Friday, May 18, 2012


One of my old friends just called.  I am trying to do one million things while on a break from "working at home," so I didn't answer the call.  And although it would have been nice to talk to him, I think he wouldn't have told me what he was able to say in a message.

He has been sick, I can tell he is trying to get out his last words.  He does this from time to time.  My father was very sickly and did this too.  They both have/had very serious illnesses that they keep/kept recovering from, which leads people to tire of their "dying" wishes.  But my father did die one day, and Larry will too.  Maybe it really is this time, I do not know.

Larry said "I want you to know that I have loved you all these years Mary.  I wanted to be with you, but loved you enough to back away from you so that you could have a whole man, not a half a man like me.  I have sat across the room all these years, all these years, and loved you.  I stopped everything so that you could have a whole man, not some old sumbitch like me who is falling apart all over the place.  So, thank you Father, for making Mary, and making her so useful, even when she doesn't know what is going on.  I love you Mary in a place where there's no space and time.  Hold your head up high and smile Mary because you are one of God's special angels."

This caused me to cry, and I am still crying.  It has been so long since I have heard a proclamation of love from a man.  I have known that Larry loves me, but it is nice to hear it.  I will hold this in my heart all day today.  I will call him back tonight or tomorrow.  But there is not a call back required.  He wanted to tell me this, not to get a reaction, but to tell me his heart.

If you are new to AA, you may think those people in meetings are just scenery, or annoying, but if you stick around and talk to people, you will form friendships that are unique and priceless.

Thank you God that I have had a friend like Larry.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

One Last Day this Week to Commute

I am in a whole new demo for junk mail.  Awesome

Don Juan comes to full bloom
Tomorrow I work from home and I am going to find a way to get a bike ride in and maybe a run.  Whatever I do, I won't have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get to work.

Yesterday I was in a small meeting with my boss and another woman, we were strategizing how to get unduplicated survey data for a population that is fluid and anonymous.  My boss said "I wonder what AA does, they must survey to find out if their program is effective."  And without hesitation, I said "They survey every three years, and use a random sample."  My boss is pretty cool, but she did look at me for a split second like "What???"

I am now running 20 minutes late, so I better get.

I hope you all stay sober today if that is your heart's desire.  It is mine.  I have prayed every day for this, and so far my prayers have been answered.  I'm grateful for that!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


This is my Chicago Peace rose.  It is slowly opening.  Very slowly.  I'm pretty sure it is going to be gorgeous.  My kids got it for me for Mothers Day a couple of years ago.

Yesterday was another day.  It reminded me of a day long ago.  I was sober about 9 years I think.

I was working as a temporary for Kelly.  They had sent me to a Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning (HVAC) company for a week long assignment.  During the week I was there, I was told to dodge bill collectors, who were coming to the door - people would scramble like cock-roaches in the light when they showed up.  And I was to lie and say no one was there.  When I opened the mail I was shocked to see the long past due bills and the threats of legal action.  The people were not nice either.   At the end of the week, they called Kelly and asked if they could keep me for another couple of weeks.  Kelly called me to see if I was OK with that.  I told them I would call them back during my lunch break, which I did.  I told them I did not want to spend another week there and I had doubts they were going to pay Kelly for my time there.

My liaison at Kelly got straight on the phone with the person at the HVAC company and told them what I said.  Holy Crap.  When I got back from lunch, I heard whispering all over the place.  (I hate whispering in the workplace, I think it signifies that something has gone terribly wrong, or that it is a very sick environment.)  Then someone called me on speaker phone to tell me that I was not working out and I needed to finish the day, but my services were no longer needed.  As they were telling me this, someone in the room (and I heard on the speaker phone) said - "She was horrible!"  I spent a couple more hours there, some of the most poisoned hours I have ever spent.  The next day I had a long chat with my person at Kelly, telling her the predicament she had placed me in - and asked her if I was just supposed to stay somewhere I didn't like and fail to mention that they might never get paid.  "NO!" was what she said, but I feel her actions told me another story.   And just for giggles, I just googled the company and they are still alive and well, almost 20 years later - amazing!

So, back to 2012.  Yesterday I had to tell some people something they did not want to hear.  And I spent the day in their building.  There were closed doors and whispering.  I was not a popular girl.  Luckily, I had a lunch date with someone there who I have known for almost 18 years.  I told her they had complained that I was "difficult."  She said "Mary G." and "difficult" were two things she would NEVER put together.  I asked her to share that with some of her colleagues.

Through the day,  I remembered my experience at the HVAC company back in the day.   I remembered that I got through that day and would get through yesterday.  And I did.

When I got home, I got on my bike for some miles, got off it and immediately took off running.  If you have never done this, you ought to try it.  Running on rubber band legs.  Fun.  That's part of the story of the triathlon.

And now I need to go "suit up and show up" for another day.  Without God, I would have to hide under the covers of my bed.  But instead I will step out wearing the armor of God.

Let's all get to it, OK?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Morning

I woke up sober, and happy to be so.  I am heading out of here about an hour and a half later than usual - to go to a meeting with my most difficult people.  My boss is coming too.  We are having coffee after the meeting, and then I will go back to the difficult place.  I have a lunch date with a woman I have known for almost 18 years.  I will be happy to sit down and share a meal with her.

Tonight I MUST get on my bike, ride many miles, and then get off it and run more miles.  I have a triathlon in less than four weeks  and my training has been virtually non-existent.  It will be painful.  I tried to get out of it, but was reminded that I talked my friend into registering with me and she will not let me off the hook.  OK.  I will do my best and live with the results - which may involve me being told I have not met the timeframes for the course and not being allowed to finish.  I have finished races last - and have come to accept that - but I have never been told I can't finish.  Some people think I am just being dramatic (such as my friend I talked into doing this race), but I have been in races with someone on a bicycle behind me, making sure I am going to finish by the deadline.  It is not pleasant.

In January 2012, I left my job of many years and set out on a new adventure.  I had no idea it was going to change every single aspect of my life.  But it has.  I think it is good to shake it up as you age because living by habit is not good for an old brain.  My poor brain is tired now, but it is getting plenty of exercise (unlike my body) and I think it is good for me.

I have a sponsee who has just started a new job and when she whines to me now, I tell her MY similar stories.  Oh what fun!

Going out into the world again today with nothing but faith.  If I had no faith, I could not leave this house.  It is terrifying out there!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Road

They say the road gets narrower as you go along in recovery.  I believe that.  I think people make the mistake of thinking the road gets broader, that the longer you stay sober, the more you can "get away" with.  I feel that at this point I can get away with nothing.  I pay dearly for any deviation from the straight and narrow - any dishonesty, any malice, you get the idea.  So far, I have never paid the price of a drink.  I pray I never do.

I am going back into the dragon's den this morning (funny - that's the name of a local AA club).  I have a presentation to make this afternoon.  I have not yet even planned it.  I thought I would do that this weekend, but this weekend I enjoyed my days off instead.  I'll figure it out today.

That's all.  I am just going to work.  Just riding on the bus.  Just living.

Another blessed sober day.  I will endeavor to show my gratitude to God by making the best of it.

I hope you all do too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sorry for posting a daily photo of this Don Juan rose.  It is so beautiful, but I cannot get a good photo of it, so I keep trying!   Today is the third day of rain in a row.  I won't complain.  I have the heat blasting and the fireplace blazing.

I was up all night, just could not sleep.  Listened to John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River.  Amazed to find a description of a car accident on Berthoud Pass that was nearly identical to the one I was in.  Only thankfully, when the car in which I rode veered totally out of control at a great speed, it miraculously did not hit another car.  In the book, the jackass car hits another car, causing two fatalities.

Finally fell asleep at 4, and slept until 8.  What a luxury to wake to sunlight!  My daughter called and surprised me with good news.  We will all be together today.  She will be with her children.  I will be with my children and grandchildren.  There were years that were not like this.  I am grateful for this blessing but mindful of what a painful day this can be for many.

This is my 41st Mothers Day without my mother.  That is over two times the number of Mothers Days I spent with her.

I do wish I could see her and tell her I love her.

But I do get to spend the day with my kids and I will focus on that instead.

Thank God.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Day of Relative Rest

This morning I went out with my running club, and had a wonderful time with them.  After my run, I met a friend to have breakfast and go to a movie.  We saw "Dark Shadows" which was a little bit scary and a whole lot funny.  I love Johnny Depp, and I can't imagine anyone else in that role.

It was just so nice to be doing something that wasn't work, housekeeping, lawn care, or any other kind of work related.

I am now going to take a little nap before I need to get ready for mass.  On the way home I will stop at the store and choose some fruit for a pie for tomorrow.

My son has invited me to his house for Mothers Day.  I think this will be the first Mothers Day that I haven't hosted.  I am very excited about that.  And grateful.

I am just a sober woman today, just going about her business, appreciating a good day, and thanking God for it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Friday Again

Last night I went with my running group for a wonderful trail run.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  The wildflowers and yucca are in bloom.  The air was alive with the music of crickets.  It was so good to hit the trails again.  I had forgotten how challenging it is.  3 miles was definitely enough for me last night!

Today I have another contentious meeting at 10:00 a.m.  I will just put one foot in front of the other and get through it.  And then I have a weekend.

I wanted to say something about yesterday's post.  I regret if I gave the impression that you need to have a prescribed horrible bottom to get to AA and successfully stay sober.  When I got sober, I considered myself a "high bottom," but after a few years, I came to believe that term was meaningless for myself.  On the day I got sober, I woke up in a nice house, with my husband and three kids.  I was a stay-at-home-mom, and had pretty much everything I wanted.  Except peace of mind, except the will to live, except the ability to go through a day without a drink.  I was so full of self-loathing that I couldn't bear to go through one more day.  This is what I call a bottom.  Not the amount I drank, or the circumstances of my life - but the inner despair.

The world feels like a dangerous place to me today.  I am sick of being sought out for discussions about current affairs.  I am a religious person.  That does not make me narrow minded, bigoted, or stupid.  It does not mean I have never thought about things.  It does not mean that I don't love people or that I refuse to understand their feelings.

As I said, I will put one foot in front of the other and get through the day.  By the grace of God I woke up sober today and plan to go to bed that way tonight.  And that, my friends, is nothing short of miraculous.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Thinking about Alcoholism

Chicago Peace Rose
As I got to know the man I dated for the last year, I realized that his drinking was very different than mine.  He is sober, he is glad he is sober, but he has many pleasant memories of drinking.  When we talked about St. Patrick's day, I told him that I went out in my early years of drinking but then stayed home.  I had no use for puking green beer and dealing with all the amateurs.  He said he had many St. Patrick's days that were really, really fun.  He talked about all the football games he went to and enjoyed while drinking.  At one of them, he was seated next to O.J. Simpson and his now deceased wife.  Those must have been some good seats!  He talked about parties and socializing.  I would think "Wow!  I did not have these experiences!"

He was 51 years old when he got sober.  A neighbor suggested to him that his drinking would ruin his relationship with his son, and he went immediately into treatment.  And has been sober since.  He still had a great career, great home, etc., etc.....

When I drank I never knew what would happen.  I might have a great time, but more likely I would get "too" drunk and make an ass of myself.  I would make passes at my friends' husbands, or the friends, co-workers or boss of my husband.  I would fall down and ruin  my clothes, rip my stockings, and embarrass others (myself? not so much).  When I was 20 years old, I got drunk at a Christmas party at my boss' house in very elegant Winnetka, Illinois.  The evening ended with me making snow angels on his lawn, and being unable to get up.  The next morning I got up and found my shoes all tangled up inside my panty hose, which were all in front of the refrigerator.  I went to work the next day having no idea that I had just pissed off nearly everyone I worked with.   I would spend days in bed after days of heavy drinking.  I could not get up to take care of my children.  I drank every day as well as the occasional binge.

My life continued to spin out of control.   Years of drunken stupidity.  Being ashamed.  Wanting to quit, being unable to.  When I was 32 years old, I was absolutely at the end of my rope.  I was a dying alcoholic.  I didn't know what was really wrong with me, I just knew I was suicidally depressed, and I drank too much.  Thank God I got to AA and was able to get sober and stay that way.  I wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth because I was desperate.  I followed directions and did exactly what you all told me to do.  And I stayed sober.

He got sober in a treatment center and followed the aftercare plan to go to AA.  He goes every now and then.  His sponsor died last year and he never ever mentioned getting another one.  He does not sponsor anyone and refuses to.  I honestly think that might be working for him.  I am not sure because I saw some crappy behavior, but it isn't like I never display crappy behavior.  I am not one to call someone a dry drunk, I think it is a silly pejorative term that is ridiculous if you are the kind of drunk I am.  Any kind of sober is good.  A miracle really.

I have thought a lot about how different our AA experiences might be.  I was desperate.  I don't know what he was.  I don't know how you stay sober if you have such pleasant memories of drinking.  Why would you quit?  If I thought I could drink like a normal person, I would probably drink - like a pig - oh, and then I guess I wouldn't be a normal person.

I have done just a teense of research on "types of alcoholism."  Of course, there are articles about this.  One I found particularly interesting is on Web MD and describes 5 types of alcoholics:

  • Young adult subtype - 32% of alcoholics, they don't seek help (I wonder what happens to them, do they all die and never become older adults who still drink?)
  • Young antisocial subtype - 21%.  Many of them have Antisocial Personality Disorder, they also smoke cigarettes and pot.  (again - what happens to them?)
  • Functional subtype - 10%  They drink approximately every other day and suffer no real effects of the "alcoholism" in their lives.
  • Intermediate familial subtype 19% - 1/2 have close relatives who are alcoholic.  (What about the other half?)
  • Chronic severe subtype 9% - mostly men, highest divorce rate, frequently include illicit drugs (did they just wake up one day and decide to be middle aged men who drink like fish?)
There are other articles that suggest that alcoholism is a continuum starting with having a few drinks, which, if you are not careful, can turn into full blown alcoholism.  

I don't know where I would be in any of these descriptions.   I drank alcoholically from the first sip of booze at the age of 14.  I found my answer to life!  It was magical!  Almost every alcoholic I know has just about the same experience.  They never really drank normally, although they may have been able to hide it for years.  From the first drop of alcohol I drank, I found my solution, and that was a problem!

Our culture doesn't want anyone to drink (law enforcement and medical professionals).  And then it wants to push booze down your throat at every moment (social norms and advertising).  It is very confusing.  

But what I am wondering about specifically - the AA critics, are they people who can't buy the "desperation" feature of AA?  If you enjoyed drinking, how desperate would you be?  AA stresses reaching a bottom, although no one would ever endeavor to define someone else's bottom.  They're all different.   They type of bottom I have learned to be particularly suspicious of (after working with alcoholics for over 27 years) is the external bottom.  A DUI, an angry wife, sad eyed kids, whatever.  The kind of bottom I have learned to listen to is the waking up in the middle of night - or even morning, with a self-disgust so deep it is unbearable.  And that causes desperation and willingness.  

I believe those two things are absolutely essential to recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.  That is not really appealing to someone who still has some of what I call "other ideas."  And that is fine, I think they should do all they can to drink normally or quit on their own.  But if you are desperate enough to submit to the ego deflation, confession, restitution, helpfulness to others, and necessity of belief in and dependence upon God that is the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, you will find recovery and a new life.  

That's what I am thinking about.  What do you all think?

If you don't need a new life, I would imagine it would be pretty difficult to submit to the program.  

Fragrant Cloud

It is hard to believe that this little dark red rosebud is soon to be a bright orange rose called Fragrant Cloud.  It is named that for a wonderful reason - it is really really strongly fragrant.  This is along the walkway to my front door, I love that visitors get to have a whiff of rose as they walk to my door.

Yesterday I was feeling ambitious about writing about my ponderings and observations about alcoholism. I didn't have to be anywhere until 8:30 yesterday.  Today is another thing entirely.  I have to be out of here in just over an hour, so I have no time to write this thing I intend to write.  I will try to do it tonight.

I will likely change my header and maybe my blog name - again.  I intend to express some opinions and with the header "I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous," I probably shouldn't do that.  I had a blog name I really liked at one time - "One Sober Alcoholic"  but someone came along and called himself something so similar that it confused me and everyone else so I changed the name to "Being Sober."  Well, all I ever wanted this blog to be is a daily writing by someone who is just One Sober Alcoholic.  Just one.  Not speaking for Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole.  But writing as one who has been blessed to be able to come to AA and get sober and stay that way.

But it's going to be a 12 hour work day, so I might not get to it tonight.  I have yet more problems at work.  I am telling you, this is hard on a person.

Yesterday I went to visit someone at my former workplace.  He is facing an unwelcome retirement.  He is my age and is dreading retirement.  I talked about how good it is for people of "our age" to step out of our comfort zones and do something different.  I told him how I left my comfort there and stepped out and am now mostly uncomfortable.  He laughed, but he knew what I meant.  I am so grateful I got the guts up to go visit him.  We had a love/hate relationship over the years - but the truth is, we HAD a relationship for over 17 years and I need to honor that.

OK, gots to go!  Say a quick prayer for your friend Mary Christine if you can.  Whatever is going on today, I have a new green jacket to wear and that can make a day pretty good!

Thanks to God.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

This is an actual rosebud in my actual garden in actual real time.  Well, sort of real time.  It was taken yesterday - not last year.  I should have actual roses in bloom within a few days.  I am sure they are loving the rain.

This morning I am heading over to a meeting with my biggest challenge people.  I am going to go in there knowing that I am the expert on our discussion - because I am.  They have intimidated me in the past and I am not going to allow that to happen today.  I can be kinder when I acknowledge my strength.  When I am feeling picked-upon, I feel not so kind.  They will likely pick on me because that is their nature.  That is their nature, not mine, and I do not have to respond in kind.  I can come from my own place of strength - and kindness.

I have been thinking a lot about alcoholism lately.  I think we in AA view it is one monolithic disease.  It seems the "professionals"  don't even call it alcoholism (they call it alcohol dependence), and see in it degrees and shades of grey.  They also have an abysmal record of bringing about even basic abstinence.  AA supposedly has a pretty low rate of recovery too, but I don't believe that.  We are anonymous which makes it terribly difficult to track us.  AA does a periodic survey (I think it is every four years), I know that I have not been surveyed since 1989.  I think their sample is flawed.  I could certainly be wrong about that.  But I do KNOW that I have not been included in any AA statistics since 1989, when I was five years sober.

Anyway, my point is, I would like to explore the topic of alcoholism in the next little while.  The reason this has come to mind is the fact that I am now tracking statistics for this (not being more clear because I do not want this blog to come up in any search), and also because of my former boyfriend.  When we talked, it was clear that we were two different kinds of alcoholics.

But I don't have time right now.  I am going to go "suit up and show up."  And pray for God's grace to get me through another day.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Pouring Rain on Monday Morning

It's a rainy Monday morning and I say "Perfect!"  That's just how it feels inside too.  I am glad to have a couple of raincoats and a couple of umbrellas - although I can only use one of each at a time.

Yesterday I failed to get excited about the flowers at the nursery.  I walked around and walked around.  Everything seemed unexciting and too expensive.  I usually get tons of petunias because I love the way they smell.  But I usually find vibrant colors.  No such thing yesterday.  Only anemic looking pinks and whites.  A few dark purples.  No neon pinks or bright bright red.  Nothing that I was willing to pay for.   On the way there I had told my neighbor that I was not buying geraniums this year because they tend to be pricey.  The ONLY thing I bought yesterday was $60. worth of geraniums.  They are the bright orange red that I love.  I filled up my planters on the back deck and the front porch with them.  I think they will be pretty.  If they lived through the cold night - I haven't checked yet.

I had a moment at the nursery.  My neighbor and I each walked around independently, and in the end, I could not find her.  I am so melancholy that the sight of couples coming straight from church, holding hands, while they looked for flowers for their houses. made me feel so sad.  I was in this state when I found my neighbor.  There she was, smiling to see me.  And I thought - why on earth do I NOT appreciate what I DO have instead of longing for what I DON'T have?  I have wonderful friends and family.  I need to focus on that.

And today I will focus on the fact that I have a job.  It is a good job.  I have probably the best boss I have ever had in my life.  I enjoy my co-workers.  I like the people on my floor.  I am working in a new process and people are very resistant to change.  I cannot take this personally, but I have.  Basically I have a job where I am dependent upon people who are not invested in the process to provide me the data to create a meaningful work product.  As Syd reminded me last week, GIGO, the old acronym for "Garbage in, garbage out."  Unfortunately, the garbage out is MY Product. And these people do not know me!  I do not have 17 years of history here to fall back on.  Thankfully, thus far, they trust me.  I hope I can maintain that trust while I am acting the fool, crying in offices, and having a melt-down.

Today I will endeavor to give it my best shot.  My goal for today is not to cry.  I will put my nose to the grindstone and not be needy.

I will do my level best to turn my thoughts to others.  Because when I focus on myself, it gets real ugly, real quick.    God can help me to do this if I ask.  I will ask.

And I will thank Him for another blessed day of sobriety.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Can't think of a title.

This year's roses are almost in bloom.  The peonies are about to pop.  Today is the day of my annual visit to the nursery with my next door neighbor.  She asked me last night if I would mind if we didn't go to the nursery, but somewhere much cheaper.  I told her that would be good for me too.  I feel like my income has vanished before my eyes.  Like sand slipping out of your hand.  Having pay cuts for the last four years while living in an inflated world is sad, scary, and discouraging.  I will be buying only a few plants this year.  But the things I really wanted in my yard are well-established now.  So, I will be OK with a meager purchase of annuals.

Yesterday was awesome.  Family fun.  My son has a large back yard, and the kids were able to run around and enjoy themselves.  We played lawn darts, barbecued, ate, talked, laughed and enjoyed each other.  My three children and three grandchildren were all together.  It was delightful.  My nephew is soon to leave for Japan.  I will miss having another family member in the state.

I cried through mass this morning and didn't have a handkerchief or kleenex with me.  I better start carrying them with me because I think this sudden tearfulness is not going away any time soon.  I cried in my boss' office three times last week - which for a woman of my age is something so verboten, I can't even imagine that I have done this.

Another neighbor loaned me her $4000. bicycle for my race.  Heartbreakingly, I cannot ride it.  It is too big for me.  I can barely clear the bar and when seated my feet do not reach the pedals.  I could adjust the seat, but the frame height is permanent, and my own height is going nowhere but down.  So sad.  But so nice to witness first hand such generosity.  I will return it to her today and start getting used to the idea that I have a triathlon in a month that I have not and likely will not train for.

I had planned a big bike ride today, but it is cold and windy and I am so tired.  I think I will call it a day to spend with my plants and my laundry.  And maybe a dreamy little nap this afternoon.

I am trusting God that I am going to get through this depression.  But I must say that for now, it really sucks.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Domestic Bliss

Oh, I guess for most people "domestic bliss" would mean a happy marriage, the pitter patter of little feet, etc.  I probably mostly realistically thought that at one time too.  But now I am 60 years old.  Divorced.  Grown kids.  - So in this age, I would call a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables "domestic bliss."  I am baking two pies, grilling vegetables, and making sauerkraut for our lunch today.

I have been so overwhelmed lately, my son very very kindly suggested that we have our get-together at his house today.  He has a big back yard, toys, a couple of big TVs with Wiis (sp?)  There will be seven adults, one teenage boy, two pre-teen girls, one eight year old girl, a six year old boy, and one tiny baby (well, she is 18 months old now).  This is awesome.

So, while my butter is chilling for the pie crust, I thought I would take a second to post something here.  I went to my old homegroup this morning - it was good to see everyone.  I haven't been there since I started my new job.  I was very relieved that my old friends think my new hairdo is awesome.  Doubt has set in after a couple of days - it is so high maintenance - but if it looks good I don't care.

I get to go be with family today.  That might sound ordinary to you, but I never take this for granted.  It is a blessing beyond measure.

Thank God I am sober, or my day would be extremely different than this "domestic bliss."

Friday, May 04, 2012

Into the Dangerous World

On Sunday I got out the sidewalk chalk so the little baby granddaughter and I could draw on my driveway and sidewalk.  I love writing on the sidewalk.  We used to do that when we were kids.  We would take a stone and etch a hopscotch board onto a driveway or sidewalk and play for hours.  Imagine, being entertained for hours by a simple stone and a flat surface!

It is such a shame that kids don't get to play anymore.  They are shuttered indoors, participating in activities designed by their mothers, fathers, and caretakers.  They frequently have their noses glued to an electronic device.  They are not allowed to get out in the sunshine without sunscreen.  Can't ride bikes without helmets.  Their adults manage the schedules of "play dates" and other commitments.

My kids grew up during the first phase of this new paradigm of raising kids.  They grew up in the era of the first "milk carton kids."  Yes, I was terrified by this.  But no, I did not allow it to change our behavior.  My daughters always had roller skates and entertained themselves for hours roller skating outdoors.  We moved around a lot and wherever we went, after a few months all the kids had roller skates.  It was delightful.  My son played army with his friends, and was always dressed in camo.  I think it is so hilarious that he has dressed exactly the same way for his entire life.

My alcoholic daughter went a little bit nuts when she was a teenager.  In fact, she went so nuts that she might be considered every parent's nightmare.  She spent most of her teens in hospitals, treatment centers, rehabs, and residential facilities for teenagers.  She would thrive under the structure imposed by these treatments.  However, the minute she was set free, she would go nuts again.  She learned nothing about making decisions.  I think now with 3.5 years of sobriety and at the age of 33, she is just beginning to learn to self-regulate.

Her twin sister apparently thrived in this dangerous environment I provided for them.  She is a successful young woman.

Somehow we all survived all the hazards we have faced.  I am so so so so so grateful to have grown up in the 50s and 60s and that I have the scars to prove it!

So, I shall step out into the dangerous world today.  I have a battle to face this morning.  I am so fortunate to have a boss who supports me.  I will need her support today.  After next Wednesday I will have approximately two weeks of relative peace.  I will get to go out and about and meet with people and work on real things.  I will get to sit down and actually think about my work instead of rushing to meet deadlines.  And then it will begin again....

I am grateful to be sober.  I am grateful for a loving God who always has my back.  I am grateful to be listening to birds singing this morning.  I am grateful that in a few minutes I will be walking the downtown streets that I love so.  This is my city.  The city where I got sober, and that will always make it HOME in my heart.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

I don't have time this morning to write anything meaningful.  Today I will need every drop of composure to get through all the volumes of corrections I need to make.  It is particularly frustrating because I used what other people gave me, and now they are sending e-mails (copied to every big shot they could think of) with lists of corrections.  Cool.

But I will just ride the bus to work and sit at my computer and make the corrections.  And sometime before tomorrow at 5:00, I will be done.

One little Excel cell at a time.  One graph at a time.  One Powerpoint slide at a time.

So, I shall get to it!

Imagine if I was drunk.  I would show up (maybe) at work this morning with booze on my breath and a hangover so bad I wouldn't be able to think.  Maybe I would think up some brilliant retaliation on these people.  Maybe I would just say "f--- it" and not do it.  But I don't have to behave that way today.  I get to choose what attitude I bring to work with me.  And when that is difficult (like every other day), I get to ask God to help me.  And he never lets me down.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

May Two

Right now I am sick to death of writing about alcoholism and AA.  I got a ridiculous comment on one of my old posts from some old guy who thinks he is the world's expert on AA, of course he needed to correct me about what I wrote about AA traditions.  With a link to his website where he SELLS books he wrote about AA.  Awesome.  He has come along every couple of months for the last 6.5 years, but yesterday it just really irritated me.  He boasts to me about his 26 years of continuous sobriety, as if that would end every argument - in his favor.  Well, if you want to play that way.... just sayin'.

Yesterday all of the buses were delayed by protests blocking city streets.  There was a large contingent of a union marching down the street.  And then the occupiers are staring to occupy a different park since they have been thrown out of the park they occupied last summer.   They were having a sleep-in on the street last night, so it should be an interesting commute today.

Today will be an 11 hour work day.   Yikes.  I think I am actually getting used to the pace and the intensity of the job.  I did my monthly product without wanting to kill myself this month.  Believe me, this is a huge leap forward.  I guess I shouldn't speak so soon, because it goes out for corrections today, and I will start on the corrections tomorrow.  Hopefully there will not be many.

I have an update on the woman I have been sponsoring and having such difficulty with.  She is normally hysterical, upset, and a little bit paranoid.   Last night she called from her mother's hospital room.  She told me her brother is going to prison.  She needs to repo a car from her sister-in-law, etc., etc., etc.  But after a minute or so, I realized that she sounded calm and composed.  I understand.  I wonder if it is an alcoholic trait to handle the bad times better than the good times.  I used to be this way.  I don't think I am anymore.  But I was always grateful that I didn't fall apart when I REALLY needed to be together.  I think she shares this trait.  And I am so grateful she can be there for her mother.  I am also grateful that I didn't fire her when I wanted to. I prayed about it and every time, I felt I was being led to hang in there with her.

So, that's it from me.

I am planning on staying sober today, with God's help, and I hope you do too!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Yesterday I had two meetings, one of which I was dreading terribly.  The first meeting was at the hospital where I was employed for 17.5 years.  When I was walking down the hall, I saw my old boss and waved.  She did not wave back!  I was delighted because I realized that she didn't even recognize me with my new hairdo!  It happened a couple of times.  I went to my daughter's office, she wasn't there, but I walked in anyway.  She came in right behind me - she had seen "some lady" go straight into her office!  When she came in, she realized it was her mama!

Then I went to the meeting with four people I complained about to their bosses last week.  Needless to say, they were not exactly delighted to see me!  I prayed up a storm on my way in.  The meeting was uncomfortable - maybe one of the most uncomfortable hours I have ever endured - aside from being in labor, or getting a root canal.  But I lived through it and at the end, two women who have been rather hostile to me invited me to lunch with them!  We had a nice time, just eating and chatting like human beings instead of worker bees.

I left the restaurant feeling very relieved and happy.  I called my sponsor as I was driving home from work.  We somehow got on the subject of early sobriety and having overwhelming problems that our sponsors helped us deal with.  She talked about a $50. utility bill she couldn't pay.  She called her sponsor thinking she would loan her the money.  Instead, her sponsor told her to call the utility company and tell them she couldn't pay, and make an effort to work something out.  She was surprised and delighted when they were willing to take a smaller payment.  I had a similar experience in my first year of sobriety.  I couldn't make my car payment.  My sponsor told me to call them.  I thought "yeah, great, Bill W. could call his creditors back in the 1930s, but this is 1984, and I owe money to GMAC, they are not going to want to hear my tale of woe."  But I called them and imagine my surprise when they made payment arrangements with me!  GMAC!

Baby steps lead to great strides.  I had to walk into that meeting that terrified me yesterday - and I got to the other side of it.  I feel like I moved forward about 1,000 miles yesterday.

And going to my old workplace was extremely good for me.  I walked into the CEO's conference room and just sort of shuddered.  I had spent so many hours of my life in that room.  In the last few years, they just were not pleasant.  It was good to remember that.

So, I am stepping out in faith again today.  I know God will hold me in the palm of his hand as I trudge forward.  I am grateful.

I am also grateful for your kind comments yesterday.  I felt kind of bad when I got them because writing that I am going to stop blogging is not a thing to do unless I am really going to stop.  Yesterday I thought I would.  Today I feel like myself again.