Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This is How it's Going to Be

The Capitol from the 16th Street Mall 
I have to blog at night because I absolutely cannot do this in the morning.  

I am too tired at night to think of anything meaningful to write about.  All I can think of is how tired I am.  

In time, I will get used to the new pace of my life.  But for now, I am not there.

Sobriety is an adventure.  This is a new chapter in the adventure.  The chapter called "This girl was TIRED."

Finding my Way

I need a rose today.  I wish I could smell them.  This photo is now almost 4 years old.  I wonder how many times I have used it here - it is one of my favorites.  Two pretty roses, a bud vase, and my favorite tablecloth.

My new job has changed my life dramatically.  It is exciting and I am grateful, let me say that first.  But, oh my goodness!  The number of hours I have put in over the last week is just ridiculous!  And I started out tired from finishing up my old job.  I have not worked out in over a week now - with the exception of a 2 mile walk on Saturday.  I don't know where I will squeeze it in.  I don't have time in the morning and I am too tired at night.

I worked all day Sunday and for 11 hours yesterday to get my first project finished.  It was due at 3:30 yesterday and I didn't get it finished until 5:38.  I spent several hours feeling quite sick while trying to finish it.  I was fighting those drunk feelings - the guilt and feeling like a f***-up.  I HAD to fight those feelings because they are not productive.

Oh, and I don't have time to blog in the morning and I am too tired at night too.

I don't know where God finds time to help me with things like this, but I know he always has.  I will ask for his help and go out with confidence that it is "under control."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Morning

The photo is from my walk on Saturday.  This is a perfect example of the color I keep calling "sepia," everything is brown and drab.  But the sky is blue.

I moved to Denver in the summer and got sober three weeks later in late July.  I came from living 8 years in two different small mountain towns.  The last two years were in the Colorado mountains.   I found the winters in the mountains nearly unbearable.  When I got to Denver and got sober, I thought all of my depression was over.  Winter in Denver is a breeze compared to the mountains.  That first winter - my first in sobriety and first in Denver was delightful!  But I guess I have been here now long enough to find it a challenge to get through.

This year I have a new job and new surroundings and I think that will side-step the whole late winter depression.  We shall see.

I keep thinking of a conversation I had after the meeting on Saturday.  I need to call someone about it.  A sponsee was sitting with me during the meeting and whispered to me that our friend's face was bright red.  I hadn't noticed.  I knew what she meant.  Our friend's face was bright red when she was drinking.  She came to meetings for years drinking.  Drunk.  Out of her mind.  She nearly died about 18 months ago.  And then she got sober.  When she celebrated a year, I heard warning bells that were nearly deafening.  But I hoped I was wrong.  The group was so excited, they had showered her with flowers, gifts, cards, etc.  I always get alarmed when I see that - I have seen so many think they have graduated and stop going to meetings.  She got a defiant attitude that day - "See?  You didn't think I would get sober, but here I am!"  There was no humility or gratitude.  It put a chill through me.

And on Saturday, there she was, after the meeting talking about a huge setback she had just gone through.  My friend and I said quickly - "But you stayed sober through it!  What a miracle."  She looked around and started talking faster and faster about how horrible it was.  That put a chill through me.  Oh, dear Lord, I hope I am wrong.  But that did not sound like a sober woman to me.

I will call my friend later today and see what is up.

I have a wonderful day ahead and I need to get to it.  I am working from home.  I need to be at my desk at 7 a.m. to start.  Then I have a meeting at 11:30 at the hospital where I worked for 17+ years.  Then back to work here.  I have my first "product" due at 3:30 and I am a bit nervous about getting it done.  I would have had it done by now if I hadn't had to learn how to use Office 2010 in order to get my work done.

I am so grateful to be sober.  I am so grateful that God has put just the right people in my life all throughout my sobriety.  I am particularly grateful that he put me with a bunch of ruffians in my early sobriety.  I am glad I was always a bit afraid in those early meetings.  I learned to shut up and listen.  It was incredibly good for me.  Back then, I thought I was brilliant and needed to be put in my place on more than one occasion.  I don't see anyone who is now willing to do that, it wouldn't be "polite."  We would rather watch people die, with their ego intact than hurt someone's feelings and maybe give them a chance to live.

"My creator,  I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.  Amen."  -- Seventh Step Prayer, p. 76

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sleeping Late

still life with two computers, a banana, coffee, and fireplace
I slept until was light outside this morning!  I don't know the last time I have slept until 7 a.m.  It was wonderful.  I am now up, in my comfy clothes and getting ready to work at home.  I am scheduled to work at home tomorrow, with one meeting at my former workplace in the middle of the day.  I am excitedly nervous and anxious about the amount of work I need to get done.  I was fine until a nice young man from IT came and installed Office 2010 on my computer and when I opened up my work, I had to relearn how to do everything!  Today I hope to get WAY more comfortable with Excel.  My first work product is due at 3:30 tomorrow afternoon.  I need to work with Excel and Powerpoint to get it done.  I am hoping that working on it today will let me know if I am having "issues" before it is too late.

Yesterday as I was heading out to take an afternoon walk, I stopped and talked with my neighbor.  I hadn't seen her all week, which is unusual.  I helped her install a new headlight in her car!  Well, "help" might be too strong of a word.... I actually held the light for her and helped her to find a screw that she  had dropped.   I told her how tired I was and lifted my sunglasses so she could see my eyes.  She told me I better lay down with a cold cloth over my eyes before my boyfriend came to pick me up for dinner!  I did that, not sure it really helped.  I don't look too bad this morning after a great night's sleep.

Dinner was wonderful last night.  There was an hour and a half wait at the restaurant, so we went and sat in the bar.  He with iced tea, me with diet coke.  We ate appetizers and had a delightful time.  Two recovering alcoholics, sitting in a bar... sounds like the start of a joke.  I'm not a big believer of being around booze - but on occasion it happens, and it does not bother me.  But I have seen too many sober alcoholics try to live the old lifestyle - same old friends, same old places, doing the same old things as when they were drinking - in my observation, it does not work.  The big book says "we are neither cocky nor are we afraid."  That's the wonderful part of the big book where it says for us the "problem has been removed."  And that is how we react as long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.

OK, I have to get to work now.  I am so excited about this and so grateful.  You know, for the past two years or so, I have been praying for a change in my work life.  It seemed that could never happen.  Every time I had tried to find a new job it just never happened.  But in October, I got a phone call asking me if I would be interested in this new job.  It is amazing to me how God works.  I am grateful, grateful, grateful.

And I think I shall stay sober today - I hope you all do too.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Peace Love Dove

Yesterday it snowed like crazy for a couple of hours.  At work, I went to the ninth floor to a little outdoor patio and took photos.  I thought it was so pretty.

This morning I woke up at 5, and looked at the thermometer (actually that is a lie, I looked at the weather app on my iPhone) and discovered it was 16º outside.  I looked in the mirror at the bags under my eyes.  I looked into my soul to see that I am 100% exhausted and decided not to join my running club.  This is the first Saturday in nearly 2 years I have missed for reasons other than being out of town or otherwise engaged.  Never because I "didn't feel like it."  But today I didn't feel like it and I am glad I didn't go.

I went to the 6:30 meeting instead and found that it was the birthday meeting for two of my friends.  One with 14 years and the other with 26.  I was so glad to be there.  The 26 year old was the man I was in a car wreck with a couple of years ago.  I was glad I could simply wish him a happy birthday without mentioning the accident.  And the 14 year old?  I love him.  I have known him since he got out of prison and came to the group.  When my daughter got sober, he helped her tremendously.  He is a good, true-blue AA member.

My house needs to be cleaned but I am afraid I can't muster the energy to do that either.  So, I am sitting here in front of the fire, watching TV and blogging.  I went to the grocery store on the way home from the meeting this morning and got the makings for chicken corn chowder - I have cut, chopped, blended, and sauteed, and that is all bubbling away on the stove.  This all sounds like an excellent way to spend a Saturday to me.  A nap later.  Then the boyfriend is taking me out for dinner.  I am excited about that.

So peaceful, so happy.  So relieved.  Last week was massive and I am glad it is over.   And happy about the new direction in my life.

"God I offer myself to Thee, to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love, and Thy way of life.  May I do Thy will always."  -- Third Step Prayer -- from the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  (I am too tired to get the book, so forgive me if I have gotten a word or two wrong.  Also, I don't know what page it is on because I had a sponsor who told me to never get to that point where I memorized the book or page numbers.  But I can't help but know this prayer, I have said it so many times.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Just a little note

There's my bus stop!  Exciting, huh?

Last night I was much too tired to write.  After I posted, I sat down to watch American Idol, but the phone rang.  A dear friend who is not alcoholic is dealing with a friend who IS an alcoholic and sounds like she is working on suicide by alcohol.  My poor friend has never been through anything like this.

At the end of the conversation, I told her she could consider how fortunate she is because most people have a family member or spouse or other close person who is an alcoholic and deal with this all the time.  She couldn't imagine what that would be like.  She said she has never been so angry in her life - and I believe it.

I shared some of my experience.  But really, I have so many experiences, I barely know which one to pick.  Growing up as the child of an alcoholic?  Marrying one?  Being one?  Being in love with one, or two?  The most recent experience was being engaged to a man I met in AA who ended up drinking again.  Obviously, we did not marry.  But I have never had such a wonderful relationship - until the day he drank.... and then it was over, but it took me a year to realize it.  Two weeks ago after a meeting of my home group, I found out he is still alive, in terribly bad shape, still drinking.... but then the clincher - "he still asks about you and talks about you all the time."  Oh my goodness.  I loved him so much.  But that is over and done with.

Here's the thing if you are trying to recover from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body - you just move on.  If you're tired, if you're hurt, if your life is wonderful, if it falls apart - you just do what you have learned  you need to do to stay sober.  I never want to look back so long that I lose my forward motion.

It's a wonderful week in my life.  I have so many wonderful things going on.  But I have to say, it is a bit overwhelming.  I have had moments of fear - will I be able to do this new job?  Am I too old?  Is my brain still sharp enough to do this?  Do I have the stamina? Because this is tiring!  But I have a couple of mantras, and I am repeating them as needed - e.g., I was hand-picked by people who know me to do this job, I am excited about this job, and that God is in charge and even if it falls apart, I will be OK.

So, I'll step out there again today.  And know that God is with me, holding me in the palm of his hand.  I will likely stay sober all day today and I hope you all do too.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beyond Tired

I took that photo on the way to the bus after work and I think it looks just like I feel.  Bleary eyed and ridiculously tired.  I could not sleep last night because I was so excited about my new job - I think I slept two hours all night.  I don't operate well on anything less than 8 - but 9 is better.  Two does not work - at all.

So, I am sitting in my chair, with the fireplace warming me.  I will watch American Idol and go to bed.

I'm sorry I have no words of anything remotely resembling wisdom tonight.  I am plum tuckered.

I am very happy that tomorrow is Friday and I shall have a weekend to do fun stuff - like sleep.  I totally wore myself out getting things finished at my old job.  I wish I could have taken a few days off between jobs.  But I will have a weekend to get restored.

Good night moon.

And thank you God for another day of sobriety.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The First Day

What a day!  My first day on a new job.  I kept thinking - this is so weird.  I don't know anyone and I don't know my way around.  I don't know anything!  I would say that felt good about 85% of the time.  It is rather uncomfortable too.  But I relish the discomfort because it means I am out of the rut I was in.

The job is going to be challenging, but I knew that going in.  That will be good too.

Last weekend I told my friends at the running club about the new job... and discovered then that one of my friends from the club lives directly across the street from my new building!  I called her at lunch time and asked her if she could get away (she works from home) for lunch.  We went to a wonderful middle eastern restaurant just around the corner.  It was excellent food and it was nice to see my friend.

There are many more stories to tell, but I am cross-eyed, I am so tired.  I must go to bed.

I am so grateful to be starting a new and exciting job.  I find it exciting to be downtown.  I even like riding the bus.

I will put my head on the pillow in a matter of minutes and before I go to sleep, I will thank God for another blessed day of sobriety.  It is truly amazing what can happen in a sober life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm Movin' On

I finished up and left my job today.  One of my last tasks was to change my outgoing voice message to something that says I don't work there anymore.  It kind of took my breathe away to say that.  But I did manage to walk out the door without a tear.  As I drove away, I did cry.

That place was very very good to me.  I started there, just 10 years sober, 3 weeks before my divorce.  I had a 17 year old son in the Army and twin 15 year old daughters.  On my first day, I was supposed to be in court with my alcoholic daughter.  I did not show up.  I never missed any work to participate in her drama.  Only one time did I leave work early after she called me desperately asking for my help.  This was never part of her game, so I responded and found her at the parents of one of her friends - she was covered in the sores that tweakers get and absolutely out of her mind.  She had been in California and came home with the numbers "5150" tattooed across her abdomen.  And I mean ACROSS her abdomen.

I can't catalog all of the things that happened to me in my career there.  But I know I arrived there on a September morning in 1994, more grateful than words can say for a job as an Administrative Assistant.  I was 42 years old.  I started school at 43, and had my master's degree at 50.  I got many promotions for my first seven years, and then have been in the same job for the last ten.

So, now I will go somewhere where no one ever saw me as an Administrative Assistant.  They only know that I come to them with an extremely good pedigree for the job.  And I can remind myself that I was hand-picked for this job.  This is so far from where I came from, it is unbelievable.

I was copied on an e-mail today from my new boss.  It was introducing me to the divisions I will be working with.  It was so nice and gave me such a warm feeling of welcome.

So, I am absolutely exhausted.  I need to get to bed so that I can get a good night's sleep before my first day on the new job.

I got to talk with a friend several times over the last 24 hours - she has an alcoholic friend who seems to be drinking herself to death.  I encouraged her to call the police to do a wellness check when the friend stopped responding to phone calls and texts.  The police said she was just sitting at home, drunk.  But that she did not appear to be a danger to self or gravely disabled - so they could not force her into treatment.   My friend has no experience with alcoholics, so she has been talking to me.  I am always astounded at how very self-centered we are when we are in the disease.  I feel bad for my friend.  It is so difficult to go through this crap.

So, I will lay my head on my pillow tonight and thank God from the bottom of my heart.

  • I am sober
  • I am alive and healthy
  • I have a brand new start tomorrow.

This is so good!

My Last Day

Today is my last day at the place I have been going to for the last seventeen and a half years.  I feel good about that.  What I don't feel good about is the amount of work I still have to get done.  I have Governing Body this morning - where I am giving two presentations.  This afternoon, I am orienting someone to be able to find the things they will need when the Joint Commission comes.   In other words, I will be dragging out of there when it is dark outside and I am exhausted.

I start my new job tomorrow - YAY!  I really do wish I could have had a couple of days between jobs, but I couldn't.  On my first day at the new job, there is a big meeting in the afternoon.  I talked with my new boss yesterday and told her I had a strange and somewhat awkward question to ask her.  "Do I need to wear a suit to this meeting?"  And when she paused, I knew the answer.  She said "well, not really a suit, but you do need to have a jacket on..."  I thought of the four suits in my closet that I really can't wear comfortably right now - I have been stress eating for a month or so now and it is not pretty.  I thought of the one that IS comfortable and I hate.   I don't have a jacket that doesn't belong to a suit.  I don't have a jacket that is comfortable.

So, guess what I did?  You are right, I went shopping.  I went to a store that I knew was having a huge sale.  And I got $980. worth of clothing (if you believe that the first price on the tag what it's worth) for $266.  Three jackets and four blouses.  I counted the pairs of black pants in my closet last week - 10 pairs.  I have two black skirts.  One grey skirt. A couple of skirts with prints on them.   Three pairs of brown pants.  Two grey pairs of pants.  Etc.  I bought a pair of "downtown" shoes last week.  They are flat but fancy!

So I have something new to wear to Governing Body this morning.  And something new for my first day of my new job.  And I got a manicure over the weekend with "gel" polish - which looks great and is supposed to last for 3 weeks!

I love wearing new clothes and it really does help me feel more confident.

My father was a bit of a clothes horse and used to stress to us kids that we had to "wear the uniform."  And that meant that you needed to dress appropriately for the occasion.  If it was a job interview for a suit kind of job, you wore a suit.  If it was a casual occasion, you wore casual clothes.   He stressed that there was no reason to start out a situation with a strike against you just because you aren't dressed properly.

Oh, I am a bit of a fanatic, I know that.  But I do know myself and know that this is how I am.

Thanks for listening to this bit of fluff about clothes.  It is easier to think about that than how momentous this day is.

Please God, be with me today and help me to be an asset wherever you take me.  I think that will probably involve me staying sober all day today and I hope you too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Downstream Effects

It is morning, I am going to try to "catch" my new bus, but not actually get on it this morning, just to see how this is going to work.  So, I have just a few moments to post this.  Of course, I could be on the treadmill instead, but who has time to work out?

Yesterday I heard the fifth step of a woman who has been sober for over six years.  I have only sponsored her for about a year.  This was a specific 4th step about some pretty intense and overwhelming resentments.  We did what we do.  When I told her to do the prayers for the people she resented, she asked me what I meant.  I told her the prayer on page 67.

We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man.  How can I be helpful to him?  God save me from being angry.  Thy will not mine be done."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 67

I told her to pray this prayer about each of her resentments.  And to do it more than once.  To do it all the time.

She said "Oh my God Mary, I have never heard of this before!  This helps so much!  Thank you!"

She has told me that before.  She has never heard of this stuff before.

And I have asked, how can this be?  She has been a real member of AA for over 6 years.  She has had a sponsor all that time.

And then it occurred to me, her first sponsor was an atheist.  She took her through the steps, but I guess she skipped the whole praying part.  The whole God part.

What's left when you take out "those parts?"  I really don't know.

Now, I know this will raise the hackles of many.  But we really can't change the program to avoid raising hackles.  The result of that would be to kill many.  I would rather raise hackles than be responsible for the alcoholic death of many.

AA asks us to choose our own conception of God.  There is a whole chapter in the big book to Agnostics.  The writers of the book said "We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him.  To us, the realm of the Spirit if broad, roomy, all inclusive, never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek.  It is open, we believe to all men."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 46

I have known many agnostics who have been successfully sober, if they have an open mind.  "To those who earnestly seek."    There is a big difference between one who is unsure and is earnestly seeking and  those who firmly believe there is no God and who are not willing to seek.

I wish them the best, really I do.  But I do not know how someone could take another through the steps, carefully avoiding the "God parts."  That sounds like swiss cheese with only holes to me.

And I am looking at the result of that with this young woman.  Thank God she is sober.  But she certainly does not have that inner peace that comes as a result of working these steps - as written.

Thanks for listening....

I plan on staying sober today, and I hope you all do too.  By the Grace of God....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Working on my night moves

I've had it with the winter pictures, I am just going to use photos from last summer for a while, OK?  I took this photo during a trail run on a Thursday night last summer with my running group.  They were so far ahead of me I never even saw them after the first couple of minutes.  I am a slow girl.  But better to be slow than to be stopped.

I only have two more days on my job.  I need to get used to posting at night.  This is going to be a challenge because I am just not the same person at night as I am in the morning.

Don't you love Ed Hochuli?  Does anyone other than me even know who Ed Hochuli is?  (so this is an example of something that seems apropos at night.)

The boyfriend and I went out for lunch to the same restaurant where we met. When we got there, I realized it was 8 months ago today.   We saw a movie - this makes two weeks in a row that I have seen movies that I didn't like.  "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" was a ridiculous movie - I have no idea what  even happened.

Then I heard a 5th step of a sponsee.  Bless her heart.  I have never heard a 5th step without falling in love with the person.  We get so jammed up with stuff.  And the steps really work to unjam all that junk and let God work in our lives.

And once he gets to working, it is amazing what can happen!

Sorry for how disjointed this thing is.  I am going to have to learn how to write at night.

Sunday Sunday

You know, there is just nothing to take pictures of at this time of the year.  I flip back through the last year of photos every day when I post something here.  The photos start out ugly in January and stay that way for a couple of months.  Then there is a bud popping out of the ground - a tulip, a crocus, a daffodil... and in a month or so, there is an explosion of color and life.  But for now?  It just isn't pretty.    Those are last year's shoes... I had to abandon them after just a few miles, my feet hurt so bad.  They are my beating around shoes now.  I have them on right now as a matter of fact.

What a weekend.  I have just been running around non-stop.  It is nice.  I had a birthday party to attend yesterday afternoon which was super fun.  Then I went shopping and bought nothing!  There just wasn't anything I want bad enough to pay for right now.  I want some new clothes for the new job, but I don't have a real good idea of what I need.  I do not want to purchase another suit.  I have enough of them and I hate wearing them.  I would like to buy some simple dresses that can be dressed up with jewelry, scarves, etc.  -- Damn, I just like to dress the way I like to dress!  Several people at my going away party made the comment that I "have the wardrobe for downtown."  I think that is relative.

This afternoon I am going out for lunch and to a movie with my boyfriend.  That should be fun.  I hope to have some moments where I am not moving around, darting from here to there.  I need that.

And then, this morning I went to a meeting.  Had I not been there to meet a sponsee, I would have walked out half way through.  There are few things that aggravate me as much as a meeting where the chair refuses to chair and just sits and stares into space when no one will talk.  What a waste of time!  Oh, I know people love to look "serene," and say they don't have to fill up the silence, but really !  There were new people there.  Can't we act like grown ups and either volunteer to talk or have a chair who will take responsibility for moving things along?

I know people say they have never been to a bad meeting, but I am not one of them.  My sponsor isn't one of them either.  I didn't check my brain at the door to my first meeting.  Some of the things we carry on with really contribute to people thinking we are a cultish group of weirdos they want nothing to do with.

It is going to be a good day.  I am sober, a bunch of people I love are sober.  God is in his heaven, and all is well.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Immoderate Emotions

Yesterday I went to the Going Away Party for ME! at work.  I managed not to cry.  Some of you commented yesterday that it would be good for me to cry.  You probably have never seen me cry.  It is not normally just a tear or two, it is a full-out weep-fest.  Once it starts, it gets a life of its own.

I did "mist up" a couple of times.  There were a couple of speeches by people I love and respect.  They both talked about how much I always had my focus on the safety of patients.   If I had thought about what legacy I would have liked to have had - that would have been it.  I really never thought about "my legacy."   But I always knew my mission there was to make things better/more safe for the patients.  I know that line staff tend to think of people in the offices, "the suits," as people who are only thinking of numbers but I never thought ONLY of numbers - only how those affected the patients.  I am so gratified to know that this was noticed.

I got some gifts, some extremely touching cards, and we had lots of food.  It was very nice.  There is a photo that I will treasure forever - the Medical Director has been pouting for 2 weeks, since I gave notice - he couldn't walk into my office without having a little breakdown when he saw the boxes of my belongings all over the place.  We stood together at my party and made crying faces.  I love him and will miss him very much.

When I ran my first marathon, I was advised by my coach not to allow myself to cry in the last mile or two.  Simply because it takes too much energy.  I have cried at half-marathons and have felt wiped out and nutty.  When you get to the end of a long race you have spent months or years training for, it is extremely emotional.  I have crossed finish lines having virtual breakdowns.  And I have crossed finish lines with my arms in the air and a smile on my face - and I have to say I would much prefer to finish with my arms in the air and a smile on my face.  It is WAY more fun.  And although I sometimes think my emotions are out of my control, it really IS my choice how I want to finish a race.

If I look at my job as a marathon that I have spent 17 and a half years running, I know that I am not yet done. I have two more days.  I have a lot to get done in 2 days.  I cannot possibly allow myself to fall apart at this time.  I will have time to cry AFTER I leave.    But truly, I think I would rather walk out of there with a smile on my face.  Because I do feel good about my career there.

I am going out for the first run of the "spring" session of my running club this morning.  I am so happy to be doing something that is not work or relationship related.  And then a birthday party this afternoon of a dear friend.

It is going to be a great day.  I am grateful I don't have an emotional hangover from yesterday!

"Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 133

Friday, January 20, 2012

The kindness of bloggers

Last night when I got home, I walked across the ice covered street to the mailbox.  In my little mailbox was a key for the big mailbox - and I wondered who could have sent me something.  When I saw the package, I remembered that another blogger said she would make me a pair of pajamas and mail them to me!  I thought the package was rather heavy for a pair of p.j.s, and it was.  There were also two pounds of beautiful cheese and a jar of home-tapped organic maple syrup!  How wonderful!  Thanks to Patty at Calm Acceptance.  It is amazing that over the years, just by looking at a computer screen, we get to know each other and care for each other.   I am humbled by the generosity.

Today there is a hospital-wide going away party for me.  Oh yikes.  I am a bit terrified.  And grateful.  I didn't think they would have a party for me since I am not retiring, just moving on.  But they are, and I am glad.  That place is such a part of me.  I will try not to cry - or at least not cry much.  I do not intend to be weeping, with puffy eyes, and snotty nose.  I have an image to maintain!

Yesterday I was called into a meeting of hospital management.  After I got there, I realized I was there in my new job capacity.  Well, I couldn't answer their questions because I am not in my new job yet.  I told them that.  Who expects someone to be able to do their new job before they even start?  And that is one more example of things that have frustrated me over the years in my current job.  Current for the next three days.

Gratefully moving on.  Stepping into the unknown.  For all I know, I will hate my new job.  That is the chance you take.

I was sober maybe 4 or 5 years when I saw my one and only Indiana Jones movie.  There was a scene in that movie that seemed to me to be the perfect illustration of living when you turn your will and life over to the care of God.  I tried to find a video of it, but all the you tubes have other people's analogies pasted all over them.
  But this is how I have found life in sobriety from time to time.  I just have to step out into the chasm and the bridge appears.  Scary, but good.  Really, really good.

Thank you God.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Under Pressure

Those peppers aren't under pressure, but I sure am.  I have four days to get everything at work all tied into a neat bow.  Every time I try to hand off something, I come back to my office with more work.  "Could you just edit that?"  "Could you just make this one or two little changes?"  Today I am going to say "Good idea, but you will need to find someone else to do it, because I am finished with this project."

Someone I have really disliked at work has asked me to go to lunch today.  I told her that although it would have been "nice," I have a million things to do and will be eating at my desk until I leave.  If I only have four more days there, I do not want to spend any of my limited social time with someone I don't want to spend any time with.

The local blood bank called and pleaded for some of my blood.  I carved out a time after work this evening.  I do not have a clue how this happened, but I have some special blood that is in demand for premature infants and immunocompromised adults.  Here's a quote from a website:  And you have to not test positive for cytomegalovirus (CMV). About 95 percent of the population carries this virus that’s easily suppressed by most adult immune systems. It’d be fatal, though, for a baby in need to receive CMV-positive blood.

So, although I hate it and I am a big chicken when donating, I do donate blood when asked - unless I am close to a big event like a marathon or triathlon.  They call me every 50 days  or so.  Because apparently, I am among the 5% who are negative for this virus.  

I better get out of here.  I have no great words of wisdom today.  I am just "suiting up and showing up" for one more day.  There is great value in that because no matter what it looks like, I am sober for one more day, which makes just about anything possible.  God is able to do his best work when I am busy doing something else, I think.  

So, I plan on staying sober today and I hope you all do too.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I ruined my blog!!!!

Last night I was fooling around with my blog  because I want to have the "reply to comment" feature that Pammie has.  I know that she is having problems with her comments, but I haven't had any problem with commenting on her blog.  I want that reply thing!  And I have no idea how to get it.  In the process of trying, I inadvertently changed the design of my blog, which hurt me.  I have kept my blog the same for years and years, I loved the starkness of it.  I may really play with it now - who knows, tomorrow it may be pink with flowers!

I am knitting the above socks for a friend's birthday.  But because of my blog and pictures I have posted here, I realized that I knitted her a pair of green socks for her birthday last year!  I thought it was a couple of years ago, but I was perusing last year's posts over the weekend and saw that it was just one year ago.  So, I am thinking I am going to purchase her something (like normal people do), and keep these babies for myself. I haven't kept a pair of hand-knitted socks for myself for years now.   Of all the things I knit, socks are my favorite.

My boyfriend and I have been having some "growing pains," we have had some very difficult conversations in the last couple of days.  Last night I think we resolved these issues.  It took me two hours to stop shaking after we got off the phone.  At one point while we were talking, I was shaking so badly I could hardly speak.  I had to tell him that I was shaking, how embarrassing.  I was shocked to be so profoundly shaken by this.

Some things never get easier.  But they do get to be possible.  And I guess that is the good news.  My nature is to walk away rather than have a conversation where I will shake so badly I can hardly speak.  Or going back farther, my nature is to apply alcohol and have a rip-roaring conversation that he would never forget!  

Yesterday at work, I finally cried about leaving.  I went to yet another meeting for the last time.  I no longer have to announce that I am leaving, because everyone knows.  The committee thanked me for my service over the years - I think it is 13 or 14 years that I have been on the committee - and I have missed maybe 2 or 3 meetings over all those years!  I smiled and told them it has been a pleasure, which I really believe.  After the meeting, the physician on the committee sent me an e-mail letting me know that she had finished a huge task for me as a going away gift, and she told me that she will miss me terribly.  I will miss her too.  I do work with some lovely people and I will miss them.

OK, this is enough out of me!  Sometimes I mistake my blog for a journal, and I have frequently regretted that.  People will know things about me that I consider my deepest darkest thoughts - but then I remember that I have put it out here for all the world to see.   But then, I do get to use my blog as a record - when I wonder what happened last year, I do go back to my blog to see.  Sometimes I embed little tidbits in cryptic language that only I will know what it means.  Just to keep a record.

So, I will step out into the world for another day.  Knowing that God is keeping me in the palm of his hand.  I may not see or feel that hand, but I know that it is there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What shall I write when the world is so grey?

In the dead of winter... there is no color.  It is too cold and icy to get outside most days.  I did get out on Saturday morning with a friend from my running club - which was on its one week hiatus between winter and "spring" sessions.   There are too many "resolutioners" at the gym - I cannot go there until February at the earliest.  I feel bound by weather and circumstances.  This is when I normally go to the tanning salon.  It helps - greatly.  But I am not going to buy a membership for a place I will only have access to for one more week - when my life changes as I change jobs.  Oh, it just occurred to me that I could purchase a couple day pass... and I think I will.  I know it is bad for my skin, but it does wonders for my mood.

Yesterday I went to work to put my head down and seriously get some stuff done.  I got some good writing done.  It felt good.  I got to write about Type I errors as opposed to Type II errors, and hypothesized that Type I errors lead to Type II errors because of Alert Fatigue.  How many warning labels do you ignore every day?  We have to or we would go mad.  The insanity of inserting worries about the dangers of drinking shampoo when we never even considered drinking it!  Or, right here on my desk is a tube of foot therapy cream - it warns me "Do not apply in eyes."  Really?

I left work feeling wonderful and decided to go to a movie.  I left the movie thinking that I should have never quit smoking because I do not want to live long enough to end up like Margaret Thatcher.   Why would you take the life of such an exceptional woman (whether or not you agree with her politics) and focus on an old lonely woman with dementia - having conversations with her dead husband?  I am so unhappy about that movie!

For an astute reader, you may read the above three paragraphs and say "Seasonal Affective Disorder!"  And I would say to you, "BINGO!"

Here is the good news:
I am sober.
I know that my relationship with God cannot be gauged by my "feelings."
I also know that "This too shall pass."
I have been down this road many times and have a pretty good clue about what to do.
I have my quarterly appointment with a therapist this afternoon.
I have a job that gets me out of this house and into a world full of other people.

I will turn my thoughts to others, because in the end, that is the ONLY thing I know that helps me when I am feeling this grey winter feeling.  And those "others" can be anyone.  It doesn't have to be an alcoholic.  There are suffering people where I work too.

Today I will endeavor to stop thinking about ME and how I FEEL and turn to God and my fellows.  In gratitude.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Holiday

Last night my daughter-in-law and granddaughter took me out for dinner - for a late birthday celebration.  The man in the photo made my granddaughter scream in terror.  Babies are so funny about what they like and dislike - or hate.  But her mama and nana were there to hold her and comfort her.  Later, she looked at the show at another table - couldn't take her eyes off it - I guess it was safe to watch from a distance.

This morning I went to the 6:30 meeting I have attended for the last 17 years.  I have a real love/hate relationship with this group.  I told them I am changing jobs and likely won't be back except for a rare occasion.  I had a long conversation after the meeting with an old friend.  It was nice to talk with him.

Today, though it is a holiday, I am going into work.  I have a lot of work to get done before I leave.  And I have only 6 work days to get it done.  It is good to be doing this.  On Friday, I went to a meeting with a list of my active and ongoing projects with my recommendations as to who should take over while they hire someone to replace me.  They didn't agree with everything, but I don't care.  I did my part.  The director of the hospital and my former boss walked out with me when the meeting was over and said "This must be a good feeling."  I told him it definitely was.

OK, I am going to get on with this day with gratitude.  God has been so good to allow me to be in this day, I think I will show my gratitude by trying to make the best of it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Boyfriend's Brother

I went to a meeting this morning and heard an old friend describing being called to the bedside of another old friend - while they "pulled the plug."  He did not die.  But as she talked, I began to recognize the person she was speaking of.  She never said his name, and she did not refer to him as her ex-husband, which he is... but after the meeting I asked her and she told me that indeed it was him.  He is on his last leg.

When I was sober a little over three years, I was dating a man who was sober a lot longer than I.  One day I asked him why he had a thirty day chip on his key ring when he was sober much, much longer than that.  He told me about his brother.  He was in prison at the time, but at one point had stayed sober for 30 days.  After he got drunk, he gave his chip to his brother.  And he kept it as evidence that the "program really works."  When the brother got out of prison, he came to AA (as frequently people do), and got sober for a while.  He was movie star gorgeous and quite arrogant.  We were friends anyway.  He married a friend of mine.  He was my boyfriend's brother.  We was in my home group.

After a couple years, he got drunk.  He was a BAD drunk.   Even though he was only in his thirties, he had a couple of heart attacks and strokes.  He moved away.  He would call from time to time and we would talk.  He had speech problems due to the strokes, but I could understand him - with great effort.   I haven't heard from him for a number of years now.

Imagine that, he just wants to die.  And it always seems like drunks who really WANT to die take a long damn time to do it.

This disease takes everything away from us.  Everything.

Yesterday I went to my daughter's birthday meeting.  It was at a group I have never been to.  When I was driving there, it occurred to me that this is the only meeting in the city that still allows smoking.  I don't know how they got to be exempt from the city-wide ban on smoking, but they did.

I walked into the meeting and was hit with a nostalgia so powerful, I almost dropped to my knees.  The smell of an AA meeting!  I believe that "smell" is my primary sense.  Fragrances are far beyond cosmetic to me.  I always used to say that the "perfume" of an AA meeting was my very favorite - cigarette smoke, coffee, cologne, and body odor... all mixed together into a single olfactory delight.

I haven't smoked for over 20 years now.  It has been five or six years since I have been subject to sitting in a room with smokers.  It was unbearable.  Every person in that room was smoking like a chimney - just like I used to.  I think smoking might be becoming the most impermeable social barrier.  I could not hang out with any of those people.  It is not snobbery, it is just impossible.  Thank God my daughter can go there and smoke her little brains out.  Once again, I am grateful for my experience to draw on.  If not for that, I might suggest to her that she is not really "sober" if she is still indulging in an addiction.  But I believe that smoking saved my life in those early years of sobriety, so far be it from me to suggest anyone else should do what I couldn't.

Last year and the year before, my daughter celebrated her birthday at a huge group that has huge birthday meetings every Friday night.  This year, she was at a noon meeting and it was much smaller.  A few of the people from her other group drove across town to be there.  It was good.  I see it as growth.

It's a winter Sunday.  I am watching playoff games.  The Broncos are out.  The game was abysmal last night, but early in the season when they were 1-4, if you had suggested that they would be in the second round of the playoffs, I would have been thrilled.  So I am thrilled with my team and one young man in particular, who happens to be the quarterback.

My daughter-in-law is taking me out for dinner tonight.  How nice.  She is a lovely girl and I am so grateful my son brought her into our lives.  And imagine!  A little baby girl is the progeny of this union.  How much better could you get than that!

Sorry for the stream of consciousness here.  I sometimes do that when I am not in a hurry to get anywhere.  I am just as happy as can be, right here on the sofa, sitting with a football game playing on the TV (go Texans!!!!), and a fire in the fireplace.  Maybe a nap is next on the agenda.

So grateful for the grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  And giving time time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Three Wonderful Years

Here's an odd, but anonymous, photo of my beautiful sober daughter - in New Mexico taking photos of the buffalo behind her.
Today is my daughter's 3rd sober birthday.  Three years ago she narrowly escaped death from a heroin overdose.  She got her boyfriend (who was a super-straight former cop) to pick her up and she convalesced for over a week.  She started going to meetings that she could walk to.  Then on Jan. 30, she found her homegroup... on that day I wrote about it - here.

What a journey it has been for her.  If my own sobriety hadn't been so "sketchy" I might despair that she will stay sober or ever get a bit more sane.  But I know from my own experience that we all have our own journey.  They don't all look the same, and the really don't all look good.  

I will go to the noon meeting where she is celebrating today.  She did decide to avoid all the drama at another group and just go to a place that is more neutral.  I am happy.

Happy, happy, happy.  If I stay in this day and don't try to predict the future.  If I think about it too much I get so terrified I can barely move.  

But if I stay in this moment and enjoy the abundant gifts from God, I am peaceful and happy.  And so is my little girl.  

I love her so very much.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Orange Friday

From my office window two days ago

It is Friday morning.  I am wearing full Broncos regalia to work today.  I have so much stuff from years past, I have a wide array of wardrobe choices to make this morning.  If I were already on my new job, I would be able to go to a Broncos rally on my lunch break.  But, I am not on my new job.

Yesterday I chaired two meetings at work for the last time.  I could never have anticipated how much I would enjoy this.  At one point in the two months of negotiations about this job, I had decided that I just couldn't leave the hospital  - that I love it too much.  And yet, once I made that decision, I have been just as happy as can be.  Maybe the sadness will hit me later, I don't know.  

Today I will attend a meeting that has been hellish for me for many years.  I don't intend to show up there next week on my last Friday.  I have too many loose ends to get tied up - I can't spend my time in meetings that will be discussing things that will be happening in the post-Mary era.  

Do you know that I watched my first football game 25 years ago?  I was 2 1/2 years sober, 35 years old and had always hated football.  But the Broncos were in the playoffs.  Just like today, at work we were encouraged to wear our orange on Friday, and we were allowed to wear jeans if we did.  25 years ago wearing jeans to work was a really big deal.  On that Sunday afternoon, I thought - well, I am willing to wear orange to work, so why don't I try to watch the game.  It was the famed game against the Cleveland Browns - with John Elway's The Drive.  I know I have at least one reader from Ohio who has this drive seared into his memory just as I do.  Only for me, it was a moment that changed my life.  I stood and screamed, all alone in my condo.  My kids were outside and came in to see if I was OK.  I told them I was watching the game - and they looked at me like I was nuts.  But I have been hooked on football ever since.

So, the only conclusion I can draw from this disjointed piece is that things can change without any warning or pre-meditation.

When I was praying this morning, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for carrying me for all of this time.  I was despairing that something needed to change a few months ago... and now it is.  And I didn't have to go out and scheme and plan.

I let go and let God.

What a deal!

(blogger is being very weird this morning - I have now been trying to post this for over a half an hour - here goes again!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So many changes...

See Denver's skyline out there? It's right smack dab in the middle...
I'm sitting here in my pajamas - nothing new there.  But in 2 weeks, I will need to be on a bus by this time.  Like 20 minutes ago.  The blogging in the morning is going to have to go - I will have to blog at night.  I will also not be able to bring my breakfast to work to eat at my desk - too much to carry and I will be in a much more formal environment where eating 2 meals a day at my desk may not be considered awesome.  Besides, I don't want to carry all that crap on the bus.  I will need to dress nice every day.  I need to buy some nice flat shoes.  Shock!  Horror!  I simply cannot wear high heels anymore.  Or more to the point, I have a choice, do I want to be a fit person with healthy feet  - or do I want to wear high heels?  

I will need to be much more organized.  My work day is going to be longer because of the commute.  I will not be able to go to the 6:30 a.m. meeting anymore.  But I haven't been going there much anyway.  I will not miss it, I hate to say.  It has become a group therapy session where the message of recovery from alcoholism using the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is not much welcomed.  It will be wonderful to find new meetings to attend.  

I am thrilled about the prospect of my life changing so dramatically.  Yesterday I audited some charts, and as I put the last chart back in the rack, I said "That was my last chart audit!!!!"  I thought I might feel sad about that, but I am not - I am delighted!  Today I will chair one of my committees for the last time, and I am happy about that.  I have chaired this committee for maybe 12 years?  That is LONG ENOUGH!  

They are having a party for me (which makes me very very happy, because they don't do this for everyone who leaves), and the guy who was making up the flyer for it asked me if I approved.  It was so cute!  It had a flower border and running shoes, a bike helmet, and a swimmer for decoration.  

Imagine a drunk being automatically thought of as a flower-loving triathlete!  Those people never knew me as an obnoxious drunk.  They only know me as a church-goin', flower-lovin', runnin', bikin', and swimmin' girl - who also knits.  (he said he couldn't find a picture of knitting to put on the flyer.)  

I am so freaking excited!!!

By the Grace of God, I have had a life beyond my wildest dreams since that day in 1984 when, in a bathroom of an AA clubhouse, with a couple of other crazy women, we knelt (on a dirty floor) and said:

"God, I offer myself to Thee -- to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.  May I do Thy will always!"  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yesterday I made three grown men cry

There is a tiny speck in this photo that was actually a coyote walking across the frozen lake
Yesterday I finally got the call I have been waiting for.  I have a new job.  I start in 2 weeks.  I gave notice at my workplace - after working there for over 17 years.  And then I walked around and started telling people that I am leaving.  Most people looked at me dumbfounded until they realized what I meant.  A couple of people said they thought I would "always" be there, they can't imagine the place without me.  I assured them that it will go right on without me.  Several people spontaneously welled up with tears, including three men, and that made me feel good.  You really can't fake that.  

I feel very happy about this.  It was hard to make up my mind.  I am leaving a place where I am extremely comfortable.  I am leaving a beautiful office that I have loved - and going to a cubicle!  I am leaving a place that is an easy 10 minute drive - and going somewhere where I will have to pay ~$150 a month to park or ride the bus.  

But I have been hand-picked to be part of a new department.  I am the first person to be hired in the department and will get to be part of the hiring process for the others.  I will get to design our product!  I will be working outside of a hospital environment for the first time in 20 years - and I can't wait.  I will be in an office building downtown.  I will be just a couple of blocks away from the Cathedral - so I can go to mass on my way to and from work - and at lunch if I want.  

It is a new opportunity and I am grateful and excited.  I took my daughter out for dinner last night to celebrate.  She is very excited for me - she has worked in that building and is sure I will love it (even though I will be in a cubicle).  

I am sure over the next two weeks, I will have time to reflect on my time at the hospital.  It has been very good.  I started there when I was just 10 years sober - only 42 years old!  My kids were 17 and 15 at that time.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  I really need to move on.  Start the last chapter in my career. With hope in my heart.  

And I have a bit of that "touched by God" feeling.  I had prayed for something (anything!) to happen, and it did.  It was not my doing, I never applied for the job - I was chosen.  It is a wonderful thing.  

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

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Full Moon Hike

Last night a friend and I took a guided hike - billed as a "full moon hike."  It was lovely, though quite frigid.  When we got to the top of the peak where we would have had a stellar view of the moon rising, we all agreed that the 45 minute wait for the moon would freeze us all, and we made our descent back down.  As we drove away from the park, the most gorgeous orange moon rose over the city.  Oh, it was beautiful!

I am feeling out of sorts.  My future has been up in the air since October, and I still haven't received final word.  My finances are frightening.  I am profoundly disappointed in the man I have been dating and will probably call that off.

As I listened to my friend yesterday talk about retirement, I thought about the - damn, I can't even remember the two little furry animals, one of whom saved for winter and the other didn't.  My friend has been responsible all of her life and has paid the price to have a life that most people would envy.

That is NOT my story.

Oh, it all feels like a mess right now.  I have a kid in Afghanistan, another with a life threatening illness, and another with a penchant for creating life-threatening drama.

I think I am realizing why I have usually associated with other alcoholics since I have been sober.  It is just easier to be with other people like me.  People who have made ridiculous mistakes with their lives, but pick up the pieces and move on to the best of their ability - without spending a lot of time looking back.

OK, so here's what's good:

  • I DO have a job - and I actually like it most of the time
  • I have an opportunity to move on and if that happens it will be a good thing - if not, see above
  • I have relationships with all three of my kids.  I love them dearly.  They love me back
  • There are a couple of women I have sponsored for a while and they are blessings in my life
  • There is a woman across the mountains who has been my sponsor since the last century, I love her and she loves me back. 
  • I am in relatively good health and I don't look as old as I am - this is more and more important as a woman who intends to (or needs to) work for another long while.  People find old men look wise and distinguished, old women look grumpy and sad.
  • Even though I am indeed grumpy and sad today, I will put on my best game face and SUIT UP AND SHOW UP.
"We can believe that God is in His heaven and that He has a purpose for our lives, which will eventually work out as long as we try to live the way we believe He wants us to live. It has been said that we should 'wear the world like a loose garment.' That means that nothing should seriously upset us because we have a deep abiding faith that God will always take care of us. To us that means not to be too upset by the surface wrongness of things, but to feel deeply secure in the fundamental goodness and purpose in the universe." -- Twenty-Four Hours a Day, July 16 Thought for the Day.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Livin' in a Sober World

My granddaughter, watching the birds at the feeder.
I am heading to work today.  In sobriety, I learned to dress appropriately, show up on time, do a day's work for a day's pay, and do that day after day after day.  Early in sobriety, I learned that there would not be a committee commissioned to plan for a statue in the park of my likeness because I didn't call in sick to work for an entire year.

Later in sobriety, I learned that if I happened upon a co-worker at an AA meeting, odds are they would later expect me to "understand" that they had to come in late, leave early, talk on personal phone calls all day, etc... because they were "sober" and therefore "special."

A dear friend used to say that he could judge the quality of his sobriety by how well he "blended" into his community.  Did he "blend" at work?  Did he "blend" in his neighborhood?  Did he "blend" at church?

I am currently working with a woman who was so dysfunctional in her active alcoholism, she is struggling to find what is functional in the real world.  I understand that.  Unfortunately, she is still thinking she might be deserving of a statue in the park for showing up on time to work 3 days in a row.

It takes years for us self-consumed alcoholics to see that the rest of the world functions just fine.  Most people do what they are supposed to do - without drama or fanfare.  When we learn to do that, I think we are on the broad road of recovery.

I thank God for his grace - that he enabled me to get through those crazy first years before I realized that I wasn't the center of the universe.  And what a relief it was when I did!

"We have not once sought to be one in a family, to be a friend among friends, to be a worker among workers, to be a useful member of society. Always we tried to struggle to the top of the heap, or to hide underneath it. This self-centered behavior blocked a partnership relation with any one of those about us. Of true brotherhood we had small comprehension." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 53

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Winter Sunday

My long time readers know that I am a big Broncos fan - but for the last five or six years, there has been very little to cheer about.  So, for today the Broncos are in the playoffs.  You may say their chances are less than average, but let's wait to see what happens.  I will enjoy watching a play off game regardless of the outcome.

My little granddaughter is here with me today.  Her father, my son, skyped us this morning.  How nice it was to see him!  I was amazed at how a little 15 month old would sit still and wait for him to appear on the screen, then he did appear, we talked, and then they touched hands.  It was hard for me not to cry.  It's my humble opinion that families should not be so far apart.  At least they can see each other via skype though.

So, that's my story today.  Just a quiet day, watching a football game with a toddler.

Grateful for the grace of God that allows me to be a sober grandmother.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

Getting ready to go out for my Saturday morning mileage with my group.  It is only 20º this a.m., so I need to wear several layers.  You can see a couple of them in the photo.  And that cute little cube?  I bought it so I could segregate my running clothes.  I have another cube in my closet - full of race shirts.  It is a good way for storage, but not really the best way to keep things so you can find them.  Every time I want some running clothes, I have to dump out the cube and sort through all the stuff crammed in there.

Yesterday the phone call I was awaiting did not come.  I left a message for her in the afternoon.  By 4:00 p.m., she sent me an e-mail that said she was still finalizing things and would get back to me next week.  Since October, I have been hanging out here in the land of uncertainty.  I can last another weekend.

I need to be out of here in 15 minutes, and I am still in my jammies.  I better put a move on it.

Grateful for another sober day.  Thanks be to God.

Friday, January 06, 2012


I am looking forward to today.  I had intended to get up and run - outdoors - but since it doesn't get light until after 7 a.m., I decided to hop on the treadmill.  And since I am sick of the treadmill, I decided to bag it altogether.  I don't usually do any miles on the day before my "long run" with the group on Saturdays.  And since my foot is barely functional, I think it would be a good idea to skip it today.

My future has been up in the air since the end of October.  By the end of today, I should know where I am working.  That's all I am going to say about that.

I am weary of the sepia of winter.  I love bright colors so much.  I love roses and tulips and lilacs.  But my reality is another 3 months of winter.  I end up doing all kinds of things to "trick" myself into not going into a depression at this time of the year.  One of my favorites is the tanning salon.... I haven't been there since July and I am trying to stop altogether.  We'll see if I am able.

OK, I am dull today.  Too much going on.  Too much in the air.

But I do know I am sober.  I am grateful for that.  I am grateful for a loving God who somehow cares for me every single day of every single year.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Versatile Blogger


Lou over at Subdural Flow II, was kind enough to give me the Versatile Blogger Award (wow, and I had no idea that one word in her blog name is misspelled).  I'm probably not very versatile, since my blog is only about my journey as a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. But I am a pretty versatile person... I am supposed to award 3 other bloggers and then list 7 things about myself.  They, in turn, are supposed to write 7 things about themselves on their blogs and tag three other people.  I will chose three, knowing that at least one of them will likely not participate - that is OK.  I just want to acknowledge a couple of people for their consistency.  Pammie at Sobriety is Exhausting, and Dave and Higher Powered.  I read them both every single morning and love them both.  And then there is Scott at Sober Nuggets, he's been blogging for a long time, but takes a break from time to time.

Here are the things about me:

  • Most people who know me describe me as very "funny."  That doesn't seem to come across here.  Maybe most of my "funniness" is in body language, my voice, a laugh, a facial expression.
  • I wanted to be a nun until I had my first drink.
  • My life seems to have turned out "ironic," what I love most of all is homemaking, but need to work to make a living.  Most homemakers don't even homemake like I do.  
  • I realized this "irony" in my early 40s, and quickly got an education (0 to Master's in 7 years) so that I might actually have a career rather than a job.
  • I loved to run (but seem to be too injured for it now).  I started when I was in my 20s, and stopped in my 40s.  I started again at 52, when my heart was broken by a 6'5" cowboy who started drinking again. 
  • I started running long distances when my son was in Iraq for the first time and, like Forest Gump, I just kept running and running.  I ran my first half-marathon at 55, and my first marathon at 58.  
  • I am grateful to be sober.  I believe my sobriety is a gift from God.  My small amount of "work" to maintain it, is just a way of cooperating with God's gift.  
That's it.  It's not much, but it is all I have this evening.  

Thanks Lou.  I appreciate the award.  

Pluggin' into Thursday

I was in the dentist's chair for 3 and a half hours yesterday.  Once the novocaine was in (that is the worst part for me), I was just grateful, grateful, grateful, that I could get this work done.  And that I have a wonderful dentist.  He is older than me (something that gets rarer by the year) and pats my hand and calls me "hon," "sweetie," or "Mare."  Oddly, he remembered that I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and asked me if I was going to be rooting for the Broncos or the Steelers on Saturday.  Pshaw!!!  Broncos, fo-sho!!!

My daughter has her 3 year sober anniversary coming up this month.  She got sober at a group that is heavily bikers.  It really is a good group.  There is, however, a subset of that group - I would call them "wanna-be" bikers.  The have "colors" for their sober biker group.  They act bad-asser than any former hell's angel I have known... and I have known a few.  They are all bluster and very little substance.  They have called her and let her know when and how she can celebrate her birthday.  Really?  Seriously?  Now, I do understand that there are some considerations as she has a restraining order against one of their members.  (The one who 13 stepped her when she was new, and stalked her after she left him.)  But beyond straightening out that HE will not be there when she celebrates her birthday, I don't know how they can tell her anything.    She is now considering not celebrating her birthday at that group.

She asked for my advice, and I was able to share some of my experience.  I have left more than one group because of a man.  I was always willing to do that in order to allow the other person the peace of their home group.  I always had a place to go.  I felt I could go anywhere.  Twenty or more years ago, I used to live upstairs from the two guys who started that biker group and I had no use for them then, and I have no use for those who have come after them.  I don't appreciate them behaving this way toward my daughter.  I asked her if she couldn't talk to someone from the actual AA group.  She said they wouldn't stand up to the biker group.

So, groups like this exist.  I wouldn't want to go there.  But I did when I was new.  And it was helpful to me.  I honestly believe my daughter couldn't have gotten sober anywhere else.  She has since moved on to healthier groups, but she wasn't ready for healthier groups when she was new.

When I see young crazy folks try to walk into a group of middle-aged, middle-class, well-dressed, soft-spoken sober alcoholics - I wonder how this will work.   Sometimes it does.

But I know I needed to be with people like me.  Crazy people creating drama with every move.  When I was able to do better, I did.  And I moved toward people who behaved better than that.  But not till I was ready.

That's what's wonderful about AA in larger metropolitan areas.  You really can find anything you want.

As I have said so many times, I really believe God talks to us in our own vernacular.  It might not seem like the voice of God, but I think he is there - in the holier than thou's in the suburbs to the bikers in city.

I just have to learn to listen.  And thank God.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Facing the Dentist

Since yesterday had such a large dose of unwelcome reality - the $195 ticket and 6 points (not 8 as I had thought), I figured I might as well bite the bullet, so to speak, and call the dentist.  I am financing the cost of the first attempt to fix this tooth and will sit in that most uncomfortable of all chairs this afternoon.  I am scared beyond belief - I have had work done on my front teeth before - and I haven't liked it.  But I have to do it.

This unnatural life-expectancy has some real drawbacks.  I don't think teeth were intended to last 80 to 100 years.  It is expensive to try to get them to.  And it hurts.

I'm imagining that if I were born 100 years before I was, I would have died at about 29 when I had a ruptured appendix.  Or perhaps in childhood when I had measles, mumps, and rubella.  And bad ear infections.  Perhaps I would have died in childbirth.  I would have never had serious tooth problems by that age!

I have always wondered why there was no real solution for alcoholism until the mid-twentieth century.  Maybe it is because very few alcoholics lived long enough to get a full knowledge of their condition before then.

I know there were drunks.  I know that when alcoholism rears it's ugly head, it is terrible, no matter what age.  But it is my observation that it takes years for an alcoholic to realize they need to stop... and that makes a person years older.  You have to live long enough to get old enough for that.  And alcoholics don't have the best health.  We need modern medicine to live long.

OK, my mind has taken a left-turn in sheer terror of this afternoon, as you can see.

I will put my trust in God and walk forward today.  I cannot control whether or not I am afraid, but I can control whether I am going to put one foot in front of the other and put a smile on my face and face the day.  I have to be at work at 8, in clothes suitable for painting  - I have been recruited to help paint a unit that has been remodeled.  Fun.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

On Life's Terms

The site of a beautiful bike ride yesterday

The sight of something I didn't want to see in my rear view mirror this morning.
Yesterday while I was riding my bike in the beautiful winter sun, my phone rang.  I answered it, unlike most normal people who are riding their bikes.  It was a woman from church who asked me if I could come in and substitute for someone at 4 a.m. this morning.  Of course, I said I could.

While I was driving there, I was shocked!  Shocked! to see a police car pull out behind me with lights spinning.  I pulled over and fully expected the policeman to apologize and say he was in error turning on all those jarring lights!  Instead, he told me I was driving 59 mph in a 35 mile zone.  I said "35?" Seriously?  I have driven down this road nearly every day for 10 years, I thought the speed limit was 55.  He said it was 55 further down the road, but not where I was, it was 35 there .  This will cost me $195. and I am not sure how many points... he told me it was 8, but if I mailed in my payment, it would be 4.  But the back of the ticket said if you mail it in, it is reduced by 2 points - not 4.  It also made me 10 minutes late to church... with a woman sitting waiting for me so she could go home.

I drove away saying "It's only money."  It is only money.  It is only money.  But right now, I don't have $195 laying around.  Just like I don't have the $4,000 I need for dental work.  I know some of you make so much money you have to find ways to throw it away, but my situation seems to be getting more dire every day.  It is taking more and more work to keep away the fear of financial insecurity.

Trust and reliance upon God is my only answer.  Well, and some severe belt tightening... when it feels like it is as tight as it can get now.  I can put forward my best effort and know that I can do no more than that.

And let me state the obvious... when you are sober, you can look at those lights in the mirror and know that it is a pain in the wallet, but know you are not getting cuffed and taken away.  And that is a good thing.  The officer asked me if there was a reason I was going so fast, and I was able to say, at 3:49 a.m., that I needed to get to church by 4:00 a.m.  Well, that and the fact that I thought the speed limit was 55, not 35.

I will get myself dressed for work, look as nice as I can, and put in a good day's work for a relatively good day's pay.  I will try to be an asset to my workplace and to be of service to those God puts in my life today.   That's all I know how to do.

I will likely stay sober again today and I hope you do too.