The Handyman Has QUIT

A lot of Recovery work for me has pointed out a bunch of self sabotage tactics that were in my daily life.  Things I reacted to, drank over, meddled in – sure, tried to FIX.

Peace Maker

In these past 3+ years, I have learned that I honestly don’t like conflict. Looking over past situations however, I have put myself in the middle of it and tried to get everyone to get along.  Only now I know, I cannot FIX anyone, nor is it my business to do it.  I am still in the “fallout” zone of poor decisions I made while I was drinking.  Some things I have changed, but it hasn’t been the time to change it all.  Through lots of chats with HP, I still need to keep on the path that the light has been shone on.  Meaning – I would love to walk away from some situations because they piss me off.  The people piss me off.  The interactions are not healthy.  I would have done that if I was drinking.  Everything is different today.

“It’s Not My Business”

How I hate hearing that.  How I hate saying that.  I am not a fighter.  So as I recite the Third Step Prayer for the “um-teenth” time today, I have to remember that it is not my hammerfight. For years I put myself in the middle of the fight, the disagreement, so it is understandable that these opportunities are natural for others to say, “Well, so and so … and so and so…” I was always the “negotiator.”  But not today. I needed to walk away, take a breath and just say, “You really need to tell them how you are feeling directly.” Certainly, it is easier for a person to sound off at me, I don’t fight back.  I don’t know the details because (drum roll…..IT IS NOT MY BUSINESS!!  I AM NOT INVOLVED!!!)


For years I have been the glue that has kept things together.  I am by no means a hero, in fact I probably enabled this to go on longer than it should have or piled on and never dealt with in the first place.  My involvement wasn’t healthy for anyone-especially myself.  And with some non-drinking time under my belt, I can see it more clearly.

It really all – ALL is in my HP’s hands.  It is just a hard habit to break-but WOW it blows me away when POW!  It is all so obvious.  Handing it over….




Usually when I someone tells me this I want to choke them.  I know “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed…”

Blah, effing blah, effing blah all ready!

Isn’t It A Fine Line?

2dollarwatchSo often by the time I hear the word “Acceptance” from someone in the program, I am wound up “tighter than a 2 dollar watch.”  I am either pissed off and frustrated or sad and close to tears.  It is hard for me to identify when I accept something as it is or if I am avoiding dealing with it all together.

I go to this meeting that is mostly a group of Old Timers, it is small- sometimes 5 people sometimes 25.  It is a Discussion Meeting. It is a real anchor to my normal Home Group shelter meetings where the sobriety is so green you can smell it. Probably this other meeting at any one point there is a couple hundred years of sobriety present. Lots of wisdom in all shapes and sizes.

One of the Old Timers came in sat down next to me and was reciting and a whisper, “Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance.”  Of course naturally I figured he was talking to me, because at that moment everything in the universe revolved around me.

Decisions, Decisions

My whole life I have made snap decisions.  While some of them I could honestly say came from my gut.  All along my HP has been with me. I felt that I was being told to do something – I was listening. But near the end of my drinking, many of my decisions were emotion based, and based in reaction mode. Storm off, snap at someone.  I learned not to trust myself. When I first got sober, it was hard to know which decision was a reactive, emotional situation or an honest, gut, “God Bomb” moment. Today, I am trying very hard to “sit” with my decisions, especially those tough ones.

The Old Timer

Back to our Monday night Discussion Meeting…we talked a bit about life and the weather before the meeting but it wasn’t until he shared to the group about a very serious operation he is going to need in a couple of weeks. How he is frightened.  How he is hoping people could connect with him (he lives alone.) Maybe be willing to drive him to a meeting or two.  We all circled around him with phone numbers and learned the dates of his procedure.

The Lessons of the Program

His whispering “Acceptance” over and over had nothing to do with HIM telling ME what to do, HE was telling HIMself what to do.  Yeah, I learned humility too, that night.




We’re EVERYwhere!

Most all the names and identifiable things in this post (as well as all others) have been changed or generalized, in spirit with our 12th Tradition. (Anonymity.)

Early Mornings

My early mornings are pretty sacred to me.  I love the peace and quiet before the world wakes up and crazy gets out of bed.  I wouldn’t call myself a morning person really, I am not particularly friendly early, I appreciate letting my dog out, going for a stroll with him in the backyard, while the coffee pot does its’ job. Being alone and quiet.

This morning I was pretty sad, my dog is getting old and having troubles getting around and I know I will be making a tough decision soon.  I went upstairs to meditate for a little bit before getting ready to head out for the day.

The Electronic Leash

I checked my phone – as I do too often, and there was a text from someone.  It happened to be from a guy I knew back in High School. We connected on FB like I have with so many of my old friends.  (I am lucky that my drinking days were mostly silent drunks that were solitary. Most of my old friends didn’t even know I drank-or had problems anyway.)  As with all my FB friends, I interacted with him and noticed he lived in California now.  I remember him in High School as a “dark cloud” kinda guy, that didn’t always appreciate my sunny disposition.  I was a friend of his sister mostly-he put up with us as an older brother would.

I noticed he would post quite a few photos of Cakes with the number of years that the person was celebrating.  It seemed obvious to me that he was “One of Us,” though I never bothered to pursue it with him personally.  It looked like he was happy.  I was happy too. I had noticed several trips along with photos back and forth to our old home town as well as photos of him seeing some of our old classmates and friends.  This past weekend, he was in a resort town not far from where I live.

Back to the Text

I look down at my phone and there is a private message from Paul.

Paul: “Hey Janis, what’s up? I’m stuck at the airport with a flight delay.”
Paul: “Yup, Co-Pilot called in sick.”
Me: “I have a meeting first thing, but I could swing by the Airport and rescue you for a coffee-we could have a visit and then I need to get to another appointment, it would be great see you!”

Loading Zoneairport-sign

I swung by the Airport and there he was right out front. He jumped into the car and off we went.  It was great to catch up. He seemed happy and we laughed feeling comfortable right away.  I asked if he was in Recovery he said, “Oh yeah and loving life!”  and the conversation went from there. Turns out he is on his “Amends Tour.” We joked that it was kind of like in “My Name is Earl” where he has his list. Paul’s is quite long and as he feels the guidance, he deals with it.  So that means trips back to Maine.  We spent a couple hours visiting – coffee (of course), and then back to the airport we went. And some of the conversation got me thinking of my own Recovery – it always does.

Considering the way I started my day, with tears in my eyes thinking about my dog, it was so great to have this safe distraction.  Paul had no reason to make any amends to me nor I to him, we were just 2 sober classmates 38 years later, getting thru life on life’s terms “One Day At A Time.”





What Happened When I Began to Meditate…I was Miserable

Today, I was in our Sunday 12 & 12 Meeting. It was time to read Step 11. If you have read the 12 & 12 you may be familiar with what the pretty long reading is about.

Step 11

2016-09-11-13-14-45 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Personally, I don’t split hairs about a Higher Power in General. As many times as I walked around my car wondering how I got home, woke up in my bed, wondering how I got there, it was clear to me that I was not in charge of my own life for a very long time.  As Step 11 and much of AA Literature goes, I am not concerned that people say GOD or HE or HIM.  I am just pretty grateful something somewhere gave two shits about me when I didn’t give one shit about myself.  That’s my  “Keeping it Simple” way of thinking.


There are several paragraphs that discuss Meditation.  I would consider myself a regular meditator.  Meditation came along for me about 6 months into AA.  I tried, I couldn’t sit. When I would sit, I would find myself with such negative thoughts, wanting to climb out of my skin- I figured I was just a person that couldn’t do it.

MBSR  (Mindfulness Stress Reduction)

I took a class (MBSR).  I read a book called  Full Catastrophe Living  by Jon-Kabat Zinn. It changed everything.  I learned that it was a struggle for everyone in the room to SIT there and breathe-do nothing.  The feeling in the room was similar to an AA Meeting even though it wasn’t.  People in a room with a common purpose. Each of us came there with our own reason to Meditate, our search for a solution.

The first days and weeks of Mediation are like the first 90 days of sobriety. THEY SUCK. Meditation is a like a mental detox.  Not every day is completely horrible.  But just like going to meetings, calling my Sponsor and working the Steps, it’s work.  And after a while I started to see results.  I feel calmer, I respond rather than react.  I can detach from situations.  I have perspective.  I believe that Meditation enhanced my program so I still do it. It is part of my life today.  My journey to the Happy, Joyous and Free Chapter of my life.

Who knew?



Back to School

Holy $hit – Where Have I Been?


Wow has the Summer flown by…and we are all ready nearly half way thru September.  If you live in Maine, you know the days start getting shorter quickly which isn’t welcome.  In June, we can see early signs of day breaking around 3:30am with a long sunrise to follow. I am a huge fan of sunrises and was setting my alarm on the weekends around 4am so I could take it all in. Also when you are on the coast of Maine, it is something to behold and a true gift to my sobriety. A new day.  And I am sober!

Unfinished Business

I have a book that all of you in our program helped me to write.  My goal was to have it written by June 20, which was my 3rd Anniversary.  Each day I wrote.  I had a goal of writing a certain amount and you guys and my Higher Power -I achieved it.

Then I met with my writing coach (which is sort of a Sponsor), in this project and she helped me determine what needed to happen next.

A friend that I met in the program agreed to head down to our camp (neutral territory with few distractions) and help me sort through the pages that I had typed.  We put them in order. At least for the first pass. What a wonderful time we had together.  I had no idea I could have a friend like this.

Our book is like a pocket AA Meeting.  Writing it and sifting through it is exhausting.  AND the need for a fresh set of eyes (my own as well as someone else’s), to read thru and put it is some sort of order takes time.  We did it in about a 24 hour period. It’s a start.

BUT it is hardly finished.  I had to put it down.  I felt like I was reliving my first year of sobriety all over again.  Now I have my book, about 375 pages in a pretty box – still needing to be finished off in the sorting process.

Another Sunrise

It is a new day.  And now I need to embrace the challenge, get it organized and move on to the next step of finding a publisher. I’m full of fear.  Rejection, being ignored. My coach has given me tips, encouragement and direction – but the work is still mine and it is time.

The funny thing about this book is that I have never written one before.  I have felt many days that I am not the one writing it.  I have felt like my Higher Power is leading me through it. Whenever I put it down I feel pressure and various “God Bombs”that tell me to get moving.

It sort of feels like doing the Steps all over again and I need to stop stalling. So One Day at a Time we will get there, right?