days so far this week, but I am beat!  I have a ton of work to get done today, and then I will have a weekend.  The weekend is so full it is kind of scary.  No time for naps!  But I have a date with the fella tonight and I am happy about that, and I will get to see the little baby on Saturday and Sunday and I am happy about that.

I have an anniversary coming up and I can't believe I don't know the date.  I quit smoking sometime in November or December of 1991.  It is hard to believe that I didn't make more of a mental note of the date.  It was a momentous change in my life.  It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  I was a heavy smoker - for a long time - and I even loved it.  I was ready to quit drinking, but I was not even ready to quit smoking.  I didn't even want to!  I did it to support a friend (who didn't quit).  Now twenty years later, it still astounds me that I have never had a cigarette in all that time.

But after those first days of withdrawal, I have always "thought it through" like I learned to do with the thought of a drink.  Sure, I would like that first puff, but I would not enjoy standing outside in the rain and snow, always bitching about it.  I would not enjoy the cigarette I needed in the middle of the night.  I would not enjoy the shortness of breath.  I would not enjoy that raspiness in my voice and the cough that was always present.  I would not enjoy the ever increasingly severe cases of bronchitis that I was getting.  And then there are all the things I do enjoy that would be over if I were to smoke again, like marathons and triathlons, etc.

On the day my daughters were born, I spent a moment with each of them alone and promised them I would not leave them.  It turns out I didn't exactly keep that promise, but I did try.  My mother died when I was 19 and living without a mother is a desolate thing.  I did not want to do that to my daughters.  I am positive this promise has been involved in many of the paths I have chosen.   I knew I would not live long, or even want to, if I continued to drink.  I knew I was ruining my health smoking 2 packs a day.  I knew that weighing over 200 lbs. was not going to help my longevity.  Today, all of those things are in my past, and I say Thanks Be To God.

I do wish I remembered the date I quit smoking though.  I know the year before I quit on November 11.  I know I started smoking again in late May and thought I would never quit again.  I know it was before my 40th birthday that I quit.  But I don't remember whether it was November or December.  Maybe it was even October.  I don't know.  But I know that I have been a non-smoker since 1991 and I am very grateful for that.

I am also grateful that I had cigarettes to lean on in my early years of sobriety.  I don't think I could have gotten sober if I thought I had to go "all pure" at once.  But I sure am happy to be now.  The grace of God is a wonderous thing.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Appreciated Loudly

I've been reading blogs for well over an hour now.  When I started blogging again in June I promised myself I wouldn't get into the habit of doing this.  But sometimes those links are like rabbit holes, they are endless.

I am still incredibly tired.  I talked with my coach yesterday and she said to expect this for a week.  Last year by the Thursday after the marathon, I was dreadfully depressed.  I will take tired over depressed any day of the week.

Last night I went out into my front yard with a rake and a black plastic bag.  I had intended to rake up the leaves that had entirely covered my lawn.  After a few minutes, my neighbor who has been caring for my lawn for the last 2 years (since I have been training for marathons), came by.  She asked me if I needed help.  I told her "you do so much for me, I really appreciate your help.  And yes, if you would help me tonight, I would really appreciate it."  We had all the leaves up and in bags within a half an hour.  It would have taken me at least twice that long alone.

When I started getting homesick while in Maine, I thought about my front yard.  I thought of standing in the sunshine, and I thought about my neighbor.   I told her that last night. I think I embarrassed her.  Some people don't really want to be appreciated loudly.  They are happy to help.  I wish I could be more like that.

The fella will be back in town tonight.  We have talked on the phone or texted all but one or two days since I have been gone.  We haven't seen each other for nearly two weeks.  I would really like to see him this weekend, but already have almost every second planned with family events.   He has been gone almost all the time since some time in August.  It is pretty difficult to have a relationship this way. He says he will be home now until December.  It will be interesting to see what happens now.  Unfortunately, with my history, I sense rejection where there is none, and then act accordingly.  I am pretty sure I have done this with him.  But I do really like him and I know he really likes me.  I will continue to pray for God's will in this.  I know where my will takes me, and I do not want to go there again.  But I appreciate this man's kindness and how much we both enjoy the time we spend together.

You know, I normally say I am grateful.  It is a good habit to be grateful.

But today I feel that I am appreciating the things in my life - sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly.  One of my favorite psychiatrists asked me to lunch yesterday.  We ate indian food and laughed and enjoyed each other's company.  I appreciate that I have friendships like this at work, but I am sure I would embarrass him too if I appreciated him loudly.  I was happy to see my boss yesterday, happy to see my colleagues, happy to sit at my desk in my pretty little office.  I appreciate it all,
And it won't embarrass any of you if I say it loudly:

I am grateful for the grace of God and I appreciate all He has put in my life, and all He has taken away.  And I appreciate you bloggers with all your love and joy and heartbreak - and the fact that you write about it.  Thank you.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back to Life... Back to Reality

I'm back home and going back to work this morning, but I still have photos from the trip I will be posting this week.  The above was during the race.  I saw these happy people with the signs for their "Mary."  I told them I was going to pretend they were cheering for me and take their picture.  They were lovely, as you can see.

Last night I saw my son for the first time in seven months!  It was so heart warming to see his little nuclear family all together on my sofa.  Daddy, Momma, Baby, and doggy.  Nana taking pictures. And an Auntie coming by.  I couldn't even cook I am still so depleted from the race, so we ordered his favorite pizza.  I will cook on Sunday.  He requested an apple pie... the rest is up to me.  How wonderful.

I got to go to my regular morning meeting yesterday.  There was a new guy there who hadn't raised his hand.  I think we all knew anyway.  It was a 12 and 12 study and we read the first step, which I thought was fortuitous.  At the end of the meeting he introduced himself.  He is a soldier who was injured in Iraq and it went downhill from there.  Bless his heart.  You can imagine he will remain close to mine.

Can I just tell you how very grateful I am to be back home?  My pretty little house.  My family.  My meetings.  My friends.  Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I spent my first 24 years in the midwest. I feel that I am a native of the arid, sunshiny west.  Maybe it is because I got sober here... this is my real birthplace.

I remember realizing that at 5 years of sobriety.  A boy and I left an AA dance and drove up a mountain where we could look out on the city of Denver below.  I cried when I realized that Denver was truly my home.  I had never felt that way about any place before.  But I moved here and got sober 17 days later.  I learned the streets by going to AA meetings.  I knew more people in Denver than I ever had in any other place I had lived - because of AA meetings.  And despite many difficulties and hardships, my life here has been better than any other place - because I have been sober here.

God has been so very good to me.

Hey, let's stay sober again today, OK?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We got home last night.  I couldn't sleep on Sunday night - because my body hurt too bad.  At 4 a.m., we hit the road and drove for 6 hours to get to Boston.  And then a flight to Milwaukee, where we sat for five hours.  And then the flight to Denver.  And then the drive home.

Denver looked like heaven when we got here - as it always does to me.  The wide open spaces, the light, the air.  My house feels like a paradise.  My own humble little corner of the world.  I am so happy to be here.

We had a great trip.  There will be so many cherished memories from it.

But for now, my biggest souvenir is pain and exhaustion.  Thank God I took today off.  I am heading out to a meeting now, then I can come home and do laundry and get myself put back together at home.  And later a long nap.  And somehow today I must see my son, who is at home with his wife and daughter.  YAY!

Grateful, grateful, grateful for so many blessings...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Second Marathon Done.

I finished this race today.   The Mount Desert Island Marathon is one serious race.  Hills for the entire thing.  If those hills had been at altitude I could have never completed the race.  As it was, it was extremely difficult.  My time was abysmal, but I am not worrying about that.  This race kicked a lot of people's butts in the last ten miles or so.  In the last 2 miles, I passed a lot of people who had been faster earlier.  It was hard.  My daughter finished too.  She is a now a marathoner.

I am tired, but extremely happy.

Today as I was out there, at one point I was discouraged enough to quit (but when my daughter told me how excited she was, I knew I could not quit), I took my phone out of my pocket and saw all the comments you guys had left me.  I did not read them (until later), but knowing they were there made me feel like I had you all with me.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.


Race Day

Today is race day.  One of my friends from the running group encouraged me greatly yesterday when she reminded me of the hills we have navigated back home in Colorado.  And the song we made up "The hills are alive, with the sound of moaning."  (to the tune of Sound of Music)

I will just get out there and do the best I can.  There is nothing more that I can do.

I have prayed that God show me how to be an asset to him on the race course today.  You never know what that is going to look like.  But I am ready and willing.

If you would, could you say a little prayer for me today?

Thank you.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I have just seen the sun for the first time in 5 days!  I don't think I would thrive in a place where sunshine is a rare sight.  I love it far too much.  I just stood outside taking photos, it is such a lovely thing to see the sun, especially as I am surely one of the first people in the US to see this day's dawning.

We got our race packets yesterday.  I am excited and terrified about the race tomorrow.  We drove part of the course, it is very very difficult.  The worst part?  The hill that starts at mile 20 and goes uphill for about 3 miles.  Oh my.  At 20 miles, a step up a curb can feel insurmountable.  I am going into this race trying to wrap my mind around what a DNF would feel like.  I have finished last - more than once, I got somewhat used to that.  But I have never not finished a race.  But tomorrow, I will take a DNF if I have to.  I will program the phone numbers to call a cab, and I tell you, I will use them if I need to.

Our whale cruise was canceled yesterday because of weather.  We took a tour on a lobster boat instead.   My poor daughter spent the entire two hours trying not to vomit.  I enjoyed it, but it was a rough journey.

It has only taken me five days to long to get back to my life.  The sunshine.  My house. My meetings.  Even my office.  I needed to get away from my routine to appreciate these things.

But today, I am sitting in a beautiful hotel room, looking out the window as the sun rises on the sea, and I will enjoy this day to its fullest.  God gave it to me, and I will appreciate it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

On the Sea

That's the view from my seat as I write this.  For all the times I have booked rooms on the internet and gotten there and been sorely disappointed, this is the exception.  The room is 10X better than it looked online.  And to have that little balcony - big enough for four chairs and two tables - and the ocean!  Right there!  I hate to be picky, but I would be delighted if it would stop with the buckets of torrential rain though.  The downtown merchants have "Welcome Mount Desert Island Marathoners!"  on the front doors - and it sounds corny, but it really does make me feel welcome.


When we went to pick up our car yesterday we had another lovely surprise.  We had reserved an "economy" car.  But got upgraded to very cool Volvo C30.  It is FUN!

So, being in this place, I really truly feel like I am on vacation.  My body and mind seem to slow down a bit - in a nice way.  To hear and see the ocean during my morning prayer and meditation was heavenly.

I am so grateful to have gone to bed sober last night and I woke up looking forward to another day.  By the Grace of God.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heading North

We had a lovely day yesterday... all day long on the freedom Trail.  This nation has a very inspirational history, I think we forget about that.  It was a lovely day to spend with my daughter.

Today we are heading north to Maine.  There is torrential rain out there, this should be interesting.  I think we are going to take a cab instead of public transportation to get our rental car.  I wasn't really fond of heading underground for a train yesterday, but we did it to see how it works.  But I don't want to walk around in this rain today.  A cab will be worth the (exorbitant) cost.

My internet connection is very s-l-o-w, my daughter is waiting, I don't have my make-up on yet... I best be on my way.

By the grace of God, I believe I will stay sober today, and I hope you all do too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Boston

This is the stone outside of our hotel.  It seems our hotel used to be the YWCA.  It's got many cute features, including closet sized rooms.   The location is worth the price though.  Very nice.

My daughter just called and she is showered and ready to go.   I am laying in bed with my computer and a cup of coffee.  What a role reversal!  Of a lifetime!  I am always up hours ahead of everyone else.  However, this morning, my daughter is waiting for me so we can hit the Freedom Trail.  So, I better move it.

It is very nice to be somewhere so out of my ordinary.  I needed a vacation.  And I am having one!  A really nice one!

It is fun to be on the east coast.  I spent so much time here as a young woman.  It is nice to have my daughter with me.

We're hitting the Freedom Trail.  Any alcoholic who is sober understands the Freedom Trail in a very intimate way.  Trudging the road that takes us to Freedom.

Thank you God.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So many things...

The little baby had her first birthday yesterday!  My son will be home on leave later this week (yes, while I am 2,268 miles away!) so the birthday party will be later in the month - when we are all here.  But we had a little cake for her yesterday because we couldn't just ignore her birthday!  I swore I would never post a picture of her here, but today's an exception, ok?

My friend who turned off my sprinkler yesterday wouldn't take any money, but he did agree that a pecan pie for Thanksgiving would be nice.  What a labor of love that shall be!

The alcoholic daughter - who is not going on the trip with me - insisted that we get together yesterday.  I was getting a bit frantic and wondered how I could squeeze one more thing in, but I am glad I did.  We met at Dairy Queen and ate about 4,000 calories of junk and had a great time.  Who knew a Peanut Buster Bar had 460 calories in it?????  I am so blessed to have a daughter who doesn't want her mother to go out of town for a week without first having a little face to face time.

I need to repack my suitcase this morning and get the heck out of here.  I am SO not good at this.  I have gone on weekend trips with a huge suitcase that I couldn't even lift (Daave might remember this), and then I have gone on long trips with no appropriate clothing.  Adding a race into the equation really adds a lot of stuff.  I was taking my little bag, but I think I am going to have to haul out the big honkin' suitcase and pack it up.  With running shoes and racing gear.  With rain gear.  With nice clothes for dinner in Boston.  With warm clothes for a whale cruise in Maine.  Holy Cow!

Will have lunch at the airport in Kansas City, Missouri.  How exciting.

By the grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, we get to do the most amazing things.  All of the things written above, I have no doubt would not be occurring if I were not sober.  Well, the baby's birthday would happen, I just wouldn't be there.  And the rest would not be happening at all.

I'm grateful.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning

We are leaving tomorrow for the east coast.  Today I am frantically trying to get ready.  Trying to pack all I can into a small suitcase and one back pack.  Packing for every weather possibility for marathon morning.  Packing for two days in the city and four days in the well, whatever it is in Maine.  Not very city, I would think. My running shoes and foam roller take about 3/4 of my suit case... oh, but I am a very crafty girl and will squeeze it all in.

On Saturday I realized I had a dilemma I had failed to plan for.  Our weather has turned cold, and I need to have my sprinkler system blown out and shut down for the season.  The man (in AA) who normally does this shows up when he feels like it and not a moment sooner.  I sent him a text on Saturday, and he never answered.  I looked back through my texts and saw that I asked him to turn on the sprinkler system on May 5, and on May 24, he sent me a text saying "u ready?"  To which I replied, "for what?"  And then I told him I turned it on myself and I was sorry for cheating on him - with myself.  He said "that's ok, at least it was someone you love."

But at this point, I don't have 19 days.  I asked one of my friends if he knew someone and he said he would be happy to come over this morning and do it himself.  He is a big fancy contractor, so this is an uber favor.  I expressed my gratitude and he said something that really touched me:  "I always remember the people who were nice to me when I was new."  And he does.  It has always been easy to be nice to him though.  I have loved him from the moment I met him, and I love his wife too.  What a drunk!  And now he is sober for 15 or 16 years.

And he is on his way, so I better sign off.

I have decided to take my computer with me on the trip, so you haven't heard the last from me for a while as you might be imagining....

Have a great sober day.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Sunday Morning

It snowed yesterday - I was out in the 35º snowing morning to get in a few miles with my coach.  I was soaked to the skin and freezing by the time I was done with 5 miles and decided I was done.

My friend with cancer (well, actually I have several of them right now) had a "thank you party" last night for all of the people who have been bringing meals to her house for the last three months.  It was beautiful to see so many people there.  People who are happy to see she is feeling better and no longer needs our meals.  People who are the type of people who will volunteer for a little job like that.   My friend has gained weight and looks good.  I could see she has a bit of hair under her bandana, and that is good.  It was a "mixed" party, there were people with glasses of wine and beer, and then there was "us," we took over the family room, it was nice to be there.

My older granddaughters came and spent the night last night.  It was lovely to feed them dinner and then watch a movie.  They are such dear little people who have suffered so much in their little lives.  Alcoholism of parents is a terrible thing to have to deal with when you are tiny and don't understand.  They will have the rest of their lives to come to grip with what they have been through.  Thank God their mother is now sober - but still does not have custody.

I am going to drop them off after breakfast this morning and then come home and get ready to see my fella for the first time in a couple of weeks - he has been out of town.

I keep reminding myself "I am on vacation," but it has not sunk in yet.  Maybe it won't until I get on the plane on Tuesday morning.

I am happy and I know it - I think I will clap my hands!  I hope you do too!

Saturday, October 08, 2011


At work this week I needed to rapidly schedule a meeting.  Amazing how one little meeting can get you in so much hot water!  Yesterday afternoon, the director of the hospital was standing in my office, so angry he was beyond words.  He put both of his hands into fists, pushed them down, and expelled air through his clenched teeth.  All I could say was "yes, I did that, with the help of Dr. _____, I am sorry."   The day before, someone else was in my office crying about it.  Yes, literally crying.  Jeez, Louise.

After the meeting, Dr. ______, my boss, and someone else had a meeting to discuss WTF occurred.  Two of us worrying if we will keep our jobs.

I tend to be a careful person.  One of my first bosses told me I had to get over my fear of making mistakes.  He said I could never make a mistake if I never did anything, but I would never do anything.   And if I did things, I would make mistakes.

If you have grown up in a home where a mistake (perceived or real) will get you knocked around, it is hard to learn that perfectly good people make mistakes and the world does not end.  I feel like I have spent a large part of my life learning that.

But in this "zero tolerance" world, mistakes are absolutely not tolerated.  There is no room for ambiguity, extenuating circumstances, or understanding.

I am on vacation now for a week and a half.  By the time I get back, this will be blown over... or not.  Whatever.

I have lived through worse, and it will be OK.

At least I didn't cry about it.

God has seen me through many things that were so terrifying it makes me pale to even remember.  This is nothing in comparison!

I think I will stay sober today, and I hope you do too.  (I am going out with my running group this morning in the 40º rain, eeeek!  wish me luck.)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Five Minutes

That witch is hanging on my office door.  I think she is adorable, and I seem to cackle as I pass by.  And I pass by a lot.

I have five minutes to write this.  I need to get ready for work and get out of here by 6 a.m. so that I can go to the meeting and then go to work.  A woman who is sober just over a year is speaking this morning and I want to hear her tell her story.

She sent me a text on Tuesday that said:
"The recruiter from (large prestigious firm) left me a vm.  I was sure she was going to tell me they made a mistake, I'm not hired.  Instead she wanted to confirm my paperwork was done and I start on Monday.  One year ago today I was shackled and taken to (end of the road hospital for alcoholism).  Work the program.  Amazing things can happen.  Thank you for your friendship."

I am in such a habit of praying for her, she is still in my prayers every day.  Right after my family.  And along side other people who just can't seem to stay sober.  She spent years coming to meetings and drinking.  She came to meetings drunk.  I didn't understand then, I still don't.  But she is sober today and she barely resembles the woman she was a year ago.

"The age of miracles is still with us.  Our own recovery proves that!"  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 153

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Blue Sky

Yesterday afternoon I decided to leave my office for a minute and take a tiny walk.  When I got outside, it was breathtakingly beautiful - a fall day.  Air so crisp with sunshine that it could make even this pasty office dweller feel 100% alive.  The photo is from my tiny walk.  I am so fortunate to work on a campus that is very pretty (in a run-down sort of way).

The eulogies are rolling in for Steve Jobs.  I have tremendous respect for him.  I have a couple of his innovations sitting right here - one on which I am typing at this moment!  I can't help but wonder what other innovations were still inside him, and now we will never know.  I love that he left college after one semester, and I love that he went back to take a class on calligraphy - to bring that esthetic to the computer!  Back then, computers only used block letters.  They were only utilitarian.  He brought art to function.  I said the other day, I am one of those people - who await the latest product from Apple.  I will pray for him, his family, and all of the people who will miss him.

Two more work days until vacation.  And suddenly I am getting things done that have been on my "to do" list for months.  It is ridiculous that I can't seem to do anything while there is still plenty of time.  I have a need to wait for the last minute.  On Tuesday, I was asked to write something for someone only one box removed from the Governor on the state org chart, I wrote it on Tuesday, proofread it on Wednesday morning... but still haven't sent it.  It isn't due until close of business today.  Would it kill me to send it before then?  Maybe.

I have a marathon in 10 days.   I have been hobbling around all week - I am still hurting from the miles I put in over the weekend.  I am beginning to be concerned about my ability to recover from training in time for the race.  But I am excited!

OK, I have nothing of any import to say today.  The fella I have been seeing is very cute when he calls and asks what I am doing...  I might say "watching TV and knitting - isn't that exciting?"  or other really exciting things like that.   He always says, "we've had enough excitement for a lifetime, we can enjoy the quiet and peace now."  It is a good reminder.

I don't always have something to say, but I am still here.  It is good.

Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Of vacation... three more work days before I am on vacation.  Boy, have I got a lot of work to get done!  And I am excited about my upcoming vacay.  I love planning trips.  And I really love planning things with my daughter-who-is-not-an-alcoholic.  She likes doing stuff.

Last night I had dinner with a friend who is one day younger than I am.  We are both thinking about our upcoming 60th birthdays.  We talked about it last night - that was the purpose of our getting together.

I had wanted to have a big party for my birthday, like I did for my 50th.  I asked another good friend to help me plan a party.  She is great at that.  She asked me some questions, and I started to balk.  I thought about the fact that I am in such a different place than when I was turning 50.  I told her I would start with a list of people to invite and more importantly discuss with my soon-to-be-60 friend.

I was relieved to see that my friend feels the same way about her 60th.  When she turned 50, she invited 50 of her girlfriends to a party.  She said that has absolutely no appeal to her now.  When I sat down and tried to write a list of people to invite, I had absolutely no enthusiasm about it.  It felt like an exercise.

What I would like most is to have a beautiful dinner, either out or at home, with my family.  I wish my son could be there, but my daughters and daughter-in-law can be.  My three granddaughters can be there.  That is what I want.  I haven't totally shut the door on the party idea, but I am close.

My friend and I talked about the gratitude we have about facing this momentous birthday sober.  For having few regrets - because we have both been sober for a while.  For our health, we are both very active and healthy.  She is married and a lot more financially secure than I am, but we have a lot in common otherwise.

We have friends who are facing life-threatening illnesses, we agreed we would be selfish in the extreme if we were whining about getting older.

Thanks to the Grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have walked through almost half of my life sober and with faith that I would be OK.  Some of it has been scary, some of it has been delightful.  But all of it has been a life fully lived - sober - in the open, in the sunshine.

What could be better than that?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Things are happenin' now

I am actually very excited about the Apple announcement that will be made today.  I hope to be getting a new phone soon - from the Verizon store.  I will gladly pay AT&T to get out of my contract with them.  I would love to have one telephone conversation that doesn't include "hello? hello?  are you still there?  oh damn!!!"  And yes, I have become one of those people - who await the latest word from the folks at Apple.  I love their products and I really love that when you need help with one of their products, there is a store down the street full of intelligent young people in T-shirts who speak English who can and will help you.

My daughter and I booked our Whale Cruise yesterday!  How exciting is that?!

Yesterday afternoon at work, I sat in a committee meeting with a bunch of folks trying to hammer out a new policy to address "social media."  It was clear that some people "get it" and some people have no clue.   It is hard to believe that we have to write a policy to tell people not to post patient information on the internet.  But apparently people don't understand that Facebook is the internet.   Someone else mentioned "blogger" as if it were Satan.  Oh dear.  It would be hard to believe that no one from work has ever found my blog and thought "is that Mary?"  But I have never been confronted with the evidence of that... thankfully.  I try to be exceedingly careful about what I say about my workplace.  And no, there would never ever be patient information here.  I cannot imagine....

Well, I better step away from the computer and get on the treadmill.  Four miles this morning... I really would rather not.  But I will.

By the grace of God, I went to bed sober last night and woke up sober and well this morning.  I am fairly confident I will get through today sober, and I pray you will too!

Monday, October 03, 2011


This blog is over six years old.  I have never gone back and erased old posts.  I have edited a few of them, editing out information that could have been used to identify me or my family.  I have edited out a few things that were a bit too specific about my family.  Funny, I have left all my guts hanging all over the place for all eternity here.  

I get comments on some of my more heavily hit posts from years past.  Most are from people who do not like AA.  I used to post them, but I have decided there is enough negative stuff on the internet about AA, it doesn't need to be on my blog, so I delete.  

Recently I got a comment from someone who had many negative things to say, but it seemed his bottom line complaint about AA was that it taught you nothing about how to handle cravings.  I have mulled that over for weeks now.  And then someone at work talked to me about a medication her daughter has been prescribed and is taking for her alcohol cravings.  (The same medication I was taking for migraine prevention, which made me so ill... and is not FDA approved for alcohol cravings.)

Early on in sobriety, I decided that I was never going to be an expert about alcoholism, I wasn't going to learn about brain chemistry and other things that people like to talk about.  That is fine for them, but it is not germane to my recovery.  

But this talk about cravings has really taken me back to very basic facts about alcoholism...

There is a physical aspect of alcoholism, of course.  Some of us (like me) drink to the point that we become alcohol addicts.  Some of us don't.  Alcoholism has nothing to do with the amount that we drink, but its effect on us.  Obviously, if you have had enough alcohol in your system to be addicted to it, there will be a physical withdrawal.   There are 600,000 experts out there willing to take your money to get you over this physical withdrawal, I won't get into that.  I know that I sweated it out at home, and I am grateful for that.  (And for all I may write here, this is what people will see and comment on - "oh you don't understand!"  but I think I do understand... but shouldn't argue this point, as it is pointless.  I am sharing my experience here - and you can't argue with that.)

But once you get over that physical withdrawal, what you have left to deal with is your mind.  The strange mental twist that tells you it will be OK to have a drink this time, that this time it will be different.  That is not a craving.  That is alcoholic insanity.  As far as I know, there is no medication to treat this.  

But there is an entire program called Alcoholics Anonymous that will virtually eliminate this strange thinking that will lead us back to a drink which may lead us to our very death.   That is why we don't teach you how to handle your cravings... they are gone after a few days.  Replaced either by a way of life that is conducive to sobriety, or by alcoholic insanity that leads you back to a drink.  Take your pick.  

"The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink.  Except in a few rare cases, neither he or any other human being can provide such a defense.  His defense must come from a Higher Power. "  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 43

Sunday, October 02, 2011


You know what?  I am ready to stop all this training!  It is Sunday and I would dearly love to have a family dinner or do something family-y... but my body hurts so bad, I will just hang out at home and do as little as possible.  I will watch some football and work on the baby's quilt.

I would have dearly loved to have gone to the 6:30 meeting this morning, but I couldn't get my body to move fast enough to get me out of here.  Later on, I went to church, where all that sitting, standing, and kneeling was accompanied by moaning for me.

I have a marathon two weeks from today.  Then I am done.  My training is essentially done now.  I am tapering for the next two weeks.  I know I have said it all before... but this time I mean it!!!

Grateful to God for another beautiful sober day.
Grateful to God for good health despite advanced years.
Grateful to God for a family I love and don't put conditions on.
Grateful to God for a sofa and football games - that's the best way to sleep on a Sunday afternoon in the autumn.
Grateful to God for my phone which works sometimes - and carries the voices of my sponsor, sponsees,  friends, and family I love.
Grateful to God that my training is done.

Have a lovely sober day everyone.  And if you are wondering how you will stay sober, my first suggestion is to not put a drink to your lips.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Last Long Training Miles

I'm off to do a 16 miler this morning.  This is my last early morning, long mileage Saturday before my marathon.  The 8 miles I did yesterday hurt, so this should be interesting.

By the grace of God, I am sober and able to even contemplate doing such things!