Wednesday, February 29, 2012
But today was a nice day. I had a very productive meeting and then another meeting at the hospital where I worked for so many years. I sat next to my old boss who was awful to me and actually thought "I don't have to be nice to you anymore." Then I probably looked at him and smiled. Oh, if he could only read my mind! I don't have to be nasty to him either, but it is nice to know that he is no longer such a big player in my life.
I got to join in a party for Mr. Potato Head which was great fun. There were party prizes - I won a potato! Others won potato chips, a potato peeler, etc. It was just silly. And that was good.
Ryan Seacrest: "What are you sweating most tonight?"
Heejun Han: "Mostly water."
And he can sing!
I need to find the joy where I can. And this is it for today!
Today I have meetings at my old campus. I was there yesterday too. After all my meetings are over, my old co-workers and I will be having a birthday party. For Mr. Potato Head's 60th. I will bring my Mr. Potato Head and so will many others. It should be silly fun. I am in dire need of silly fun.
I may be able to go to the yarn shop after all this. I am almost done with the second pair of socks I have managed to knit in one month, they were given to my daughters for their birthday. Knitting on the bus is awesome, and I need to have another project in line. And if you have never had a pair of hand-knit socks, you are really missing something!
I am looking forward to this day. Another sober day. Like a little pearl in a long necklace of pearls.
Let's all be pearls together, shall we?
Monday, February 27, 2012
|pho fo' one|
I met a woman from my alma mater's alumni relations this morning and we had a cup of coffee. She asked me how I got into my career. I told her I would love to tell her and asked her if she had a minute. She and I had such a pleasant hour in a downtown Starbucks. It was nice to be with someone who I could just tell my story to and not need to feel ignorant about anything.
My lunch appointment did not show up, so I headed over to the pho restaurant I have been wanting to try. She called later in the afternoon, very apologetic. I can relate to forgetting things I really don't want to forget. We will have lunch next week.
I was in an utter panic this morning. I talked to my boss when I got to work. She reassured me. As I was talking with her, I thought about something in the big book: "have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 86. That used to puzzle me when I was new, but I have found over the years that this can be big things and small things - I can tend to sit and perseverate on them, when they could easily be resolved by getting them out in the open.
So, I will hit my bed now, thanking God for another sober day. And for a sober way of life that makes things infinitely more tolerable.
The meeting was good. We both left feeling wonderful. My daughter said "Oh momma! Let's do this every Sunday!" I said "sure," knowing that this likely won't happen. That's OK. It was nice.
Later in the afternoon, I decided to get in my car and try to find the place where I am supposed to meet my boss next week. We are going to drive to a hospital in another city and want to meet up somewhere so I can park my car and she can drive. I got so lost, and ended up doing something so boneheaded I could barely believe it. As soon as I realized my error, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw those flashing blue and red lights.
You may recall that I got a serious speeding ticket in January. There were many points assigned to me. Yesterday I sat and tried to figure out how many points this disaster was going to cost me. And how much money. I wondered if this would be enough points to lose my driver's license. And wondered at my sanity. I told the policeman I was "so lost." And I was.
When he went back to his car with my driver's license, car registration, and proof of insurance, I sat in the car and said the prayers of a drunk woman. "PLEASE get me out of this one. PLEASE, I will do anything, etc." I don't know when I last prayed like this. I usually pray the way I have been taught - "Your will, not mine, be done."
The policeman came back to my car after an interminable period of (my) agony. He lectured me sternly with a clipboard in his hand. I had the worst sinking feeling. I apologized and told him that I realized my error at about the time I saw his lights. He then handed me his card and told me he was not issuing a ticket but giving me a warning. I burst into tears and thanked him.
I shakily drove home and stayed there for the rest of the day.
I think God listens to the prayers of the desperate. I know he listened to me when I was a newly sober woman desperate to be sober. And I believe he listened to me yesterday. And I know that I need to stay close to him. I may be in a situation nearly as dire. I believe I am cruising to crisis - but hoping to avert.
Last night I talked with my sponsor for a long time. Thank God for her. And thank God she has known me for a long time and knows me so very well. I really need her.
I need to be out of here in a matter of minutes. I want to humbly ask for your prayers. And humbly ask you not to lecture me. Thank you.
And no matter what, I will not pick up a drink today - and hope none of you do either. By the Grace of God...
Sunday, February 26, 2012
We have common friends in my home group. I love to go there and she has expressed her desire to go with me. She was familiar with the group long before getting sober - she would come there once a year or so for my birthdays or other special events. She has known many of the people in that room since she was a child. She finds that comforting and I can't begin to tell you how comforting it is to me.
Did I ever tell you all about the time I saw my friend R. there and he looked at me really funny? He asked me how I was. I said "good!" He asked me how my daughter was, and then it was my turn to look at HIM funny.... I said "why?" He said "oh, nothing." Well, you know, I couldn't let that rest. So I bugged him until he told me.
When my kids were growing up in a strange fractured family, they learned to call me their mother. Their father and step-mother were called their "parents." So, my friend R. heard my daughter say "my parents hate me." And he thought she meant me!
I laughed and told him the deal.
And then I called her and asked her to please think about using the term "parents" around my friends, because they could reasonably expect that she is referring to me!
OK, gotta go. Loving Sunday Morning. Loving the flowers on my table from the man. Loving the left over steak in the fridge that I shall enjoy later today. Loving that my daughter wants to go to my home group with me.
Thank you God!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Last night I took my daughters out to celebrate their birthdays. We went to one of our favorite Ethiopian Restaurants. We had such a lovely time. I got to see my daughters giggle together. Addiction had stolen that from us. Recovery is bringing it back. Thank you God.
There will be several hours free this afternoon, I hope to take a nice long nap. Then I hope to pop up, ready to go to church, and then out for dinner and a movie with my fella.
Today, as always, I am relying on the grace of God to get me through. I don't know that I have ever been this comprehensively tired before. But I have faith that this day will be another wonderful sober Saturday. I hope yours is wonderful too.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
- For the bus driver this morning who drove so carefully and got us all where we needed to be
- For the freedom to work at home tomorrow
- For my daughters, who will be celebrating another birthday next week
- For the Ethiopian Restaurant where we love to have a birthday dinner (tomorrow night)
- For a nice bed that awaits me now
- For a book on Audible.com - right now it is War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
- That World War II is over
- That I live in a country that doesn't ask me what religion I am
- In fact, that I got to spend all of Weds. afternoon with ashes all over my forehead - and people were, for the most part, respectful of that (cultural sensitivity anyone?)
- That my son and daughter in law are only a few weeks out from a second honeymoon in Ireland - they will meet there when he leaves Afghanistan. - other grandmother will keep baby.
- For my big sister who gave me some sage advice recently: Don't tell them how old your kids are! That's as good as telling them how old YOU are! I don't look 60, so I am going to stop telling people I am.
- For a loving God who helps me through each living day, sober.
- For loving people in my life -
- Including my Blogger Pals.
Yesterday was a bit of a disaster for me. I had woken up at midnight the night before and stayed awake all night. I worked for eleven hours yesterday on no sleep. I had a telephone meeting with a bunch of people who were using a speaker phone. I couldn't really hear them and their idea of the purpose of that meeting and mine were very different. But I swear I could HEAR them rolling their eyes at me. It wasn't good.
I went to Mass at lunch and got ashes. The Cathedral was absolutely packed. And many of the people were saying the old responses - that we stopped using at Advent last year. People love Ash Wednesday. And that's good.
My boss told me to come in late today. If it wasn't snowing, I would either drive in or park my car at the nearby park 'n ride and take a later bus. But I do not want to deal with driving today and I really don't want to end my day by scraping the ice and snow off my car and driving in this. So, I will take the latest bus out of my neighborhood. At 6:50. (maybe I will pray the bus doesn't show up so I can take a snow day?)
I started the week feeling great after a long weekend where I deliberately got a lot of sleep. Two days in, I am exhausted again. My hope is that I will get used to it, and that I will continue to find ways to sleep later by preparing at night and by skipping things.
"We can believe that God is in His heaven and that He has 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 and 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." - July 16 reading from Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
|Viewing the present through the past|
And as I sat there, I thought about the e-mail from my ex-husband I had seen on my phone while I was walking to the rally. I have stayed in touch with him over these last almost 20 years since our divorce. I think it made sense to me at one point, but maybe I am ready to say - hey dude, you terrorized me for years, you stole my life savings, you broke four of my bones, in three different incidents. I really have no interest in chatting with you or getting your latest "FWD: FWD: fwd: FWD: Forward, Fwd: FWD:" e-mail.
When we divorced, it was important to me to keep it on good terms. That is always my preference. But is there any reason to be on good terms with someone like that?
Every boyfriend I have ever had in these last twenty years has had an "issue" with this. Including the current one.
But I don't take kindly to a man who wants to tell me who I ought to keep in touch with. I learned that was a bad sign many years ago, and I won't go down that road again.
Now my own soul tells me I am having an "issue" with this.
I hope I can get used to discussions about these things that still seem to be able to turn me into a bowl of jello, a weeping bowl of jello. And yes, I have written inventory on this over the years.
I am grateful tonight that by the Grace of God I stayed sober through those years. And that I am sober now. And that I live in a nice little house that is mine. And have a nice little bed with clean, crisp, white cotton sheets where I will lay my head tonight - without worrying about where my purse is or how much cash is in it.
Thank you God.
Monday, February 20, 2012
|Another scene from summer|
Today I wanted to see what I was doing 6 years ago today - and it was amazing to read it here on my blog. My daughter was in the depths of her disease, my son was getting ready to go to Iraq (at the height of the war), and our family felt like it was being torn to shreds. I was grateful that I had the program and my friends to see me through this time. I am still grateful for that. It was a hard time.
And today has its own challenges. Very different. My now sober daughter is very sick and had to make a middle of the night trip to the ER last night. She has got a terrible ear infection. She has an old friend at her apartment taking care of her. Hearing his name makes me cringe, but I must trust God and let go. She is sober and I believe that. She says she absolutely was done with drugs and alcohol, and I believe that too. I know that is my story. I hope to God it is hers too. These "kids" she used to hang around with have taken the course we often hear in meetings - locked up, covered up, or sobered up. She is now past the age I was when I got sober, and I know I wasn't a "kid" then. I was older then than I am now. I think she and her friends are too.
Tonight I had dinner with my longest sponsee. She is someone so dear to my heart. It was so good to see her. She has made tremendous progress over the last year - and it has hurt like hell.
So, I will get ready for another day.
Thanking God for another sober one today. xoxox
|Roses of Summer - it is hard to believe you will ever return....|
A man came and sat next to me. He has known me since I got sober. That means he is sober longer than me. I am so grateful for those who came before me. And particularly grateful that many of them are still around. Our paths have been closer than now over the years. I was engaged to a man who was a dear friend of his, so we used to take trips together and stay in the same houses. I know his wife. I know him. He understands the deep wound I carry around from that relationship ending. He told me a few weeks ago that the man I loved so dearly is still asking about me. He still pines for me. I know what his pining looks like because he was pining over someone else when we first met. Oh, if he only could have stayed sober!
In the meeting a young man was called on. He said he was grateful to be sober, and that he would like to listen because there were so many people there who had so much sober experience he really liked to just sit and listen rather than talk.
The rest of yesterday I reflected on what is different about this group and the other one. The one where so many people are going in and out and in and out and in and out.
First of all, there is a strong core of sober members. They are not shy about telling someone when their head is up their ass (sorry for the vulgarity, but I cannot think of another way to say this). They are not shy about suggesting that people ought to try STAYING sober instead of "keep coming back!!!!" They are not shy about talking about GOD. And the STEPS. They actually WORK with others instead of just coming to meetings and talking about how great their sobriety is. They actually know each other outside of the rooms. It is a strong group.
OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. I am grateful as can be that I can drive 30 miles and be at this miraculous little place.
Today I am having dinner with a sponsee. It will be good to see her. It has been a couple of months. She is very dear to me (even though she is skinny and I am not).
And I keep thinking about something that happened on Saturday. There is only one woman in my running group that I don't particularly care for. I have tried to like her. I have been as nice as I can be to her. There were three of us talking, and the woman I don't really like mentioned that she was "drinking a bottle of wine every night." And then having a hard time sleeping. The other woman said that she drank a bit of wine, but found that if she didn't drink it, she slept better - sounds like a normal drinker to me - she can quit if given a good reason to. The other woman, the one I don't really like said "Well, should I go to AA Mary?" in a very snotty way. I thought that was odd because I have never said anything to these people about being a member of AA - they know I don't drink, but I never had a good reason to tell anyone of my alcoholism or recovery. I said to her "Only you can make that decision." I thought it was a great answer for thinking on my feet - it did acknowledge that I am, indeed, an AA member. And that I wasn't taking "D"'s inquiry as lightly as she intended. Hell, I don't know if she has a problem, but she did sound like she might think she does. And if she is one of us, that "bottle" of wine, is probably more like two or three.
When I think of all the AA meetings I have sat in, and spoken in, over the years - I realize that probably all sorts of people recognize me and know all the gory details of my life. I have had that experience before - in a restaurant some stranger walking up to me and talking about things I only tell my closest friends - or people in an open AA speaker meeting. Yikes.
I have an appointment in 8 minutes. I better get away from the computer.
Let's all stay sober today, OK?
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I guess if someone had to say what the topic was, it would be slipping, using marijuana while "sober," slipping some more, drinking, drinking, using drugs, and drinking. I felt like asking if anyone in the room was sober.
Then a man I have known for a long time opened his mouth and I had to thank God for him. He talked about STAYING SOBER! He talked about STEPS! He talked about the PROGRAM of Alcoholics Anonymous. Then he called on an older woman who also talked about staying sober and a spiritual program of action called Alcoholics Anonymous.
Do you know that I came to Alcoholics Anonymous a hopeless drunk. You guys made some suggestions and I followed them. On my second day of sobriety, I got on my knees and asked God to relieve me of this need to drink. I literally felt it leave. After eighteen years of daily drinking, it left me. And it literally has never returned.
Oh, I have had my moments. My sobriety hasn't been a smooth line of happy living. But it has been sober. I have had a few moments of temptation over the years, but they were quickly gone - when I did what you suggested - I prayed and reached out for another alcoholic.
People do get sober in Alcoholics Anonymous, and they stay that way. It can be a "normal" course of this disease. It can and does happen every single day.
For anyone who is sober, can we please think about what our message is at meetings? It might feel good to say cute things like "we don't shoot our wounded," but seriously, we have the means to keep them from being wounded in the first place. Wouldn't it be kinder to pass that on?
This program works. People recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. Recover.
There is a book that describes exactly what we did. It is called simply "Alcoholics Anonymous." Read it - the black on the white, between the capital letters and the periods. And then do what it says.
Somewhere in there, it says:
"It works, it really does." -- p. 88
Yesterday I went to a meeting at my old workplace. It was nice to visit with some friends after the meeting. But the oddest thing is that as I drove up the road to the hospital, as I had for over 17 years, there was no joy that filled my heart. There was no excitement. There was just a sort of sick feeling. The good things there, for me, are in the past. I have wonderful memories of when the hospital was still large, I had many friends there, and seemed to have a good career ahead of me. In the last 5 years, all that changed. I thank God I was able to leave - because it was difficult.
I think my blog has turned into a bit of a bore - with me perseverating on change. Oh, and how tired I am. But the change in my life is massive. It is not only my workplace and how that has affected my schedule and sleep routine, but I also am no longer able to get to the AA meeting I picked up during the week. Mind you, I didn't like and don't much miss it... but I am still figuring out my meeting schedule too. It's weird to be 60 years old, 27 years sober, and have everything be new again. But it is good.
Gotta go. I hope you all have a wonderful, sober day - and I hope I do too. By the grace of God, I will likely stay sober. xoxoxo, MC
Friday, February 17, 2012
I am working at home this morning and have a meeting at my old workplace this afternoon. I have four days in a row that I don't have to wake up at 4 a.m. I have always claimed to be an early-bird, but I am beginning to wonder because this schedule is really taking a toll on me. In my old job, I never set the alarm because I knew I would be awake by 6 at the latest. But now I wake to an alarm because I need to be on the bus by 6:15. I will get used to it.
I got an e-mail from one of my sponsees the other day - it was a response to one of my Valentines poems. She wrote "Roses are red, violets are blue, I am skinny, how about you?" And then she told me about her new startup business selling some kind of weight loss scheme. Holy crap. Over the course of many years, I have loved this woman and spent untold hours with her - nursing her broken heart, listening to her life, etc. And now she's trying to sell me a weight loss product? It may take me another day or two to be able to get on the phone and talk to her about this.
Nothing is forever. Much as I want it to be when it is good. When I love someone, I hope that this will last until my dying day. And I know a lot of that is a decision - a decision to love someone after they have offended, or done something I don't like, sometimes terrible things.
The bottom line is: On a sunny day in 1984 (I don't really remember if it was sunny, but likely it was), I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understood Him. I never took that decision back or changed my mind. Therefore, things happen in my life that I don't expect. Most of the time, the surprise is wonderful. Sometimes it isn't. But with God's Grace, I know that I can get through anything.
Who could ask for more than that?
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I am not bitter. But I am tired. I went up on the roof of my building today and took some photos, just because I needed to get away from my desk. I am really enjoying being downtown. It is so different from where I have worked for so long. But it is nice. I can walk to the Cathedral for Mass at lunch, and I just realized there are confessions every day at 11:30 - so I can go to confession straight from work if I start talking crap about someone! I can walk to the nail salon and get a manicure. I can walk to about a thousand restaurants. There is even an AA meeting at noon within walking distance. I have not yet gone there. I am sure I will.
I did go to the pool this morning before work. And then, because I didn't exactly follow the schedule I had planned, I drove to work and paid $6.50 for parking. And it was worth every cent of it. It was nice to leave when I felt like it and walk to my car and drive home. I stopped at the grocery store and bought a nice salmon fillet for dinner. Salmon fillet, edamame, and small red potatoes. Oh, it was lovely.
Now I must go to sleep.
I will first say a prayer and thank God for another day of sobriety. They told me when I was new to ask him in the morning and thank him at night. It has been working for me, so I think I will just keep right on doing it.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
This morning I got on a roll with the ridiculously bad poetry. I sent little poems for Valentines Day to all my family, sponsees, and the man. They all seemed to like them. Here is a sample:
Roses are red
brown is an otter.
If I wished for anything,
it'd be you for my daughter.
Tomorrow I shall try to go swimming before work. I have figured out a different bus to take from the bus station. I need to be at the bus station by 7:20 a.m. That doesn't sound too difficult, does it? Well, actually it does. But I will be in bed before 8 p.m. tonight, and then I will be up before 4 a.m. tomorrow and I hope to be able to do this.
My life has been one big re-evaluation since I started my new job. I can tell you that things are going to have to go, but I don't know what they are yet. Blogging is not likely to be going - but I do need to do it at a different time. My blogging at night has an entirely different spirit than my blogging in the morning. I am just not very serious, I am tired, I am not as kind. But I cannot blog and do everything else I am trying to do in the morning.
So that's all I know tonight. I have lived through another day of my life sober. I was thinking about that today. I thought about how a person might decide to wait until after VD to stop eating sugar crap. Or wait until after Easter. Or wait until after whatever. There is always something. Unfortunately, people do that with their drinking. Some don't live through it.
There is no day like today. Because truly - there is no other day.
Today is the day. Pammie says she will stay in today because that is where God lives. I think he is more than happy to help us stay sober today. Not next week, not after our vacation, after the big game, after the party or the wedding. Right now, in this day.
All I have to do right now is wash my face, brush my teeth, and go to bed. I will thank God for another "today" of sobriety.
Happy Valentine's Day to you.
May some of your love dreams come true.
But if you're a drunk,
Your dreams may be junk,
So, I wish you sobriety too.
And now you know why I don't think of myself as a poet!
My migraine is gone. The world is beginning to look like a nice place again. I will get out there amoungst 'em, and see what happens today.
I had my Valentine's Day date on Saturday night and it was lovely. Do you know that I have a philosophy about love and attraction as a person with a history as I have?
I believe, from many years of hard earned experience, that if I meet someone and immediately am drawn to him as a moth to a flame, it is pathology. Earlier in my sobriety, I used to say that I was looking for love of the educational variety. That is, that I would meet someone and first fall in like with him, later fall in love. I am drawn to men who are alcoholic, angry, and sometimes abusive. I would hope, in the future, to avoid men like this.
But what do I know? I have seen many relationships that started in very inauspicious ways turn into lovely marriages.
The world doesn't boil down to hard lines of formulae. It is softer and lovelier than that.
Happy Valentine's Day. My fondest wish is that I will end my day thanking God for another day of sobriety. I hope you all do too.
Monday, February 13, 2012
|The tiny baby's tiny feet, while sleeping|
Over the weekend, yet another story broke in the media about sexual abuse at the hands of an "AA leader." That's what the news story called him. It seems he lured a woman to a hotel room so that she could work on a step where she told of her past misdeeds. There was no true sexual assault, no clothes were removed, but there was inappropriate touching.
At dinner on Saturday night, a lovely night with the fellow I have been so ambivalent about, we discussed this. I hate to say that I very nearly "blamed the victim" in this case. What the hell? Who has a male sponsor? Who goes to a motel room with a man from AA? Who calls a tiny touch an "assault?" Why hasn't AA done a better job of talking to the media about what we are and aren't?
My fella was very kind and reminded me of how very vulnerable we are when we get to AA. He is right, of course.
I think what irritates me is the fairy tale of AA being a "safe place." When you look at it realistically, you have to see that this is a ridiculous idea. We are all alcoholics, in various stages of recovery. Some of us aren't in recovery at all, and some of us aren't even alcoholics. AA might be more realistically called a "safe place" for criminals to hang out and practice their chicanery.
Please, if you are new to AA, use some judgement about who you trust. Think of AA as a barroom, with the same cast of characters, only now these characters are sober. You wouldn't leave a bar with any old person who asked you, please don't go off to a motel room with someone of the opposite (or same) sex and think it is going to be innocent. And if someone is posing as an "AA Leader," run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Our Second Tradition says clearly, "Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern."
All that said, AA is a wonderful place once you have found your way around. There are wonderful, sober people there who are willing to help you to get and stay sober. I have taken sober alcoholics into my home and into my life and family - and I have been taken in by others. I would trust them with my life, and I know they feel the same way about me.
There are people who really truly practice these principles in all their affairs, and then there are those who don't. But please don't think that every person sitting in an AA meeting has good intentions. Most do, but some don't.
I really believe that God has permitted us to survive into our eighth decade. Left to our own devices, we are a mess. But there is a God and he has graced us with sobriety and a sober fellowship. For those of us who are sober, let's treat that with the respect it deserves, OK?
(Sorry about the lecture, I am tired and have a migraine which kind of takes the softness out of me.)
Sunday, February 12, 2012
My son just skyped, so we got to talk with him for a while. It is sweet to see this little baby blowing kisses and waving to her Daddy. He will be home in under 2 months. I will be very happy when he leaves that part of the world and comes home.
Yesterday morning after my run, I went to a meeting I have never been to before. I was feeling shaky after the run in memory of the woman who was abducted and murdered. I was glad I went though. It would have felt very bad to stay at home and feel like I am so hobbled by my experience. So, I went, but I did feel shaky.
At the meeting a man was celebrating a year of sobriety. His sponsor was there and brought him a beautiful cake. There was another man celebrating two years. It was a nice meeting. I think I will go back to that meeting.
So, it is another Sunday morning. People are waking up sober. Grandmothers are watching their babies. The Sun is shining. Sober people are going to AA meetings. People are celebrating sober birthdays. Families are reunited. Children aren't worried about their parents being drunk.
If I needed reassurance that we have a God who loves us very much, the above paragraph would do the trick!
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Blogging while upset (BWU) has never proven to be a good idea, but I am going to do it this morning.
I am considering not going to my running group just to avoid ugly confrontation.
We are devoting today's run to a woman who was killed while running (I'm not adding her name so I don't come in searches). It was a tragedy, it sounds like she was a wonderful woman. I am all for running in her honor.
But what has got me really upset is that they are framing this as a "reminder about safety." Really? Someone (an organization dedicated to running women) posted on facebook yesterday that women shouldn't run alone. Shouldn't run with headphones. Shouldn't run in remote places. Shouldn't, shouldn't, shouldn't.
To me this suggests that this woman would still be alive if she had only done a few simple things. Like change the whole way she lived. That it is really her fault for being on a remote road alone. Like that would be too great a temptation and would virtually ensure her murder.
I feel like asking "Have you ever been abducted and raped?" Well, I have. And every time I hear these reminders about safety, I wonder - why can't we get rapists off the streets instead of telling women to live in fear?
When a man is murdered, we don't tell men to stay inside and not subject themselves to this dangerous world!
I wonder if I can go to my run without getting into an argument. This stuff really brings out some strong passion in me. Most things I can just let roll of my shoulders, but not this.
I will go back to my prayer chair this morning and pray for a while and see if I get some divine intuition.
I could use a prayer or two. I don't care how long ago my past is, it still creeps up and slaps me in the face from time to time.
Friday, February 10, 2012
I am in bed because I fully intend to be asleep by 7:30 p.m. I would like to get one ten hour of sleep night and this is my big chance. I have a date tomorrow night and I have the baby all day Sunday. All good things that will keep me awake.
I would like to get a Valentine's Day gift for the fella, but I have no clue. Maybe I can find a way to go shopping tomorrow.
That's about it. I'm tired. I'm grateful. I'm sober. I trust in an infinite God rather than my finite self. It works better that way - or I might find myself drunk enough to try to believe a mesa at 8,000 feet is a prairie in the midwest.
Not today I won't. Today I will rest my sober head on my sober pillow and drift off to sober dreamy land.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Today was challenging. My job is very cyclical. I am scrambling to find things to do right now. I do not do well with this.
And today I think I had a bit of on-the-job-PTSD. If I start misspelling words, you will understand that I don't want to come up in searches for these things, OK? I went to a meeting of an organization against doomestic vioolence (hey! I think I like that spelling!). I was seated at a conference table with a bunch of young, long-haired bright women, a woman my age with short grey hair and hippie clothing and jewelry, a black woman with dreadlocks, and the token man. I was introduced to the group, I gave a very brief presentation, and then I sat down to observe their meeting. I started to take notes (which I consider a default defense mechanism) and saw the handwriting of an old person coming out of my pen. I could not make MY handwriting come from my hand. Then I discretely held my hand still and found that it wouldn't be still. I was shaking so badly I couldn't write. Holy Cow.
I listened to these people for an hour and a half and not once heard anything I considered judgmental or harsh towards persons who are suffering from doomestic aboose. That was encouraging.
But I sat there thinking about being taken away from my home by the police because a neighbor had called and reported that "he" was beating on me again. When they got there, "he" was perfectly calm and collected and told the police that I was a mentally ill alcoholic and that he had been going to Alanon to try to learn how to deal with me. He failed to mention that I was sober for 8 years and he was also an alcoholic. I was a basket case, as any woman who has been beaten usually is, and wasn't quite as articulate as "he." They had to arrest someone, so they were going to arrest me. They didn't end up arresting me, but they did drive me away in the back of their car. I think they dropped me off somewhere, like a load of something distasteful. A one armed man from my AA meeting let me stay with him for a few days, and then I went "home." Sounds delusional, doesn't it? It isn't, I can assure you. This is now nearly 20 years ago. Praise God.
I thought of how my daughter had recently been able to leave her creepy b.f. by going to a shelter for aboosed women. They kept her there for a long enough time for her to get her wits about her and they counseled her so she could get her own housing and some financial things in place. That shelter truly changed her life. She is now in her own apartment and going to school full time. She still has a social worker from that program who comes and does a visit to her apartment once a month. Now, THAT is a program that works. And I am glad I know where the funding is coming from for that.
I will get used to being on the professional side of this equation, but I am not quite there yet. This really highlights for me how long ago all of this was and how different my life is today. Only by the Grace of God, really, truly. I could not have gotten me to there from here. There is no logical way. But here I am. Sober, healthy, happy, unafraid of what will happen if I close my eyes to go to sleep. I haven't hidden my purse under my mattress for nearly 20 years! And a stranger put a heart on the bus window today. Just a nice little gift.
Thank you God!
|Every five years or so, I want a McDonald's hamburger and fries. Yesterday was that day. (530 calories for the burger and fries)|
I cannot tell you how many nights I was awake listening to him on the phone. Drunk. The drama. The insanity. And for some reason, this man just could never get the idea that being sober is so much easier than being drunk. I was afraid of his bottom, because I thought there might not be a stop before death.
Last night as we caught up, I heard of the nearly lethal assault he suffered outside of a bar in Washington, DC. He had years of reconstructive surgery on his face after that. The marriage to an abusive man and the nerve damage to his right hand after he attacked him with a knife and nearly severed his arm. On and on. And on.
But he never wanted to hang out with a bunch of bums (his words). He never wanted to be embarrassed by not being able to join in a social drink. I spent more hours than I would care to admit trying to get him to see how ridiculous this was. Last night I didn't even bother. He is in his 40s, and he can decide if his life is working or not. When he asked about me, I certainly didn't have any assaults or near death experiences to tell him about. Maybe that's too boring?
In the afternoon, I was in a meeting with a bunch of folks. I found out that protracted abstinence is not a realistic prognosis for an alcoholic or drug addict. The normal course is relapse and repeated treatment. Really? I wonder if they ever considered that there is something defective in the treatment. Truly, this is an artifact of anonymity. I honestly think they do not know that there is a whole group of alcoholics and drug addicts who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. But in order to do so, we have to hang out with a bunch of bums. We have to submit to a leveling of our pride. We have to turn our thoughts to others. It is not appealing to alcoholics.
It would be easier to sit in a therapist's office and talk about how my parents fucked me up. How society wronged me. How my life has been one bad break after another. And then needing a drink to deal with it all.
Thank God there is another way and people are still finding it. I think it is ironic that what appeals to an alcoholic is the way that leads to a life of misery. What is less appealing is the way of finding a life beyond our wildest dreams. True, un-interrupted sobriety.
Thanking God today for so many things. Sobriety is always on the list.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
I hate to belabor a point, but I am doing all kinds of things I don't normally do this week. I know some of you discretely might jot something down during a meeting. I really don't have a problem with that, I don't think most people would. I was talking about a meeting where two women, on opposite sides of the room had spiral bound 8.5 X 11" notebooks in spread out front of them, and they were furiously transcribing the meeting. Pammie wrote about it yesterday, approaching it from a spiritual angle.
I will also tell you about something that happened to me when I was in my first six months of sobriety that probably changed my life. There were all sorts of shenanigans going on at my group. I was alarmed. I honestly thought "Great, AA is going to fall apart just when I get here!" A friend suggested that I take my Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and actually read about the traditions. I thought that was something for "later." But I read them. Then I read more. And more. And more. There are wonderful books about AA's history and how the traditions were hammered out on the anvil of experience... something like that. Bill Wilson had quite the way with words!
One of the most important things I learned was the meaning of the First Tradition. The Common Welfare comes first. That means that I don't say things like - "I don't care if my group told me not to do this, or that you don't like it - it is GOOD FOR ME!" We learn to put the welfare of the group before our own personal welfare because our personal recovery depends on AA unity.
I highly recommend reading books like "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers," "Language of the Heart," "Pass it on," Etc. Books about AA and its history.
Must get in the tub and out of here to work. Today is my big meeting. I am excited! I keep marveling at the fact that I have this new job. I tried for years to find a new job, and it never happened. Then one day in October, my phone rang and here was this opportunity. I see it as the answer to a long, long prayer.
I think I will stay sober today and hope you all do too.
Monday, February 06, 2012
|Acadia National Park|
Now we have two women taking notes at the meeting. The first one got on my nerves. She was told to knock it off but didn't. I decided it wasn't my home group and I don't feel like getting into it. Today, there was another one. Taking notes. Referring back to her notes while she was sharing. She told us all about the acronyms for FEAR. Oh God Save Me From Rolling My Eyes - that's not an acronym for fear, but it was my prayer. I think I rolled them anyway. Then the other one asked her to repeat them for her notes. That was when someone intervened and said "No - if you need to ask her something, do so after the meeting."
But honestly, taking notes in meetings? How is that OK?
When we say "Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here," That's about anonymity. A meeting is supposed to be a place where you can share honestly without fear of others repeating what you said. I will never forget my old boyfriend Ed confronting me - yelling at me - when I repeated something someone had said in a meeting. I was horrified. I had no idea that was wrong - I thought a meeting was a public place and if you shared it there it was public knowledge. Not so. Now, I don't have any secrets these days, but if I did, I wouldn't share them in a meeting where there were two people taking notes!
I talked with the chair of the meeting after the meeting. I explained to him why it might be a bad idea for someone to take notes during the meeting. He was honestly dumb-founded and told me he would talk to her. I guess he never considered that it is an anonymity issue. Neither did anyone else apparently. Except for me and my buddy Larry. So, hopefully, this nice gentleman will nicely explain to her why she should just leave the notepad at home. Because she cannot be blamed for it - how would she know unless someone talks to her. Thank God it isn't me, because I don't feel like being that patient right now.
So, I head back to the office tomorrow and I am very grateful about that. I worked at home Friday and today. I miss seeing people. Today I did get to go to a meeting where I saw a bunch of people I used to work with. I hugged a woman who made my life a living hell for a number of years. Thank God for the program, I had to pray for her for many years. And today, we can smile and hug each other. I ask about her son in the military and she asks about mine. We never mention those awful years. That, my friends, is evidence of a Living, Loving God in my life.
Who knows what can happen when we truly turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him? It is a wonderful adventure to find out!
|This is a photo from last summer.|
In AA, we learn to be grateful for whatever comes down the pike. We learn to find what is good in any situation. I'm not saying we are grateful that Aunt Edith died, but while attending her funeral we may be very grateful to see our long-lost cousin or some other thing. We may actually thank God that we have lost a job when we find another - or when we learn to be humble and not so greedy. I don't think this is a natural attitude for an alcoholic, it is something that becomes a good habit. Like any good habit, it takes a bit of work to get there.
When I see a newly sober person still blaming - the courts, the judge, the spouse, the parents, the kids, whoever or whatever - I see a person who isn't "getting it." A person who is likely to stay sober is one who will focus on their own side of the street - taking responsibility for their actions. Digging deep in inventory to find the root causes of dysfunction. "Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened? Though a situation had not been entirely our fault, we tried to disregard the other person involved entirely. Where were we to blame? The inventory was ours, not the other man's." (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 67)
So, that's been my observation over the years.
And now I need to get out of here to go to an AA meeting before I get to work. I am working from home today with one meeting on the grounds of my old workplace in the middle of the day. I am looking forward to the whole day.
I am thanking God that I am a sober woman who is capable of gratitude and responsibility.
Sunday, February 05, 2012
|A pizza with green peppers I made the other night|
Last night we were at a social event together. She introduced me to someone as her sponsor. Then she said "I wouldn't be alive without this woman!" I told her that is not the truth. I really don't believe it is the truth. She went on to elaborate about how much I have helped her. That's great, that's what sponsors are supposed to do.
In good sponsor/sponsee relationships, you will hear the sponsor say "you have helped ME tremendously." Because, in my opinion, sponsorship is a two way street. It is a reciprocal relationship. It is not a one-sided proposition where one person has all the questions and the other has all the answers. It is a relationship where we SHARE our experience, strength, and hope. Someone told me long ago that in AA, we don't TELL anyone to do anything... we simply share our experience. I believe that.
Recently with this woman I have begun to tell her what to do. I have begun to sort of lecture her. I have begun to be the "expert." Now, I know a lot of you are very comfortable with that, I can see it in the way you write your blogs and by the blogs you follow. But I am not comfortable with people who define themselves in these ways. Not the experts, nor the helpless.
In AA there is not supposed to be a hierarchy. Our org chart is inverted, so that the group is at the top. The group. Not the individual. We do not have leaders. We are a collective.
Most of my peers, in terms of length of sobriety, are gone. They have have died or left. Some of them come to meetings regularly in order to be a big shot. They call it "paying back." They would insist that they no longer need meetings, they just come back to "help others." I find it gross to listen to them. They don't share, they tell. They lecture. They give speeches.
I am sober today by the Grace of God. That means I can get drunk, just like everyone else. I am not immune. I did not reach a sober anniversary and become an "expert." I am a drunk, that is why I belong in an AA meeting. Part of my sobriety is helping others. But as someone who understands because I have been there, not as someone who is perfect and therefore can give everyone else advice.
I have be out of here to meet my running club in 15 minutes. I better get dressed.
I think today I shall step off the soap box and attempt to live in unity with others, just the way God intended me to. And I will likely stay sober if I do that. I hope you do too.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
|It took an hour and a half to shovel this wet, heavy snow.|
|Poor Saint Francis, he is buried in snow.|
|This is the scene I posted yesterday. The little angel is totally covered now.|
I have been knitting a pair of socks and talking on the phone. But there is a limit to how long that is entertaining. I think I hit that limit last night. Funny, it still doesn't seem like a great idea to clean out closets or my desk. Maybe by the end of today.
Thank God that in a life of sobriety, there are not many urgent needs. I have enough food in the house. I don't smoke. And I don't need to go out and get more booze. I might have been in trouble without yarn and needles though!
Friday, February 03, 2012
|Photo of snow from my warm window - I am not going out there!|
I just had a long chat with the sponsee I mentioned yesterday. I talked to her about choosing what she focuses on. She made some outrageous statements and I did some reality testing with her. Like "I am as poor as a person can be!" I told her that was simply not the truth and told her why. She agreed. I told her she has simply got to stop telling herself all of this awful stuff that isn't even the truth.
Early on in sobriety, somehow I learned that I could decide how I wanted to look at things. I am not saying that I am always on the sunny side, because I am not. I have to work to maintain a positive attitude - it is not my nature. But thanks to years of practice, I have learned that I CAN choose how I respond to life. Life will always have its challenges, but I can decide whether that will make me or break me. Prayer and meditation also helps with this greatly. I cannot start a day without prayer and expect that it is going to be good.
I am happy, happy, happy to be sitting in my nice warm house, looking out at the snow. I am happy that I have work that I enjoy that I can do right here at my dining room table. I am also happy that after living in this house for over ten years, I have just started using the gas fireplace in my living room, it makes me warm, cozy, and well, happy!!! I have no idea why I have only used this on rare occasions (like Christmas) before this year.
Today I am thanking God for too many blessings to count. But Number One is my sobriety. I think, with gratitude I will likely stay sober today and I hope you all do too.
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
This morning instead of sitting at my computer, I got on the treadmill and ran a couple of miles. After I was done running, I had to move as fast as I could to get ready and get out of here on time. But I did it. And that was good.
Intellectually I can know that exercising will give me more energy, but when I am bone weary, the last thing I want to do is exercise.
So, I worked for 10 hours today and spent nearly 2 hours on the bus, but I still feel alive tonight. I am about to sit down and do one of my favorite things in the universe - yes, American Idol!
Can I ask you all a question? What do you make of a person who is sober for quite a few years who is still having a crisis a day? As a sponsor I have walked her through the work, listened to her, suggested everything I can, and still every day, the same old, same old. She seems to have a spiritual awakening about every other day. But the next day it is gone.
I honestly cannot relate. I have lived through crises, but I always found a way to be grateful. I learned to turn my thoughts to others and get on with life. Whether I liked my circumstances or not.
I don't get it - last night it was because her husband gave her daisies instead of roses for an anniversary present. Really? You have a husband? He buys you flowers?
I feel bad for her and I do really like her. But I am at a loss. My sponsor told me to drop her probably a year ago. My boyfriend suggested I drop her about 6 months ago. I don't want to hurt her, but I don't seem to be helping her. I am baffled here.
OK, I gotta go watch Idol.
Thanking God today for big and small things. A great new challenging job. A daughter who makes me so proud I could burst. Clean buses. Nice downtown restaurants. A boyfriend who calls me just for fun. A pair of green socks I am knitting. A green chair to sit in and a TV with a favorite show on it.
And I am sober to enjoy all these things.
God is Good! And he must love me lots!