“Empty” Nester in Reverse

My Sponsor tells me I work really hard and need to be kinder to myself.  Things take time, “Life on Life’s Terms” can be a hard thing.

My Dad

I think I have talked about him before.  He is 78, and all my life my Mom would say, “You’re just like your father!”  That was even before their divorce in 1987.  I am like my father.  Some might say he is an alcoholic, some might say he is a dry drunk.

Now I have to say, he is in Hospice and he is dying and my heart is broken.

One of the reasons I even GOT sober was because I saw him aging badly at my uncle’s (his brother) funeral 3 years ago, It stuck in my head. I thought, “If I am just like my father, I don’t want to be like THAT as his age.”  Dad has prostate cancer, spinal stenosis and Alzheimer’s.

Dad is a Type A personality.  Before a series of heart “events” in the 90’s, he drank Dewar’s.  A Scotch guy all the way.  Lots of it.  In fact at one point his wife (who doesn’t like me AT ALL), mentioned something to the effect if he had not “done something” about his drinking they would no longer be together.  So he stopped.  I don’t believe he ever went to an AA Meeting, but I don’t know that for sure.   Certainly, knowing the type of person my father’s wife is, I can imagine me thinking, “Well, if you were in my life, I would drink too.”  ~Classic alcoholic excuse.

Fast Forward

Last Friday, my phone rang and it was a number I did not recognize, I had just hung up from a client call and wanted to get some notes down, so I let it go to voice mail.  A few minutes later, I checked my voice mail and it was “Broom Linda” – my father’s wife.  In a very “Sir-ly” tone she told me some news and without rewriting the words to you all- he is now in Hospice Care.

This was not a surprise to me, tho I have not spoken to “Broom Linda” in a few years.  My Dad has been in a Nursing Home and I have been sneaking in to see him, so I saw how things had been going. He was stable until he got pneumonia that landed him in the hospital for a couple weeks.  And now, it has been determined there is nothing further that can be done.  He is alert, he can speak, he isn’t very mobile, but the next infection will probably do him in and the Doctors are not sure that this last one is completely cleared from his system.

She told me this even though our last conversation ended with her telling me that the next time I would hear about my father, would be in the paper-in these parts that means the Obituaries.  After she had finished, I thanked her for her kindness in telling me this news and that I appreciated her thinking of me and I meant it.  We were cordial.

Now What?

I have called his Hospice Team and learned that we are weeks and maybe a few months away from his demise. Unless there is an infection, then all bets are off.  Since that call, several relatives have contacted me and we have replayed the feelings and the scenario over and over. Broom Linda does not really like any of us, so we all have that in common.  But none of them is as close to him as me.

I am going to see him tomorrow.  Spend some time while he is still lucid, see if he is frightened.  We always can talk- even when it is about real stuff, I just want to be there to listen if he wants to speak,  while it is still possible.

I have read the third step prayer over and over.  I have a copy with me in my wallet.  Please if you are a person that prays, pray for us.

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Patience or Procrastination

“The Good Thing About Procrastination is I Always Have Something to do Tomorrow.”

I have spent most of my life making snap decisions, decisions on the fly, as my alcoholism progressed my decisions were made in haste, because of impatience and emotion and because I did not realize that what I was doing was operating with limited information and lots of booze.  I did not see the correlation.  Since I GOT sober, I have become pretty cautious in a lot of ways, like decision making.   I have found that once a few more facts have come to light the decision I may have made immediately would have been different than the one I made when I had the information. Sometimes VASTLY different.

Where is the Line between Patience and Procrastination?

When I was drinking everything seemed to be EVERYONE else’s fault.  Any problem I had with a relationship was not my doing it was always about THEM and what THEY did.  Right after I stopped drinking I put the brakes on. Someone had said in a meeting that they had to look at what “their part” was in any situation.  My sponsor said, “Don’t make any huge decisions for the first year, unless you are in danger or really have thought it through.”  So I took it to heart.  It was easy to understand.  My emotions were on my sleeve, hell I cried at the drop of a hat and my anxiety was off the charts. For a girl who spent most of her life driving in snowstorms – this past winter was a killer.  I didn’t dare drive some days.  I was reminded that I was going through something big in my life and I needed to take care of myself.  I reminded myself that I spent years not trusting myself and I needed to build that back up and not expect it all RIGHT NOW.

The 3rd Step

I SAY that I am turning my will over to God as I understand him and yet I find I have pulled it back. Then I wonder why I am struggling.  I want things to happen but I want them to happen quicker than they are.  I am in unhealthy relationships, not dangerous ones, but ones that do me no service and therefore I am not able to do them any service either.  So I am writing in this blog JUST BECAUSE this is part of my process. I have realized and verbalized this in meetings, spoken to my sponsor and yet I am very uneasy.  I don’t want to drink.  I want to live happy, joyous and free.

Did You Forget Me?

It is obvious that it has been a long time since I have done a post. Somehow I have managed to delete my writing TWICE tonight and if I delete this time I will scream – not drink, scream.

First, I need to process, that is why I do this blog, I am not sure if many people read it even, I hope if you do, you enjoy it and it helps a little. Recovery is hard work and some days REALLY SUCK. Today was one of those days for me.

What has been going on:

  • On June 20, I celebrated 365 days. SOBER! 1 YEAR!! No booze. My friend Andy and his wife came up to my celebration. You may remember me telling you about Andy, it was he that got me to AA. A year before I got to AA, Andy was in town for a business trip (he lives 4 hours away) he contacted me saying he wanted to get together, he needed to make amends. I had no idea what that meant but I hadn’t seen him for 20 years and I was happy to see him no matter what the reason was. We got together (and thank GOD I drank iced tea.) He made his amends and that planted the seed for me. Though I wasn’t sure and even now, don’t know what those amends were for, I realize they were for him and I was happy for that. But of course “The Higher Power” was at work and when I was wondering if I needed to go to AA, it was Andy that I called. He also drove 4 hours through a snowstorm to celebrate my 6 month anniversary with me. One of the many gifts of “The Program.”
  • A couple days later I ended up in the Emergency Room with an asthma attack. In fact there have been a couple of asthma and breathing issues this summer. My allergies kicked in, I was a mess and so began a 3 month stint with various steroids which I am now off – but about 15 pounds heavier! I am learning that I used to soothe my anxiety and everything else with vodka – I hadn’t had a full blown asthma attack in about 20 years.  That is an intro to another topic later on.
  • Drove to and from my nephew’s High School, 16 hours in a car with my mom we left her house at 5am to catch a Ferry at 9, got there just in time to make the 8, got to the Graduation, slept over, drove back the next day and was home sweet home by 8pm. WHAT A WHIRLWIND. I think the prednisone helped – I am not known for sleeping when I have to take that crap!
  • We had family vacations, a couple deaths and I didn’t drink. It is all of course due to a shit load of meetings and all the other stuff I hear at all of those meetings. I have worked the steps and am doing my best to live them.

So that is that. Day 448. Giddyup!

More posts on the way, but I needed a “catch up” post, well you know, because that is how I am!