Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living in this world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I had a dream


Last night I had a dream that is lingering in my consciousness.  I wondered why I would dream such a thing.  But as I read blogs this morning, I think I have an idea.

I dreamed my boyfriend and I were on our way to Maine - driving.  For some reason (I think because I needed to use the bathroom), we stopped at my sister's house in eastern Long Island.  Imagine making at pit stop in eastern New York on your way from Colorado to Maine!  Oh, the dreams we have!

Anyway, the doors were unlocked and I went in and used the toilet.  When I was done, I saw there were many people in the house.  My sister showed up and was furious with me for breaking into her house and having a party there.  Well, I had only come with my uber respectable boyfriend... but there were suddenly all these people - including Newt Gingrich reclining on a couch.  And suddenly my boyfriend wasn't an uber respectable business man, but a 40 something pony-tail wearing man in dirty jeans - the pony tail had hair ties all the way down his back in two inch increments.  I was so ashamed, and trying with all my might to herd all these people out of my sister's house.  I apologized, but it didn't matter.

No matter how long I stay sober, I will always identify with the person whose attempt to live like they they think they see other people live somehow backfires and wreaks havoc.  Somehow they have caused heartache to all those who love them.  That was never my intention.  I never knew an alcoholic or addict who intended to hurt those who loved them.  Our intentions were good, but washed away without a memory as soon as we did what we HAD to do.  "Then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen:  Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair."  (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 151)

This morning I get to remind myself that by the Grace of God, I have not been hurtful and wreaking havoc in the lives of those I love.  It has been a long time since I have.  But I still have that person inside of me - just waiting for the opportune moment to return.  I have to maintain vigilance so she will not emerge.

And like a drunk dream, this dream was a good reminder of where I do not want to go.  (and I don't mean Long Island  - I mean the land where everyone is mad at me and I am baffled as to why.)  And for that, and a million other reasons, I am grateful.

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Inside Job

From my bike ride yesterday - and no, this is not "sepia," this is the color of winter in Colorado - until it snows.
No one ever said or did anything to me that made me want to get sober.  No one ever said or did anything to me that made me want to live well.

I got sober when I was done drinking - and I believe I was "done" by the Grace of God.  When I was done, I was done.  I did not require much assistance from anyone - except the normal help of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.  My sponsor helped me to get through the twelve steps which brought about a spiritual awakening which I believe kept me sober.  My friends invited me to coffee and dinner and into their homes and hearts.  That was a huge help.

When my daughter began her spiral into alcoholism and addiction my heart broke.  She was the dearest child - the one with the golden hair and the crazy wild way of behaving that was so attractive to everyone but her teachers.  My other two children are people I love and am proud of.  They are accomplished adults.  But this difficult one?  She has a special place in my heart - I have spoken to many other mothers of alcoholics and addicts - and we all feel this way.  We're slightly ashamed of it, but it is the truth.

I went to al-anon and was helped greatly.  But being an alcoholic, I felt that I really had to be in AA meetings or risk losing my sobriety.  I realized that all I could do was focus on living well.   That would be the ONLY way I could carry any kind of message to my daughter.  Intervening with her would not help, I knew this from my own experience.

When she was a minor, there were things we had to do - like reporting her as a runaway when she ran away.  We did this so many times that her father and I had a schedule - we took turns reporting her.  We eventually went to court and relinquished custody of her to the state.  That was one of the most difficult days of my life.  It was the only way she could be contained.  She was locked up between the ages of 16 and 18.  She graduated from high school and they let her go.  She came back to my house.  And went right back to her old ways.

Fast forward to 29 years of age:  She had lost custody of her two daughters.  She had lost her home (she had a period of high function, where she only drank and did not use drugs and she bought a house and gained a hundred pounds), she had lost many jobs in a row, she had even lost her apartment, she was essentially homeless.   She experienced a heroin overdose.  She was with "friends" who literally threw her out of their house so she wouldn't die in it - and get them in trouble.  She was in an alley dying.  Somehow she got someone to come and get her and she convalesced at his house.  After a few weeks of staying in the house, no showers, no baths, just laying on the couch... she knew she had to do something.  She found an AA meeting and the bus fare to get there.

She got to the meeting and found a group of people who understood her.  She felt "at home" at last.  She was done with drinking and using drugs.  She has been sober since that day.

Am I secure in her sobriety?  No.  I am not secure about anyone's sobriety, including my own.  I don't take anyone's sobriety for granted.  I have had too many friends and relatives who were sober for a while and then weren't.  I don't think there is anything more heartbreaking than that.  Am I happy about her sobriety?  Oh, yes.  Is it what I thought it would be when I occasionally dreamed that she would get sober?  No.  But it is wonderful.  It is not what I expected, but in many ways, it is much more wonderful.  She is that golden haired wild child girl - only now she is 32 years old.   What a blessing this is.

I am so grateful to God for my sobriety and my daughter's sobriety.  I have some other loved ones who are sober - and I am so very grateful for that.

The familiar refrain when I see someone who looks like they are really going to stay sober?  They say they were done.  Done.  They have absolutely no desire to go back to that way of life.   And that is an inside job.  No one can do that for you.  That is internal to the core of your being.

Last night I got to have dinner with the woman who took me to my first meeting 27 years ago.  She was my best friend for years.   She will never be unseated as the best friend of my heart.  I love her.  But last night, she did not order a beer - probably because I was there.  But she kept sipping her husband's beer.  It was so weird to see her drinking - even though I have known for years that she is drinking.   And when I drove away, I had an intuitive thought that she was probably pouring herself a nice big drink.    Sad.  But she was never convinced she was an alcoholic.  We absolutely have to have a full knowledge of our condition to stay sober.  It takes a lot of experience to get that full knowledge.  No one else can give it to us.

I am so grateful to God for that gift - that being done.  That desire to stay sober.  That willingness to do what was suggested by the big book and my sponsors over the years.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27

From yesterday's trail run.
Yesterday I registered for a Olympic distance triathlon.  I talked one of my friends into registering for it too.  I am very excited about this.  It is challenging, but won't kill me like marathon training.  I only have to train to swim one mile, bike 25 miles, and run a 10K (6.2 miles).  Fun!  I am going to get on my bike this afternoon for only the second time in this calendar year.  I have become so afraid of biking after 2 accidents.  But I will get on and do my best not to let fear control me.

I went to a meeting this morning where I saw many nice people I like a lot.  It is nice when that happens.  But regardless if it happens or not, I need to go to meetings.  Because AA meetings are not really a social event, although it sometimes seems like they are.

Someone came by last night and left one of those "turds on the front lawn" kind of comments.  He told me that my behavior was so bad that "there are plenty of bars that will have you."  And "if you don't like what I have to say, tough.  Go whine about it."  Well, it's my blog and I just delete bullshit like that.  If you don't like it, go talk to your sponsor about it.

I think this is a classic example of the "tough" without the "love."

And furthermore, why would you argue with someone's experience?  It was my experience I was talking about - not my opinion.  My experience.

My experience in AA has not been a straight line - and I will be the first to tell anyone that.  I will also be quick to add that I have been sober since the day I hit the doors - on July 24, 1984.  My point is usually that it is not up to me and my glorious WORK.   It is by the Grace of God that I am sober.  I believe the Grace of God is available to anyone who asks and has faith.   There was some amount of cooperation required on my part and I did that to the best of my ability.  In the beginning, I didn't have much ability, but I still did my best.  Later my ability grew.

Let's try not to be judgmental asshats, OK?

We are all in the same lifeboat, let's try to get along.

Speaking of lifeboats, I am reading a book that I am finding riveting!  It is called "Unbroken," and it is about an incredible man who found himself in a plane wreck in the Pacific in WWII - and then became a Prisoner of War.  If you want to get really grateful really quick, try reading that book.

Have a beautiful sober day today.  Remember we are all doing our best, and sometimes it isn't very good.  But we can learn how to live, one day at a time, sober - by the Grace of God.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A New Tradition

 A look back at my pals - they're gaining on me!!!
My shoes and socks when I was done.

I am meeting my running club up in a little mountain town for a trail run this morning.  I will be walking.  But it is a good workout no matter what speed.  The photos are from last year.  This is only my second year doing this, but already it feels like a tradition I wouldn't want to miss.  I have been looking forward to this for a month!  

It really doesn't take long to make new traditions.  If we are alcoholic, we NEED new traditions if we are to stay sober.  Maybe when we were drinking, it worked to go to drunken Uncle Charlie's (with the booze flowing so freely) for our Thanksgiving or Christmas, but probably it isn't going to work if we want to stay sober.  

I spent many holidays sitting in the AA clubhouse when I was new in sobriety.  It sounds pitiful, but I came to love those holidays much more than I ever loved all the drunken celebrations before I got sober.  You could pretty much trust people there to be the same all day - no major mood changes, no sudden rages, or souring of mood with the attendant sarcasm and cruelty.  No airing of old grievances. (sorry to the fans of Festivus!)  Just people in the same lifeboat, learning to love a new life.  It was good.

I love traditions, but they don't have to be old to be good.  I say it's never too late to get wonderful cherished traditions.

Thanking God today for this sober life.  It's a wonderful life.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  I started my day at a 6:30 AA meeting.  The room was absolutely packed and the topic was gratitude - of course.  Very nice.

At 10:00 my daughter and I went to a movie.  There were maybe 10 people inside the theater, and that was nice.

This morning my sober daughter texted a photo of my old boyfriend with his arm around her.  They were on an annual motorcycle trip to bring cigarettes, gloves, hats, blankets, clothes to the homeless.  My old beau started that tradition many years ago.  My daughter has gone along since she has been sober.  It was so heartwarming to see Ed with his big arm around my daughter.  I texted back my love.

I have had so many phone calls and texts to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving.  And some of them thanking me for my friendship.  It is wonderful to know that I am a part of something larger - whether my family or AA.  The feeling of belonging is so important to a human being.

My son (in Afghanistan) called while I was writing this.  He has been sick and sounds not good.  He didn't get to eat turkey today because the line was too long.  But one of his friends grilled steaks later and he got one of those.  It was hard to control my voice because I was about to burst into tears.  Somehow I got off the phone without doing so.  He doesn't need a weepy mama.

I will go to work for a few hours tomorrow in spite of the fact that I had scheduled it off.  I have too much to do and I can't afford the whole day off.  There will be very few people in my area of the hospital and I think I will be able to get my work done quickly.  Good.

Sobriety has been so very good to me.  In the last day or so I have been made more aware that I am a part of something so beautiful - the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

"There you will find release from care, boredom, and worry.  Your imagination will be fired.  Life will mean something at last.  The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead.  thus we find the fellowship, and so will you."  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 152

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tender Ties

Today I walked into a church and saw a bunch of people standing around.  After a moment, I realized they were looking at the open casket of the man whose funeral it was.  I saw a woman's back - short dark hair, tiny waist, beautiful black suit... and thought that was my friend.  I saw her sister-in-law tap her on the shoulder and say "Look who's here..."  She turned around and saw me and ran toward me.  We hugged and cried and hugged and cried and hugged and cried.  My best friend.  Someone asked her who I was and she said "my best friend."  No matter that we have not laid eyes on each other since 1999.  We are best friends.

It was her brother's funeral.  It was difficult.  It was a sudden death of a super healthy man.  My friend was having difficulty as you might imagine.  She insisted that I sit with her at the funeral - so there I sat, with the family.

We got to talk intermittently for a couple of hours after the funeral.  We sat together at the reception.

Oh, this all sounds so nothing.  I can't seem to put this into words.

I got to see my best friend today after a 12 year absence.

The day I called AA for help, a young man answered the phone.  After a moment he said he would have a woman call me back.  A woman called me back.  She listened to me for an hour.  And then she insisted that I go to a meeting with her.  I have been sober since that day.  And that woman became my best friend.  I was the only person she ever twelve stepped. I am so grateful.

I am so grateful to have had a moment with my friend.  She will be in town for a week, but she has lots of family.  We talked about going to the greek restaurant we used to go to all the time.  I hope we can.  But if all I got was to see her today, I am happy.  I am thrilled.  It is a terrible thing to miss a friend.

Oh, and this funeral was at the church where I came back into the fold back in the early 90s.  The priest who used to be the pastor of the church (he moved away years ago) came to say the funeral mass of his friend.  When I saw the priest, I ran over and hugged him.  He helped me so much when I was struggling.  What a beautiful thing to see him.

This post probably makes no sense.  But I am just over the moon to have seen my friend.  So many people I have ties to.  Tender, beautiful ties of friendship, faith, family - love.

I have two pecan pies in the oven.  The man who shut off my sprinkler system asked for one - but I guess he didn't think I would take him seriously.  How long has he known me?  Anyway, I called today and asked him if his helper was still around so I could make him a pie.  He said it would mean the world to his helper man - who is now sober a couple of months.  He said the guy said "I can't believe that lady would bake me a pie!"  I told my friend that it would be the best thing I do this Thanksgiving.

I am so grateful to God for this sober life.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Day Before

I went to the grocery store this morning instead of working out.  I cannot deal with a grocery store crowded with people who do not know where anything is or how to park a buggy without blocking an aisle.  So, I went this morning and instead dealt with the early morning staff with their stocking boxes in the aisles - that is easier for me.

I am going to work - where it will take everything I have not to point out that one of my co-workers has blown off one of her responsibilities and gone on vacation.  I will sit in the meeting where she is on the agenda to present something and act surprised I guess when we all realize she isn't there and hasn't made provisions for this.  We are developing a very poor relationship, she has said some atrocious things to me in the last week.  This is where I must be very very careful - I know I am right.  God save me from being right.  Prayer, prayer, prayer.  That is my only hope.  Because left to my own devices, I would be doing something very different.

And then leaving at noon for a funeral.  I hope I can keep my emotions from boiling over.  I have identified already that I may react very badly to this loss.  He was a good man, we were friends at one time.  But I haven't talked to him for a long time.  And I could easily let this take me down the "I am old, all the old things are gone, and my best days are over" road.

Prayer, prayer, prayer.  That is my only hope.  Left to my own devices, I would be having a little bit of whisky in my coffee this morning to "fortify" me and make the day more "bearable."  HA!  The things we tell ourselves!

With God's help I will stay sober today, and hope you all do too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22

This is a date that means a lot to people who are my age or older.  I have not heard one reference to it so far on the news today.  The world is run by people younger than I am.  This is history to them.  Not their own personal memory.  I remember so well 48 years ago today, our young, handsome president was murdered.

The pillars and posts of collective memory - now my pillars and posts are shared with only a few.  Not the majority.    I am now of an older generation.  Most of us are retired or are nearing retirement.

I learned over the weekend that one of my friends in early sobriety has died.  A friend called and casually asked "did you know john ___?"  I sat down and said "NO!  Don't tell me he died!"  He said "I'm sorry honey."  So tomorrow I shall go to a funeral.

He was the older brother of my best friend.  The woman I talked to on the first day I was sober.  The one who hard-selled me into going to my first meeting.  She was my sponsor for a few weeks, until I realized we would make better friends than sponsor/sponsee.  We were the best of friends.  I don't know if I have ever had such a close relationship.  We not only got together very very often, but we talked on the phone for at least an hour a day until I was sober 13 or so years, when she moved to England (and then started drinking again).  We called each other "sister,"  my kids call her "aunt."  I was part of their family.  Her older brother was also sober.  We went to meetings together.  We had holiday dinners together.  We were "family."  He was also my family doctor until I joined an HMO that he wasn't a part of.    And now he is deceased.

I have not heard from my former BFF.  (Our relationship went to hell in a hand-basket when she started drinking again.)  I cannot imagine that she won't be here for the funeral.  I will go there tomorrow afternoon and mourn the loss of a good man, and maybe see my best friend.  I have not seen her since 1999 when her mother died.  She stayed with me at that time.

Pillars and posts of my life... some have left and some are leaving.  I better get used to it.

Because, one day at a time, I intend to stay sober - no matter what happens.  By the Grace of God.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The love that went out of fashion

Yesterday a man I know and love talked to me after the meeting.  He wanted to be sure I knew about a conversation he had with one of my sponsees.  He is a good man.  He has seen a lot of chicanery in that group and does everything he can to avoid being involved in any.  He loves his wife and wants to avoid any temptation to destroy that relationship.  She (sponsee) came to him crying.  He and another man talked to her for 15 minutes or so.  They offered comfort.  Soothing words.  Sounds nice, huh?

I told him about a conversation I had when I was new in sobriety... maybe 30 or 60 days sober.  I was having difficulty at home.  I came to the AA club one day crying.  I sat down with my friend Max.  I started crying and telling him what "he" said, what "he" did.  Max shocked me when he said "STOP."  "Stop right now.  When you come to me crying, my solution is for us to take off our clothes and do whatever comes next."  "Go talk to a woman."  I was embarrassed.  But I learned a lesson.  And that lesson was more valuable than his commiseration ever could have been.

I learned not to play games with AA people.  My real intent was to get attention, and maybe even attention from Max.  I could not have told you that at the time, but Max knew.  When he told me to stop, I had to really look at my motivation.  I had to take responsibility for myself.

Maybe six months later, I came running to the club crying again.  I was upset and wanted a drink.  Some man (I really don't remember who this was), asked me what was wrong.  I told him, "I want to drink."  I was thinking he would take me aside and talk to me for hours, sympathetically listening to all of my woes.  Instead he reached into his pocket and handed me a dollar bill.  I asked him, "what is this for?"  And he shocked me when he said "for your first drink."  I was shocked and hurt.  But I stood there and really thought about it.  I learned something absolutely invaluable for a sober person to know.    Did I expect someone else to keep me sober?  Or was I committed to being sober?  Would I stop indulging in attention seeking behavior and take responsibility for myself?  It occurred to me that I better do that if I wanted to stay sober.

This stuff was called "tough love."  And it was the real deal.  It was tough, but it was also love.  I am so appreciative of those lessons, believe me, I have never forgotten them.

There were also people who had the "tough" part down, but skipped the love, and they gave tough love a bad name.   I can tell you that I know no one these days who is willing to tell hard truths to people who are struggling and probably need some hard truths rather than soft shoulders to cry on.

I thank God for the people who were willing to care enough to sacrifice their "image" to actually help me.  It is not that much fun to be the bad guy, but I think sometimes it is necessary.

I am grateful for those people who helped me to get sober by being tough guys and gals.  That is what I needed.  I also had the soft friends who I could run and whine to about the "meanie" who said things to me.  But I remember the things that those tough guys told me.  And I thank God for them.

I think I will stay sober today and I hope you all do too.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Morning


Every morning in the last week as I was driving to the 6:30 meeting, I saw this tree outlined against a bright red sky, but I didn't have time to stop and take a photo.  This morning as I left the house, I thought - I will take a photo this morning!  But when I got there, the sky was not really red.  If it was red, I would have walked out into the park to get closer to those huge gnarly trees in black against the red sky.  Oh well.

When I got to the meeting, a sponsee came in and sat next to me.  She said to me "I hate this f#$&ing meeting!"  I got my phone out and did a search for "denver aa meetings before 8 am on sunday" and within a few seconds had a list.  I showed her the list and asked her to pick one.  She didn't move.  I told her that if she stayed at that meeting, she needed to keep in mind that she had made that choice.  She got up and left.  When she called at 9 a.m., she told me about a wonderful meeting where she heard just the message she needed to hear.  About doing God's will.  It sometimes amazes me how someone will hear something as if for the first time - after hearing it for years.

I have to remember that I often needed people to help me with the most basic of choices when I was new in sobriety.  And when I say new, I mean my first decade.  So, I guess I can be patient with people who need help.

But I hope my manner has been different when I have needed help.  I hope.

There is football and a sofa awaiting me in the other room.  I better get to it... the wrong teams might win if I am not there to supervise.

I will stay sober even if the wrong teams win though... and I hope you do too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday

What a glorious day it is.  It is cold, it is sunny, it is just as I think a Saturday morning in November in Colorado should be.

I went out with my running group this morning and had a wonderful time.  One of my favorite men of the group said he hardly recognized me without a skirt or a dress - it seems funny to see me in pants.  I agree. If I had my way, I would wear a dress every day to every occasion.  But it is kinda cold, so I have pants on.

Yesterday I had an awful day at work.  It was not nice - at all.  I talked with my boss about it and then it was time to leave for the weekend.  I did not bring work home this weekend because I don't feel like doing anything "extra" right now.  I would bring a martyr's attitude to it and life is too short to be a martyr.  So, I am determined to have the best weekend I can and not dwell on what he said and she said.  That leads me no where I want to go.

So, I had a wonderful dinner with the man last night.  And a wonderful workout this morning.  And I am about to have a wonderful lunch, then a wonderful nap, and then I will go to wonderful church.  Tomorrow I will go to a wonderful meeting and then maybe something after that - I don't know what, but I know it will be wonderful.

It is good to be sober.  It is good to be alive.  I am grateful for the grace of God.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"holidays"


I took this photo last year on Thanksgiving morning.  I like it.  I haven't been taking photos for some reason this year.  Even though I have a new iPhone with a super cool camera.  Oh well.  I will get with it.

Well,  "the holidays" seem to be upon us.  I fight this term and this concept.  It is so generic, so bland, and so loaded with commercial pressure.

Thanksgiving is the first.  Well, actually some people consider Halloween the first of the season, but I am not going there.  I love the spiritual meaning of Thanksgiving.  Thanking God for our bounty.  How wonderful is that?  But, in practice, we all make virtually the same meal, which I don't even like.  I don't like cooking it (and there are very few meals I do not enjoy cooking) and I don't really enjoy eating it.  I don't particularly like turkey and eat it only once a year.  I do like baking pies, and I will make some this year.  I owe a couple of pecan pies to an AA friend.  I will enjoy making those.

My family is somewhat fractured this year.  My son is in Afghanistan.  His wife and daughter are going to Nebraska to spend Thanksgiving with her parents.  My older granddaughters will be in Montana with my ex-husband, their grandfather.  That leaves my two daughters, one of whom  will be terribly sad and missing her children.  We decided to go to a movie rather than make a traditional dinner and sit around and think about what and who we are missing.  I am really looking forward to that.

I have a birthday in mid-december.  I think I might have mentioned that I will be 60 this year (every day for the last 6 months maybe?)  I am still planning how I want to celebrate that.  I think it will be a dinner out with all of my children (who are in the country) and my grandchildren.  So I can act the matriarch.  I considered having a huge party and when I wrote up the guest list, I just thought - I don't want to do this.  So I am not going to.

I have no idea what we are doing for Christmas, but I will try to keep my expectations low and my openness to new ideas high.  I do know that I will get to experience the journey of Advent again, and that never ever disappoints.

I cannot make a huge dinner and wish my brothers and sister were closer so that we could share the meal.  I cannot fondly remember the gatherings of the past and long for the people who are now deceased.  I cannot wish for things that aren't.

I can joyfully experience what is  - and not pretend it is something else.   And this year I have a new boyfriend and I am interested to see what that will bring.

Many alcoholics get tangled up in all of this stuff.  It is so foreign to be experiencing these events sober.  We may be hit with all sorts of memories, expectations, heartbreaks, and overwhelming feelings.  There are many helpful suggestions based on 70 some years of AA experience.  I am not going to go into all of them here... maybe closer to Thanksgiving I will.

But for today, I will just tell you what I am doing.  I am going to focus on what is rather than what isn't.  I am going to make the best plans to avoid emotional landmines.  I plan to enjoy myself and will turn my thoughts to others if I am getting nutty.  I am going to trust God that I am exactly where I am supposed to be today and thank him for all that has been given to me and all that has been taken away.

For now, I better plan to get ready for work and give it my best shot today.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Morning has broken

This posting at night thing is not going to work for now.  I know I should be doing other things with my morning time, but I enjoy this so I am going to do it.  I get up early in the morning and do many things all day long.  Surely I can take a moment (or hour) to blog.

I am a morning person.  I have been all my life.  There was a brief period when I was married to my sober husband that I adopted his night owl hours.  I discovered some of the attractions of those hours.  After about 8 or 9 p.m., there was a certain freedom.  I knew the phone was not going to ring, and no one was going to knock on the door.  The mail was not going to come.  No Fed Ex or UPS deliveries.  I was asleep during the hours when responsible people should be able to respond.  There was a certain freedom in that.  Of course, at that time everything else was feeling oppressive and I feared most intrusions of the outside world... with good reason.

When I was trying to crawl out of the sickness of that relationship, I started getting up in the morning and going to bed at night.  I always loved the morning, but I think I learned to relish it after living in the darkness for a while.  Even after 20 years, I haven't forgotten how much I love being up with the sunshine and available and able to respond to life.

My disposition is different in the morning.  I think it is a better time for me to write.

This morning I spent some time looking for an olympic distance triathlon (1 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride, 10K run) to register for next summer.  That is my goal for the year I am 60 years old.  I am excited about this.  Should I go away somewhere exotic for this?  Should I stay in Colorado?  So many questions.  So much excitement.  So much gratitude for being healthy enough for this!

You know what else I am grateful for?  The six month break I took from this blog.  I was sick to death of it before I stopped.  I was losing sleep over it!  Every negative comment (I get lots of them, usually one a day) was eating at me.  When I came back, I wasn't sure I was going to continue.  I thought I would try it for 30 days.  Well, I have loved it for the last six months.  I enjoy reading your blogs.  I enjoy the fellowship we share.  I love writing and missed it when I was away.  And the negative comments? I delete them and work to not think about them once they are gone.

OK, gotta hit the treadmill.  And get to work.

God has such better plans for me than I have for myself.  Left to my own devices, I would be a 2 pack a day smoker and hopeless alcoholic.  And for a 60 year old woman, that is NOT ATTRACTIVE!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Night Post

Well, I said I would post tonight.  Here I am.

I am yawning and longing to go to bed.  I have not one idea in my pretty little head.

Maybe this won't work after all.

So, here is what I know.

I will go to bed sober again tonight.  I recently got a big book app on my phone.  It comes with a sobriety counter - which I usually avoid.  I was interested to see that I am nearing a landmark number of days.

But for now,  I will hit my pillow sober, for the 9,976th day in a row.

I thank God for that.

New Stuff

I made a date nut bread to take to work yesterday.  It was good.

At lunch, I started going to the drive-through, but changed my mind and ate inside

When I got home, my new phone was on my front porch!

Yesterday I returned a pair of shoes that I decided were just too high for me.  Four inch heels are something of my past and not my future.  I do not know what possessed me to buy them in the first place.  I consider this huge progress for me.  I will usually hang on to something like that for a "special occasion," some circumstance where I feel it will be appropriate to be unable to walk.  

The store was in an area where I used to work.  I decided to go to one of my old favorite restaurants.  I remember 25 years ago when "Japanese fast food" was a novelty - I loved this restaurant.  I used to go every Thursday for lunch.  I started to go to the drive-through for take-out, but decided I would really enjoy sitting at the counter and eating in peace (as opposed to eating in my office as I do most days).  I don't believe I have eaten there alone for at least 20 years, so it was good to sit and remember so many good times in that place.  It was where I taught my children to use chop sticks, etc.

When I got home from work, my new iPhone was on my porch.  I spent the evening setting it up.  It is very cool.  I don't know why I am so infatuated with these electronic gadgets, but I am. 

A few months ago, I subscribed to Audible.com.  Every month, I get a new book to listen to.  I am currently listening to "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen.  I am enjoying it.  I have been contemplating how screwed up these people are.  Not alcoholic, not addicted, just people who have made bad decisions and are living with the lifelong consequences of these.  (that's probably not really what the book is about, but it is what I am hearing.)

I have lately become convinced that my life has not gone where I wanted it to because my financial situation is not what I thought it would be at the age of 60.  I have horrendous student loan debt - yes, at 60.  I have credit card debt.  I have taken cuts in pay 3 years running, and have just heard I will have another in July.  It is difficult not to dip into "fear of economic insecurity."  (please don't remind me of the "promises," I have been sober for over 27 years, I am familiar.)

Some perspective will tell me:  I have been sober for nearly half of my life.  I have made good decisions and bad decisions in that time. I get to reap the rewards of both.  I went to college and got a masters degree when I was in my 40s.  I went to a really good school that was very very expensive.... thinking I would make very very good money once I graduated.  I still persisted in believing that very very good money was right around the corner until a few years ago - and made decisions based on that projection.  

But I have been sober.  I have a sober history.  I have memories of chop sticks and children in Japanese restaurants.  I have good relationships with all three of my children and all three of my grandchildren.  I have good relationships with my siblings.  I even have good relationships with my nieces and nephews.  I am a member of my community.  I am a person with a long history at my workplace and many relationships there - mostly good.  I am a member of a church, and I actually have relationships with people there.  

I have some financial wreckage (and I do need to change my ways and take care of this), but I don't have the kind of wreckage that would really wreck me.  

I will never forget the new woman at a meeting several years ago.  Her son had just come home from Iraq.  She "celebrated" with a lot of booze.  So much so that when she woke up the next morning, neither her son or her husband were speaking to her.  To me, that was the saddest story I ever heard in a meeting, and I have heard a lot of them.  It gave me perspective on what a great gift sobriety is.  

After this many years, sobriety can get to feel pretty "normal," and I think that is a huge danger.  It is never normal for an alcoholic to not drink.  I am grateful that I am dealing with some problems, but they are sober kinds of problems.  I am not dealing with trying to find out what I did in a blackout last night.  Phew.  The thought of that still makes my stomach flip.  

I have to start blogging at night because this is taking too much time in the morning.  I didn't workout on Monday or Tuesday because blogging took too long.  Today I will blog, workout, and get to work on time - I swear to you, I will!

By the grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I am sober today.  And that, my friends, is a miracle.  



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When our loved one gets sober...

The latest photo my sober daughter posted on facebook
We seldom get what we thought we would.  We spend years dreaming of the magical moment when our beloved will stop behaving like a hurtful jackass and be the person we dream they truly are... underneath all of that.

I am not much of an al-anon member.  I went during my awful marriage and I have always said that I believe al-anon saved my life.  I went again when my daughter was a teenage meth addict runaway.  I believe al-anon saved my life again.  I bought the literature and read it.  And I still have it and read it from time to time.

But I am an alcoholic.  I think it is a dangerous thing for an alcoholic to decide that the alcoholism is in the past tense and whatever current problem is the problem now.  If I had plenty of time, I would go to both programs, but I don't.  So I go to AA and live by spiritual principles and I believe that helps me to live well in spite of whatever may be going on.

We have both lived through the agony of her periods of sobriety followed by relapse.  She had two years of sobriety between her 16th and 18th years.  She went to many rehabs where she seemed to have gotten something, but went right back to her old ways the moment the structure was gone.  One day she had enough and by herself scraped together the bus fare to get to an AA meeting.  She has been sober since then.

I thought if my daughter got sober she would be someone different.  I think if I carefully examine who I thought she would be, it was a mini-me that I envisioned.  She is not a mini-me.  And really that is a good thing.  She has gone off in directions I could never have anticipated.  Like her sudden penchant for Harley Davidsons and the men who ride them.  Her continuing to get tattoos, she is nearly covered with them now.  Her piercing her face and having a little tear drop looking thing on her cheek.   Her marriage to a man she only knew for 6 weeks.  The insane x-rated things she posts on facebook.  Et cetera.

I have been a bad mom a hundred times and asked her "Are you sober?"  "Really?"  I never saw a sober person act like you.  You need to.......   bla bla bla.  And bless her heart, she has listened to me.  Sometimes she has even taken my unsolicited advice.  She does respect my sobriety and I am grateful for that because she has seen the most unflattering views of me over the years.

And then, she started college and has a 4.0 GPA.  She is a real sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  She is the member of a couple of other fellowships that she qualifies for as well.  She practices the principles in all of her affairs, trusts God and cleans house.   She is now sober 34 months.

But it just doesn't look like I thought it would.

God is always teaching me something new.  I certainly have learned a lot from this.  And I think my lessons are not over.  I pray he will give me the grace to appreciate the blessings in our lives, no matter what they look like.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tulips again

I planted more tulips yesterday.  The beautiful pink tulips in front of my house have stopped blooming and I needed to replace them since they brought me inordinate amounts of joy.   I asked my neighbor to join me on my trip to the garden store.  I decided to get white tulips this time instead of pink.  I don't think I could ever replicate the beauty of those pink tulips.  And I LOVE white tulips.  So, I hope the next time I talk about this, there will be a photo of a bunch of white tulips coming out of the ground.  In the spring.

I always remember the feelings of my late drinking and early sobriety, years when I was pretty unstable.  I moved a lot.  Sometimes more than once a year.  In my first year of sobriety, I moved four times.  In the marriage to my "sober" husband, we moved sometimes more than once a month... and I never knew when we were next moving.  By that time most of my belongings were in storage.  In those  years, I would have tearful nights, just longing to live somewhere long enough to not be disoriented when I woke up in the middle of the night.  And I would think of tulips and long to have the stability to plant bulbs in the ground in the fall and be there in the spring to see the flowers emerge.

I have now had that stability long enough to no longer value it quite so much.  I am in this house for my eleventh year now.  I spent some time over the weekend cleaning closets and doing other big tasks that I am very capable of putting off for years at a time.  It helped me to value my home again.  This requires discipline - something I am still deficit in, though it pains me to admit it.

I am still grateful to have the ability to put a bulb in the ground in the autumn in the hope that I will see its fruition in the spring.

Sometimes we just have to get through the dirt and the rocks and the cold and dark times in order to get to the light and the greenness, warmth,  and the flowers of the spring.

I thank God I have been allowed the time.  Today's another 24 hours, I think I will stay sober for those hours, and I hope you do too.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday

I woke up this morning at 3:30 - even though I went to bed late last night and wanted to sleep late.  I decided to just go with it and I went to the pool for a half a mile of laps.  I was the only one in the pool at 5 a.m., but by 5:30, all lanes were full.  I realized the man in the lane next to me was someone I know from work!  How horrifying to be virtually naked in front of someone I know from work!

I got to a meeting and the sponsee I have been writing about a lot lately came and sat next to me.  We talked for an hour after the meeting.  It is hard to talk with someone who frequently calls people names, using terrible language.  I have "suggested" that this is not helpful to her or anyone else, but apparently that is not something that she has "internalized" yet.

Last week at church the priest said "the only thing we take from this world is our good deeds."  That has stuck with me.  I hope I have a whole trainful of them by the time I go.   But that is not in my nature.  It is work, greatly aided by the grace of God.

I came home from the meeting and made the above breakfast - and ate it!  I am going to now go lay on the couch and watch pre-football game shows, followed by football games.  Oh, how I love this routine in the autumn.

Last night we saw the movie "Tower Heist," which I would highly recommend if you are looking for a silly funny movie.  If you are looking for an award winning "film," I would skip it.  I really enjoyed it and so did my b.f.  We laughed - and he laughed at me as I hid my eyes behind his shoulder during the "scary" parts.

It's good to be sober.  And alive.  And not in too much pain.  Thank you God.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Loving Saturday


Here's photos of my new jacket and my new gloves / mittens.  The jacket has a little LED light on the sleeve, and the right mitten has a little light.  They charge in a USB port.  I love goofy technology.  Oh, and it looks like these photos don't show how crazily bright this color is.  It is amazing.  I love bright colors.  I nearly lost my mind when "neons" came into style in the 80s, and always regretted their passing.  In the world of running, they never go out of style.

This morning I met my running group (my coach would only let me do 3 miles) and then had a bagel with them and then went shopping with a couple of the ladies.  What fun.  Honestly, it was just so much fun.

I didn't used to like socializing with "normies" so much.  But I do now.  We just have fun.

Kind of a shame that I am nearly 60 years old and just beginning to learn how to do things that others are born knowing how to do.  But better late than never.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a slow learner.  God seems to have endless patience with me.  (I spelled that "patients" at first, because that is the word I am more used to.  funny.)

I think I will stay sober today and I hope you do too.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven Eleven Eleven

This is a photo of this morning's sunrise.  I stopped the car and got out and photographed it on my way to the meeting this morning.

I thought of titling this post "Under a blood red sky."  I began to go through my veteran friends on facebook, I was going to wish them "Happy Veteran's Day."  The first one alphabetically was my daughter-in-law.  I started typing "happy" and then stopped when I saw that she changed her profile photo to the boots, helmets, guns photo - the photo for fallen soldiers.  She and my son lost friends over the skies of Afghanistan earlier this year.  Somehow it doesn't seem right to wish them a "happy" day to commemorate their lost friends.  So, I will skip it.  They know I respect their occupation every single day of the year.  I will tell them again  - but not today.

I went to a great speaker meeting this morning.  A real alcoholic, one who was on death's door just a year ago.  Now he is fully alive, and 100% sober.  It was a beautiful thing to see.

And now someone needs to take my credit cards away from me.  I have been out and purchased a pair of black velveteen pants, a new running jacket - with matching gloves - with little LED lights on the jacket and the gloves, a new iPhone has been purchased and will ship in a couple of days - from Verizon!, a new iPhone case, and screen protectors.  I wouldn't care to add up what all of that cost, and I need to knock it off.  Now.

I want to thank you all for your concern and prayers.  I am still in pain and have no idea what is going on.  I think I will chill this weekend, but go back to the doc if the pain is not gone by Monday.  I have never had a pain like this and believe me, I have had just about every kind of injury known to mankind - think abusive husband, car accidents, triathlons, half-marathons, and marathons.  This is a new one on me.

I'm sure grateful for the grace and mercy of God.  Without which I would not be sitting here today, sober, complaining about how much money I am spending!  Sheesh!

For all veterans, know that I appreciate your and your family's service.  But I can't say "happy" veteran's day today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Evening at the ER

I went to see my doc yesterday and he was very concerned about this pain I have had.  He ordered a bunch of labs and I went over and filled vials with blood and a little cup with pee.  All tests came back WNL except for one.  A test I am not going to name here because I know google only too well came back wackadoo.

Doc called me and told me to get myself to the ER for a CT scan to see if I had a pulmonary embolism.  I was pretty calm, I guess so much that my doc (who is a very sweet man) felt the need to let me know this is something that can cause sudden death.  Well, I knew that.  

I did have a CT scan with contrast ( I do not like that contrast stuff!) and waited for the results.

The good news is:  I have a perfectly normal chest - heart and lungs, and no broken ribs.  The bad news is:  I still am in pain.

I was prescribed pain meds and I took them when I got home.

Here's the other thing:  People from work offered to drive me to the hospital, and I refused. I would have called one of my daughters, but she is out of town doing an investigation.  The other daughter, the one who is my dear sober daughter - I thought I would like to call her, but knew she would go off the deep end and I couldn't deal with that right then.  I thought of calling my boyfriend, but felt sheepish about calling him for such a "significant other" event.  I called one of my dear friends who is a nurse but she did not answer, and I did not leave a message.  I called my sponsor who lives 300 miles away.  She offered to get in her car and drive 6 hours to be with me.  I cried.  I cried and cried and cried.  She suggested some people from the AA group and I said "no, no, no."  I felt so alone.

When I got home, my b.f. called and I told him what happened.  He sounded so hurt when he asked me "why didn't you call me?"  And then in the saddest voice I have ever heard, he said "I really wish you had called."  I told him I would in the future.  And that I was glad he wanted me to call, but I felt weird about it.  He made me promise not to go to work today.  And imagine this... I am not at work today.  I do have to go in this afternoon for a meeting I am chairing.

My sober daughter called and when I told her what happened, she wailed.  WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME?  I told her "because you would have freaked out, just like you are doing right now."  And then, because she is sober and truly has a program... she told me a long story.  Her husband just withheld some information from her for the same reason.  She thought that was utter B.S., but prayed that God would give her some insight.  When I told her essentially the same thing her husband had said, she said "Wow, it really is me.  I need to work on this."  And I thought... why don't I sponsor anyone like this?

Anyway, I can see something I need to work on.  And I hate that.

But the truth is the truth.  And it shall set me free?

I thank God I have another day to be sober, to love the people in my life, and to ask God to help me to be more open to being vulnerable.  (yuk)

And don't any of you yell at me, OK?

Thanks.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Livin' on a Wednesday



This is the scarf I am knitting for my daughter-in-law.  Those colors don't look true, at least on my computer.  The color ranges from bright orange pink, to deep deep purple.  And some brownish rustish colors in between.  It has taken me well over a month to knit that much.  Her birthday was on Nov. 4, and I had to show her this incomplete project and tell her it would be done in a couple more weeks.  Sheesh.  I gave the baby an incomplete quilt for her birthday and I still don't have that done either!   I have a dear friend whose mother always wrapped unfinished knitted items for her birthdays and Christmas, and she has fond memories of this.  This gives me hope that I am not causing bad memories and trauma.

On Sunday I woke up from a nap with a strange pain that felt like a junior broken rib.  Not as sharp of a pain as a broken rib, but the same kind of pain in the same kind of place.  It has gotten worse each day this week.  I think I may have to go to the doc today - although even if it is a broken rib, they don't do anything for it.  Who gets a spontaneous broken rib (other than someone with advanced osteoporosis)?  Yesterday I was supposed to do 3 miles, I made it two very painful miles.  Oh dear, this cannot happen!

OK, I swear this is the last time I am going to talk about this most challenging sponsee.  But we talked yesterday and it put almost everything into perspective.  She thanked me for telling her to trust God and pray on Saturday.  She said she had a better day after that.  And she has been thinking about it.  Then she told me something that blew me away.  She said, "Thanks for being so patient with me.  My first sponsor was an atheist, so I have never heard this stuff before."

I thought about the fact that the big book is pretty clear about trusting an infinite God rather than our finite selves, etc.  But if no one guides you in this direction maybe you wouldn't go there?

One of the meetings I have gone to since I got sober has in their meeting format - read at the beginning of every meeting:
"if you hear anything here that cannot be reconciled with the first 164 pages of the big book, we suggest you disregard it."

I think that is pretty good advice, so for today, I will just say:

"Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit your faults to Him and to you fellows.  Clear away the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.  May God bless you and keep you - until then."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Hope


This is sad, but I am using so many photos from last year.  It must have been a year ago today that I took this photo.  I was outside, walking.  Recovering still from my first marathon.  I saw this from across the street and loved the dead foliage, the yellow tomatoes, and the blue pot.

When I was in high school, I was required to memorize this line... I have no idea why.  But it has stuck with me all these years.  

Two men look out through the same bars, one sees the mud and one the stars.  - Frederick Langbridge

When I got sober, I had to learn to look at the stars instead of the mud.  I am a great mud-looker.  In fact, I made an early career out of it.  I was great at insurance - I could figure out what could go wrong with everything.  I still can drive down the road and visualize every single mishap that could happen.  It makes for a long drive.  

I am looking at another fork in my career right now.  It looks like there may be an opportunity in my future.  Maybe not too.  I am very hopeful that this opportunity will come to fruition and I can jump into another chapter in my life.  I am also thinking that it may not and I can see plenty of reasons to stay right where I am.  I am trying to focus on the positive in both alternatives.  

My life has not gone along smoothly like many people I have worked with who have retired at 50 or 55.  I am almost 60 and looking at another ten years of work before I can retire.  But the truth is, I do not want to retire.  In those early years while everyone else was working and saving money, I was not working and I was not saving money.  

I am grateful I am in good health and fairly vigorous.  I am grateful my mind is good.  I am grateful I like to work and don't consider this a death sentence.  

I am grateful for Alcoholics Anonymous and this way of life.  I am grateful that I found early-on that I could make what I want to of most every situation.  I am grateful I learned about living in the will of God, not mine.  

I think I will stay sober today and I hope you all do too.  




Monday, November 07, 2011

Long Term Sobriety - and Pie.

I got up at three this morning so I could bake a pie to bring to work.  I donated it for a fundraiser and today is the day I need to produce!  Couldn't have happened on a better day.  I love, love, love standard time.  I love that I am used to getting up at 4 or 5 and that now translates to 3 or 4 - for a week or so.   So, I have time to bake a pie and get ready for work.  I need to be super-ready today.  I have a meeting that is so very important.  I am meeting someone I hope will be someone in my future.

I don't seem to be able to drop my controversial streak here.  I had hoped to.  But I got a comment yesterday that I have thought about over and over.  It was anonymous and the person stated they are a non-alcoholic observer.  But here is the line that got me:  people who would need the program are not in their right mind due to the disease. A typical symptom of the disease is obsessing and paranoia and this does not go away miraculously when you have a sponsor.

There seems to be a misconception growing among our observers.  That everyone in AA is a sick alcoholic.  Not so, my friends, not so.  I do not consider myself "not in my right mind."  My mind is righter than it has ever been.  I need AA as much as ever.  But not because I am obsessive and paranoid and needing a drink.

There is a program of recovery in AA.  There are twelve steps that really work to not only get rid of our desire to drink, but to restore us to our right minds.  We then help other alcoholics and become productive members of society.

We are not all hanging around AA clubs jonesing for a drink.

Some of us have been sober for a long time, leading productive lives.  And that is because the program works.  Some of us have been sober a short time and have had spiritual awakenings, are helping others and getting our lives back together.  Some of us haven't destroyed our lives at all and if you didn't see them sitting in an AA meeting, you would likely have no idea they have any problem at all.

AA really works.  It really restores people to life.  In many cases, it doesn't really "restore" because the person never really had a productive life before they got sober.  But they get one as they live in a new way.   Not just not drinking, but living a totally different way.

The program of Alcoholics Anonymous works.  Every single day alcoholics manage to find their way into the program and find a new life awaiting.  It does require some effort.  The effort is miniscule when compared with the rewards.

So, I will get on my sober way and have a sober day today.  Gratefully.  Thank God.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Another First!

The "J" fell off my Joy, and I am simply left with "OY!"


The first is that I have deleted a post.  I don't believe I have ever done that before.

I posted something about a sponsee last night.  I was and am a little bit frustrated with her.  Even though you don't know who she is, I really don't have a right to discuss her here.

I woke up feeling that way this morning.  But then I had a couple of comments and thought maybe it wasn't so bad to discuss the way we sponsor people.

However, some of you have decided she isn't "willing to go to any length," and some of you are worried she will get drunk because of the way she is being judged.  And the last comment just suggested she go to therapy.

None of this is fair to her.  She is a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  That's really all that matters.

I was one of those who did not get sober and then get perfect over night.  I wonder if anyone decided I was too big a pain in the ass to stay sober.  If they did, they were wrong.  It just didn't look too good on me.  Sobriety took a long time to sort of fit me right.

I apologize to the universe for saying anything less than kind about her.

We are all children of God and I believe he wants all of us alcoholics to get sober.  We all deserve every chance we can get.  And what a sin it would be to get in the way of someone's spiritual progress.

God help me to help where I can and get out of the way where I should.

And especially help me with my big mouth (which translates to happy fingers with the keyboard).

Friday, November 04, 2011

New Response

Today I did something I have never done before.

I spoke at a meeting.  My story in 20 minutes... well, I made it 25.  And then I apologized for running over.

After the meeting a young woman came over and talked to me.  She just got out of a month long treatment program.  (My daughter is a graduate of the same program, she enjoyed being at a mountain resort for a month, but she certainly did not stay sober.)  Anyway, she asked me if I could sponsor her.  And I said "no."  I have never done that before.

My sponsor has been telling me to do that for years.  First, I am sponsoring enough people to drive me to distraction at times.  Second, she says I have no business sponsoring a new person in AA anymore.

I usually go ahead and say "yes" anyway.  But today I didn't.

There was another woman standing with us who immediately said, "I am looking for a new sponsee."  I thought "how wonderful!"  She wants to sponsor someone right now.  I don't.  She will do a good job.  I would probably do a grudging job.  And that would not be good for anyone.

Today I talked about the principle of rotation.  It is a wonderful principle that I firmly believe in.

And then I think I got to see some of that in action.  When I let go of filling the spaces, someone else, much more appropriate, gets to have that opportunity.

There is no waste in God's economy.

Friday Morning Meeting

Lately I am using photos from last year at this time.  My computer allows me to view my photos individually, by event, or by the last 12 months.  I love to look at "the last 12 months" and see what I was doing a year ago this time.  Last year in the beginning of November I was still getting out in the morning (instead of hitting the treadmill as I am doing this year) and taking gorgeous photos of the sunrise.  There are not many photo opportunities in my basement on the treadmill.   But this year, the ground is covered with a lot of snow.

This morning I am telling my story at the 6:30 meeting.  I always get nervous about this.  My sponsor told me a long time ago that when I stop being nervous about speaking at an AA meeting, I should stop doing it.  I have prayed that God put the words in my mouth.   And then I remind myself that this is not about me.

I have another weekend coming up that is so full it is scary.  I looked at my calendar yesterday to see if I could take Monday off.  I can't.  But Veteran's Day is on Friday and I get that off.  I need a long weekend!

And I think I need a new dress and shoes too.  Maybe I can do that on my lunch today?

No matter what, I think I will stay sober today and I hope you will too.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Nonsequitors

This morning I left a bunch of inappropriate comments on blogs.  I would look at them and think "this has nothing to do with the post - why am I writing this?"  And then I would post it anyway.  If you got one of them, I apologize.  But one thing I love about having a track record is that you guys know this is an exception and not a rule (I hope) and you will forgive me.

These clocks need to be turned back!  Who was the genius who decided we should have DST for eight months of the year?  Probably someone who didn't need to function early in the morning while it is still dark.

I just wrote three paragraphs about work and erased them.  I have a feeling that someone from work is reading my blog.  I don't even know who, but I just have a feeling.  I have been successful over the years at leaving work pretty much out of my blog, I guess I better continue to do so.  But I think I am going to have some good news on this front within the next month.  I start to get anxious about this, but I have to remind myself that I am living in God's will and that is precisely what will happen - His will, not mine.

When I was drinking and then in early sobriety, I craved the stability I saw others had.  I wanted to work at the same place for a whole career.  I wanted to live in the same house all my life.  Etc.  But I have now had this kind of "stability" for seventeen years in my career, and ten years in my house.  I am realizing this is simply not my style or nature.  I am itching to change things.  I cannot sell my house because of the housing market - well, I COULD sell it and not lose money, but it wouldn't be a particularly SMART thing to do.  And I have felt stuck in my job for several years now.  I am ready to change that.  A month or so ago, I would have told you how hopeless this was.

And now, it looks like God has moved in my life - the way he always has.  In his time, not mine.

I am grateful, grateful, grateful.  And I think I will stay sober today - I hope you do too.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

All Souls Day

All the local schools have canceled today's classes.  I haven't heard whether I need to go to work or not.  I was greatly insulted years ago (10) when I got a promotion and became "non-essential."  Now I am thinking that is not such a bad thing.  When it snows enough, I can be excused from coming to work.  In my prior job, I had to get there.  If I couldn't, they would come and get me.

But I must get to the 6:30 meeting where a beloved sponsee is celebrating 6 years of continuous sobriety.  I think that is where I truly am "essential."  And gratefully so.

What a wonderful thing it is to sponsor a woman who is a real alcoholic of the variety I understand.  The hopeless variety.  The kind that understands that she was beyond human aid.  That she has been saved by the grace of a loving God.

I gotta go bundle up, get my shoveling arm ready, and get out of here.

Let's all stay sober today cuz in this organization, we are all essential.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Día de los Muertos


And for me, it is All Saints Day.  I need to be sitting, well, actually kneeling, in church in 45 minutes.  I am sitting in my pajamas, with dirty hair, right now.  I need to make this very very short.

Yesterday I had a sponsee call me six times and e-mail me once while I was trying to be with my children and grandchildren for halloween.  I have a daughter in recovery who can be very very intense and needy, and is having a hard time right now.

By the time everyone left, my face was twitching, and I was ready to move to another state to get away from everyone.

I don't think that is a reflection of me needing to indulge that urge.  That is an indication of me not having a proper attitude.  Really.  It is.  I get that way when I am too tired.  It doesn't help when I eat a bucket load of candy.

But you know what?  Today is a new day.  It is even in a new month.  I get to start my day with mass this morning.  (the second half of the sponsee's calls were frantic to tell me she was called into work early and could not make the meeting in the morning to celebrate her 6th birthday.)  So, I slept in and I feel swell.

Thank God I don't have to earn God's Grace.  Cuz I am feeling full of it this morning.