Merry Sober Christmas…to Me!

I need to keep the “Singleness of Purpose” in the forefront.  And I also need to rejoice in it when I succeed.  But I when I am hanging on to the life of sobriety by a thread, keeping the “Singleness of Purpose” is great but rejoicing or giving myself credit for doing so, I am not so great at.

December 25

While my life is sorting itself out and I am trying to learn how to live, life goes on around me, yet I am right in the middle of it.  When I go to meetings, I hear every one’s tail of woe, I find it easy to find gratitude mostly that I am not them.  But as I drive away, the dread of being me rolls in like fog over the bay.  Then I think some more. I get really pissed at myself because I really have so much to be grateful for and I say it over and over again, write it down, try to turn anything that is negative in my thoughts around to positive. That isn’t helping today.  When I refocus on my “Singleness of Purpose…” I made it through Christmas without drinking.  No say it again, louder this time…“I MADE IT THROUGH CHRISTMAS WITHOUT DRINKING!!”  

Will Someone Just SHUT HER UP?

My Mom and her 16 y/o dog is here for the holidays…I am grateful for a Mom that is of sound mind and can take care of herself and her dog-most of the time.

Power is out…A multi day ice storm brought our area to a grinding halt, many still have no power and this is multiple days.  We lost power for several hours but he have it now, I am so grateful.

Our Pellet Stove is broken…for the thousandth time.  I am thankful for blankets and power, again. (the list goes on but I will spare you.)

Down the Road

Things will be different.  My Mom is aging, we got power back.  So many things could be worse.  I hear it every day, I think I will hit another meeting tonight, there is one just down the road.  For that I am grateful, most of all.

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And Away We Go…

6 Months

Last week I picked up my silver chip.  Six Months – no drinking.  Parts of me think that 6 months is an eternity, while other times it doesn’t seem that long at all. I sat in a chair in a homeless shelter thinking I would die and hoping I wouldn’t, on the eve of the first day of Summer.  The longest day of the year, certainly felt that way to me.  I jumped from meeting to meeting that day because I didn’t know what else to do to not cave in to drinking.  It is my first time in AA.  All I heard in that first meeting was, “Keep Coming Back” and that was all I could do.

Making Amends

I have spoken in this blog before about an old friend of mine that looked me up on a business trip and wanted to “make amends.”  This happened about a year before I decided to go to AA. I had no idea what my old friend was making amends for but I was so happy to see him and even happier to see him at peace, I couldn’t imagine why he felt he needed to apologize for.  As he struggled to explain what his life was like before he got sober some 20+ years before, I was part of that life.  I also was drinking then.  The day we reconnected, I was thrilled with my choice of an iced tea at a local pub.  I have no idea why I did not order my normal “pop pop” but I didn’t.  He drank coffee and we had a great visit.  While he made his amends, he planted a seed.

Higher Power

I spent the next year after swilling down vodka, dodging bullets both professionally and personally.  I have no idea how that happened.  I have no idea why I didn’t end up in jail with a drunk driving charge.  I have no idea why there was such a rapid decline into the abyss of alcohol those last 6 – 8 months.  But it happened.  And now that I look at it, I was treading water for many years as a high functioning alcoholic with an angel on my shoulder. For that I am grateful.  Grateful beyond belief.

Each Day Had A Thousand Hours

In the early days of my sobriety I had reconnected with my “Old Amends” friend and asked for his help and support.  He gave it to me with love like something I had never felt from anyone.  It is hard to explain.  Over the months we have kept in touch and he has made sure to answer my calls or return them quickly. When my head is making me crazy, he has been that old familiar feeling of a friend that can help me laugh at myself. He has known me for 30 years and has been one of the angels that has gotten me through.

My Lucky Day

On my Silver Chip Day, I got a text from my old friend.  I expected a “Congratulations!”   But what I got was “I am 8 miles out, save me a seat!”  I couldn’t believe it.  We had had a sizable snow storm and he lives 5 hours away!  AND this was a week day!!  I  figured he was kidding but saved him a seat anyway.  Just as the meeting was getting underway, there he was coming through the door, my knight in shining armor.  Smile on his face and outstretched arms, my old friend had driven all this way just for me.

Bond of Steel

It seems that the bonds of the AA fellowship are something I could never have understood before last Summer.  While I realize that our relationship is far and away from JUST the fellowship, it is the fellowship that has taken two broken people and brought them together again.  I do believe my Higher Power has this huge plan that I am but a chess piece.  I just have to wait and see what move he has for me now.

Scrambled Eggs

Sometimes I swear that if someone were to look inside my head all they would see is scrambled eggs.  Yes I am living my life “One Day At A Time” and I am not drinking.  Today I got up, it is Monday and I swear my head is floating up above me like a balloon, I need to keep hanging onto the string.

I Thought I Could be Normal

A couple months ago, I felt like life was floating along like a gentle stream and I was a leaf floating along in it. No big blow-ups. no drama, no drinking or drugs.  This went on for quite a while.  I was going to meetings, working, living life.  I was so relieved that I didn’t have to stress out knowing where I may have hidden my bottle or how I was going to get into it without anyone looking.  I have so many situations where I am in tight quarters that it was getting harder and harder to get “my licks in.”  That stress is gone.  Trying to get on the road to see a client without shaking to death before or while I was there, that stress is gone.  Finding bars open early enough in the day that were “under the radar” to satisfy my habit, that stress is gone.  So why today I am a nervous wreck?

I Got Up Late

This morning the bed was warm and in New England it was dark, setting up for a dreary day.  My meeting is at 7:30am and I dragged myself to it, the reading was good but my thoughts were scattered all over the map.  I got home and my dog had thrown up.  I cleaned up, went to my office (which is in my house) and couldn’t get inspired to do anything even though there is a list of things I need to do.  A couple hours of staring at the screen and doing some menial tasks my dog threw up again.  This time I was pretty nervous, he seemed to be having trouble, I took him out and walked around with him. Shortly, we came back inside. Things weren’t right. I decided to call the vet, my heart was racing and I was really nervous.  Probably the last time I took the dog to the vet I was “comfortably numb” actually I am sure I was, I was anxious then because I didn’t want to be caught!  And the last time it was for shots for the dogs- no sickness. When I called the vet’s office they were nice and accommodating, said they could sneak me in an hour or so.  My heart was racing and I was inches from tears.

I Gotta Get Real

I turned my music over to something more “zenny” meditated for about 15 minutes to try and get my heart to pump inside my chest. Yes my dog was sick but right now he wasn’t yacking up everywhere, he was calm. I put the kennel in my car.  It was snowing, so I was a little concerned with the roads and wanted to leave earlier than usual.  But I was trembling.  I love my animals so much.  My boyfriend seemed pretty relaxed about the whole thing but I couldn’t get past it.  He didn’t even go with me.  I prayed in the parking lot before I went in, cited aloud how grateful I was that the vet could see me and that I had money to pay for it.

Wait and Watch

My dog was happy to see the vet – even tried to hump his leg a few times.  He jumped onto the exam table and was just his silly old self.  After poking and prodding, I went home with a 6 pack of expensive food and a “let’s wait and see” diagnosis.  My dog was acting fine, didn’t have any more throwing up episodes since. My vet knows me well enough that I don’t just haul my dog up there for nothing.  He took extra time to visit and to assure me that all the things he checked for blockage, obstruction, inflammation didn’t seem to be present.  From what he could gather it is an old hunting dog proverb, what they don’t roll in, they eat.

I AM Grateful

Right now I am so grateful that my dog seems to be OK. I am grateful that the vet could get me in and it didn’t cost me a fortune.  My heart is still in my throat.  Since I got home I have done nothing.  I tried to settle down and work but couldn’t.  I am also thankful for this BLOG!  And thankful I can write out my feelings and read back over the entry and see what is happening with me.

One Week Away

I am one week away from having 6 months.  I feel like I have come a long way and I have done a lot of work.  My days now are completely different than they were 6 months ago.  I guess I should accept progress over perfection.  But it is hard. Thanks for being on this roller coaster with me.

In the Unlikely Event that Cabin Pressure Drops…

In the past I did lots of flying.  Many times I was on the road for work 2 – 3 weeks a month.  I heard the flight attendants say the speech about the emergency exits, the tray table in the upright and locked position and putting the oxygen mask on yourself before someone else and this reminds me of what I have done.

Old Friends

These past few days, I have noticed my creativity has been banging on my skull to get out.  I never realized that all the booze numbed that along with all my bad feelings.  Creativity was not something I ever thought I possessed, I do not draw, I do not paint.  But as I have gotten older I know I am a right brained thinker.  And being right brained isn’t easy.  I am the odd one.  The one who’s brain spins while every one else is talking. When I speak it is from the heart, it is about feelings left brainers get uncomfortable, creatives daydream to cope.  So guess who is a big daydreamer?

Tonight even as I type,  the music that is playing on Pandora is reminding me of an old friend.  An old friend that I miss. When I first stopped drinking, he was uncomfortable with it.  We distanced.  This week is his birthday week and I haven’t seen him or called him.  He has tons of friends, I am sure he isn’t alone unless he is isolating or is having trouble with his diverticulitis.  That is kind of a code word for being on a bender that now he is 50 it takes more time to come out of. He wont completely stop drinking, he will lie around and pour some cheap box wine down to stop the shakes, level off.  I know, I have done it with him.  I have laid in the bed next to him or on the couch just feeling sh*tty.  Then dragging myself home to feel sh*tty there.  I miss him and in a very insane way I miss those times.  I have no idea why.

Oxygen Mask

On a plane the masks drop out of the luggage compartments when you need to use them. It is a scary experience when they fall in front of you, shocking because you are surprised to see them but scary because you know you are in danger.  AND you must attend to yourself BEFORE you attend to anyone else, including your child.  You cannot help anyone if you are the one in crisis, right?  So put your mask on first.

Keep Me Company, Will Ya?

I put my mask on.  I am okay, breathing and not drinking. So I am meditating more, called my sponsor and writing to you all.  Tomorrow I will double up on meetings probably but maybe it will pass.  I am going to work on my Gratitude List. But this blog is here and I am thankful for that.  Thankful that I can express myself in words when others don’t have that gift.  Thanks for reading, “One Day At A Time.”

Green with ENVY? NOT ME !…?

My alcoholism didn’t really grab hold of me until a couple years ago. When I started AA and people would use the terms “Alcoholic Thinking” and “Dry Drunk” I had no idea what they were talking about.  While I may not be sure what these terms mean for other people, I surely do know now what they mean for me.

Alcoholic Thinking for YEARS

Whenever we would go on road trips, I would always like riding around at night and looking into houses with lights on and as we rode by I’d wonder, “What are those people like?”  “Wonder what is happening around their kitchen table?”  or “Looks like a party, wonder what they are celebrating?”  I would think this for years, from when I was a child and I still do it now, only I am driving.

But somewhere along the way, I am just realizing that in the last few years of my drinking, I was thinking  more like, “I bet those people are happier than I am.”  “That house is beautiful, I could never have that.”  (And to the house with all the cars parked outside and along the street), “I wonder who died?”  WOW.  I can hardly believe it but I really was thinking like that!  And now with a few months of sobriety under my belt, I can see it.  THAT was MY ALCOHOLIC THINKING and it is not something to be proud of!

“Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Present”

This was said at a meeting a few weeks ago and it definitely applies to me. I cannot dwell in the past, I can learn from it, make amends when necessary and learn. Learn by observing where my head was at when I was drinking. I can have the “BEST ____ money can buy!” But not with alcohol in my life. It not only makes me act stupid but it makes me think stupid. I never thought I was an envious person but I was and in many cases still am but I am recognizing it at least.

Religion

When I was growing up, it was a very strict Pentecostal way of “HELL, FIRE & BRIMSTONE!”  When I learned about envy and jealousy was boiled down to simple terms that clouded my view over the years, then with drinking it was even more cloudy!  I used to think people that were envious would steal in order to get what they wanted.  Since I was not a thief, I didn’t think I was envious.  With jealousy it was similar thinking.  I was taught jealousy most often related to relationships with people.  It was also a bad thing.  I never thought for once I was envious or jealous because they did not seem to fit my circumstances.  But they do.

In the Now

I can only worry about me.  What and how I think is all I can control.  I cannot control other people, what they do or how they think.  I also cannot envy other people’s possessions or other people’s lives.  It is my life that I have to concentrate on, what I think and what I do with it.  I used to think it was selfish to think like that but I know now, that if I cannot be spiritually whole and fit, then I am of no use to myself or to other people.

More of “The Journey”

It is probably obvious what this means but it is frustrating to me when people throw around acronyms and I don’t know what they mean.  It was a long Holiday Weekend.  In my case it began with me being on the road for 5 days which knocked me out of my normal routine, my routine is my lifeline.  BUT I made it!

Taking No Chances

I was leaving town earlier than expected due to a situation with a family property that has encountered damage during some high winds and power outages. I couldn’t get any answers from my usual “go to” people, so I feared the worst .  I knew I was going to be there for the Thanksgiving Holiday so there was all the packing and planning that went into that.  I had just recently received “The Secret” on DVD so to ease my stress, I decided to listen to that on the ride over and distract me from the stresses I was creating inside my head.  It helped.  I arrived and things weren’t anywhere near what I had dreaded them to be.  I unpacked my car, got the fire going and got on my knees and Thanked God for some peace of mind.  Thanked God for serenity.

Planning Ahead

I knew I was not going to be able to do my usual meeting schedule.  My normal meeting was 2 hours a away and I was in the country where meetings are few and far between but I planned out 3, looked on the map, got the times and knew I could arrange my schedule around them.

A Day of Thanks

The night before Thanksgiving I was able to go to a meeting in the town I was staying in.  The meeting was small but the people were great and with lots of years of sobriety.  They introduced themselves and the minute they  learned I was just under 6 months sober, they claimed their group conscience was to chair a meeting was for one with more than 90 days sobriety. So I chaired the meeting.  When I told them this would be my first sober Thanksgiving, they were very supportive and gave me lots of ideas on dealing with the stress of the holiday.  It was fun and I was happy to meet some new people.

Early on Thanksgiving Day, I meditated early rather than later, read from my Daily Affirmations Book before I got on with the day.  These are not completely new things to me, I try to do them daily and it would be on a busy day that if I didn’t have my “soul food” early it would be likely I wouldn’t make time for it later and there was no time to run down a meeting.  The day went well, a friend of mine from the program joined us, no one drank alcohol though I don’t think I would have minded it if any one did, I was feeling pretty relaxed.  Good family time without drama – NICE!!

Changes

BLACK FRIDAY  – this is a day that my Mom and I go out and do a big loop in the country looking for out of the way stores in small country villages.  This year was no different with the exception of planning our route around a meeting.  A meeting my Mom asked if she could come with me.  So off we went.  We arrived at the time listed on the website, at the location listed, only to find the time on the website was wrong.  I went into the church office and the secretary told me it was at noon and not 11.  So we went back to town, poked around in a couple stores and then back to the meeting we went. This was a very small meeting, 3 other women, Mom and me.  It was a discussion meeting.  Everyone got time to share and there was an “over share” which prompted Mom to ask me about afterward in the car.  She wasn’t horrified, far from it.  I think it was more processing of the experience than anything else.

The Journey

I have mentioned the Journey before in this blog and I know that many may share some similar experiences.  This holiday was a sober one, one without the stress and anxiety that we have had in the past.  It was kind of boring actually but I didn’t mind at all. I got through it and Mom got to get a little taste of an AA Meeting with her pumpkin pie!