That Was THEN, This is NOW

When grown men act like little boys.  Tantrums, meltdowns and more

There is nothing sexy or glorious about being a “peacemaker.”  For me, it was a way to be in control.  And now I know, it was how I thought I controlled other people and outcomes. peacegate_pinterestOne side confides in me, I am trusted.  The “other side” confides in me, I am confused.  I am unsure who to be loyal to, I don’t want to tell any secrets, in the end I think I can manipulate people to do what I want them to do-get along, the way I think they should.

All the while, I am over my head, overwhelmed, bitter.

I drank.  It was always a good excuse.  It was my only escape from a situation that was never mine to fix. None of my business.

Death by Text

I work with people that SUCK at communicating with one another.  I have been told that I “over communicate.” I am talkative, that is true.  Since my recovery began a few years ago, I have been very clear on boundaries.  Honest even when it is inconvenient. What is evident is, these people don’t want to communicate and have their own resentments toward one another.

Today, there was a situation that demonstrated the most pathetic, childish behavior I have seen in the workplace- ever.  If these two people were actually in the same room together (it either wouldn’t have happened in the first place), it might have come to blows. We work in a virtual work environment so most communication is done in online office environments, emails and text messages-conference calls as a “last resort” it seems.

Grateful I Have a Program

I cannot say for sure, but I believe these men are non-alcoholic.  One doesn’t drink at all, the other not very much (that I know of.)  Today, I refused to get involved in the volley of high tempered insults and left the conversation and situation.  I had a Funeral to attend a little later on and decided to leave “work” early.  This was not about me.

Other People’s Happiness Is Not Up to ME

I would love to say this argument won’t have long lasting effects on our company.  I don’t know what is going to happen next. I have to surrender and put this “peacemaking” job up to my Higher Power, because only HP knows the plan.

Thanks for reading.  I always feel better after I get these thoughts out of my head.

 

*thank you Pinterest for the image

 

 

 

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I Still Hate Sunday Nights

Sunday nights meant Monday mornings. In the old days, it was about pulling it together to go to work Monday mornings. It was only a few times I didn’t, I managed to function even at the end of my drinking days.

Same Ole Story
Now I am sober and as I have mentioned previously, I have not changed my job situation.  One reason, I am an owner in the company.  When I got sober I took my partners to lunch and apologized, explained that I was getting help.  They were as supportive as they knew how to be but since that conversation about 2 1/2 years ago, lots have changed.  One thing is, ME.

Truth
Being in recovery, I recognize things I never used to notice.  We are business partners and not close friends. We never have been.  We don’t and never have done anything socially.  I honestly don’t think they are capable of having real friends. Neither of them do to this day.  And of course, when I started going to AA and learning more and more about REAL relationships, the more the “notsoreal” relationships faded from my life.  This is the remaining relationship that I am in because I made a commitment that I am trying to live by.

Lies
One partner put his house on the market and has moved his family about 400 miles away.  At the time, we were told that it was a temporary thing, there were some elder care issues. Once the FOR SALE sign goes up it seems less than temporary.  The sign was up before I knew.  The idea was perhaps growing the business.  To this date, a year and a half later the business is not coming in.  He only criticizes this area and repeats statements that he believes we are backward here.  Then the other one has become a Department Head at a local university and is dividing his time significantly – he lives more than an hour away and recently complained that he is working 80 hours a week.  The 80 hours is not for our company.  I have a hard time feeling compassionate when it is his choice to put his commitment with our company on the back burner and we are supposed to move all our schedules around to accommodate these two men, for meetings, calls, etc.

Third Step
I don’t know how many times I have recited the Third Step Prayer in the parking lot before I have gone into my office.  I manage to get through the days but again, here I am on a Sunday night feeling major anxiety.  They treat me like shit, they treat our employees like shit unless they want something.  I have told both of them things are not acceptable but since I “outed” myself as an alcoholic they have distanced themselves even further than before. I am tired to talking to brick walls.

Test
I know my HP won’t give me anything more than I can handle, but it is hard to reach down and believe that it is all going to work out the way it is supposed to.

When I Change the Rules

I have mentioned in this blog before, about the changes that have happened in me that are affecting my life today.  It is because of these changes that are very obvious to me, what I had found acceptable when I was drinking may no longer be. Over the past 2 1/2 years the way my thinking has changed is remarkable.  This first post is from February 2013 and yet my first meeting wasn’t until June 20, 2013 – 4 months later.  And I had known well before February that I was beyond the point of “no return.”

My Side of The Street

When I first got sober, I kept hearing this expression, “I need to keep my side of the street clean,”  “It’s not my business what you think of me.”  What this meant to me, was to work on myself.  Learn to do the right thing without regard for what others are doing.  Keep my head down and focus on my recovery and be aware that others in and out of recovery have their own goals and their own way of doing things but they don’t have to be mine.

Relationships

There is an oldtimer in our area that talks often about how bad alcoholics can be with relationships.  Some of us abuse others and some of us take the abuse over and over again the cycle is hard to change.  We have problems understanding healthy relationships-how to have them or how to be in them.  When I first heard this, I wasn’t happy about it, I thought he was over dramatizing his own situation.  I thought I had tried hard to be a good friend, a good partner and good relative. But as I have grown in recovery, I realize the very reason I was unhappy with what he was saying, was really my own poor choices and behaviors in relationships that caused my discontent.  Still does cause my discontent.

Doing the Footwork and Calling on My Higher Power

I have been slowly surrounding myself with people in the program, people that are positive and with people that are creative like myself.  But there still is a significant portion of my life that is like a cancerous sore that needs to be dealt with and I am trying NOT to do what I have done in the past, stomp my feet and storm out the door.  So I hand it over and it is really hard.  Really hard.  This cancer that I am talking about shows me daily what I am not willing to be anymore.  I am not willing to take people for granted, I am not willing to be ungrateful, I am not willing to be dishonest.

I was all those things before I started this journey and today I choose to be aware and choose differently.  But Higher Power if you are out there, I hope you are listening/reading.

 

 

How Do I Believe in ME?

Being an alcoholic is about all I know that I am these days.  And I am grateful to know that because it gives me choices today that I did not have 2 1/2 years ago.  While that being said, I find a lot of ME missing. I mean WHO AM I?

Reinvention

Once I stopped drinking, reinvention was more like reconstruction.  The way my disease worked was not so much lashing out or fighting, (though in the end, it was starting to progress to that), it was years of beating on myself.  Pulling myself apart piece by piece.

Failed Marriage

It certainly takes “two to tango. ” And “Yes” I have made amends to my ex-husband.  Since alcoholism is such a puzzle to me, I am not sure when my thinking took that “Left turn” or in Maine where I am from a “HAHD LEFT” would be more like it, but whenever that was, things took on a new meaning and a whole new life of their own.  My husband and I split when I was 38.  To this day, I am not sure exactly why our marriage failed. What I do know is the failure of my marriage accelerated my drinking.  For the next 10 years, drinking was all I could do to ease the aches within my heart and head.  And of course, once the drinking ended, my troubles were still there, only worse.

Now a life without the Booze makes me look at everything in a different way.  And that is not always a good thing. Going to meetings helps me a lot.  But still I have no self-confidence.  If you had ever met me you may not believe that.  On the outside, people tell me they cannot understand why I lack confidence in myself. I seem so “put together.” Meanwhile on the inside, I am just a scared child- full, full, full of fear.

Truth

My alcoholism is not something I have ever wanted as “dinner conversation.”  It is likely that most people have no idea that I am an alcoholic.  I was so lucky my “end of drinking”  didn’t come as a driving incident – DUI or a hospital stay, there was no public display for anyone to see.  People have noticed changes about me – I am calmer, more focused.

I am feeling more comfortable in my skin these days, albeit about 60 pounds more than I would like it to be.  I can commit to something, show up and be part of something.  I just wish I knew what that something is supposed to be.

What It Was Like Then

I go to a lot of meetings.  Every now and then I am asked to chair.  My home group I often chair, it is a small Grapevine Meeting and there is no qualifying. Recently, I have been mixing it up with different meetings and probably within the last month I have chaired at 2 meetings that ask the Chair to qualify.  I realized that I never had actually written down “My Story,” and I figured that it was time I did.

Our meetings are pretty informal up here but rather than to just ramble on about “My Story” I figured I would write it down so I could actually read it over as an exercise to better understand it myself.  This blog has discussed a lot of the details of my feelings and experiences in recovery, this post is what brought me to recovery.

What It Was Like

The last year of my drinking was intolerable. The last 6 months I had a burning stomach, my terrible sleep patterns over the past 15 years got even worse. At the end, I wasn’t sleeping for more than an hour or two, when I would get up and pour myself some vodka, search for something to mix it with so I wasn’t a complete barbarian often it was water.  The last couple weeks if I ran out of vodka I would search the house for something, anything, that was in a box, considered something that “nobody drank.”

Returnable bottles were hidden, put in my car inside plastic empty grocery bags and thrown into unattended trash cans, often at fast food places or at “Do it Yourself” car washes. I stashed vodka in my car and showed up at meetings and peoples homes with a “Go Cup” of coffee or a diet pepsi in a plastic bottle laced with vodka.  I spent a lot of time making sure I had booze. Thank God I never got caught, never got pulled over, no jail or hospital.

Many of my friends were doing similar things and I believe they are still doing it now.  One of my very good friends got pulled over by the police but didn’t think anyone would find out, was convinced that her name would not appear in the Court News Section of the paper. Obviously, she was wrong.  It was in the newspaper, I got lots of comments from people we knew but she and I never talked about it. She lost her license and somehow managed to keep that hidden while it was pulled.  Seeing this from afar and never talking directly to her about it, still didn’t stop me.

Every day I functioned, worked and interacted with people, managing my shakes, getting to lunch on time so I could “catch up with my friends” and drink of course, sometimes finishing out the day at the bar and getting home safely (HP was protecting me) before dinner to avoid questions. I would pour a glass of wine and another…

I was haunted and possessed by “The Beast” alcohol that had taken over my life.  I learned to avoid everything and everybody that posed a threat to my relationship with booze.  I had to make sure I had it when I needed it and every day I needed it more and more.

The First Day of Summer

About  3 days before I went to my first AA Meeting, I promised once again I was going to stop drinking, it was going to be different this time.  By noontime, I felt so horrible that I met my friends for lunch and by 3:30 I felt “better.”  The day continued as usual.  I slept about an hour at a time that night each time waking up in a sweat.  I paced and tried not to drink but I did.  Finally I decided to get a shower and look for a place to “take the edge off” and by 9 am I was off and running again.  By 1:00pm, I was falling asleep in the parking lot of a well known establishment in my car.  I couldn’t believe that I drove home it was less than a mile away.

Thursday morning, I sat on the couch crying but there were no tears.  I felt dead inside and looked dead outside.  My cheeks and eyes were puffy, I brushed my teeth and cut my gums because the shaking was so bad.  I looked up an AA Meeting on my computer and there still was one listed at the homeless shelter across town.  I couldn’t even think anymore, I got in my car and went to my first AA Meeting.

That was 297 days ago.

Knight in Shining Armour

The last 3 posts were done in order to explain a situation that happened last week.  As I have mentioned, I was working the Steps and completely out of the blue feelings overcame me.  Writing those posts helped and I appreciate your sticking with me.  This blog helps in so many ways.  I am happy that people read it and I truly hope it gives strength and support to others.   For me, there are good days and not so good days.  Last week was a string of several bad days in a row, all brought about by an innocent contact from someone that rescued me from the abyss I had been living in back in 1978.

Spring

The procedure I had in New York kept me out of the water for a couple weeks and there was a significant blood loss that really wiped me out.  But I swam anyway.  Not particularly well, but I did swim.  I went to practice and went through the motions.  After a month or so, I was physically back to fighting speed.  Since I am a documented asthmatic, we told everyone I had been having a rough patch with asthma and again people accepted it and forgot about the strangeness of the situation.  I stuffed it deep inside. Until just recently, I realized how deep it was.  I learned early how to “fake it till I make it.”

My Brother

My brother is 2 1/2 years older than I am.  The “offender” was his age and one of his high school friends that he had left behind when he went into the military. At the time, he was serving at a base about 5 hours from where we lived.  I told him nothing about what had happened and neither did my parents.  It was not uncommon for my brother to show up with friends from far away places at our house or camp for a home cooked meal or at camp for a party.

In the late summer of that year, on one of his trips to visit my parents and I were at camp.  He showed up with a car full of buddies.  It was a great time of cribbage games and laughs.  I was still swimming and under age, there was no alcohol for me but it didn’t matter, we played guitars and had a great time.

After that trip, my brother showed up with one of the friends he brought to camp at one of my swim meets.  It was great to see him and after that visit, we started writing letters.  Then talking.  I had not been involved in anyone since that Spring and this man was kind, quiet and extremely caring.  Many times, I thought he knew what had happened to me.  I continued to burn up the pool, get through high school and think about college.  My new friend was very supportive, showed up at the occasional meet (after driving for hours) and sat next to me on the bleachers, cheered me on. I always felt safe.

An Item

It was known after a while that we had bloomed into a couple.  Kisses and hugs, no sex.  To think back on it now, I don’t know he did it.  The last thing on my mind was sex, but I could crawl up into his arms and he would hold me close.  One day we were riding in his car somewhere and I just blurted out a very small abstract of what had happened to me before I met him.  I don’t remember what it was exactly but I remember  him saying, “I knew someone hurt you, I felt it.  I want you to trust me, I would never hurt you that way. Ever.”

Geyser

I sat in his car sobbing and trying to apologize for being so damaged. I couldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t unload the whole story. But once I had started, I needed to know what I was saying wasn’t going to cause him to leave me too.  I told him about my father calling me “Whore.”  All he said was, ” Everything is going to be all right.  Just as long as I never, ever meet this guy.”

I started slowly to rebuild my trust and he was the reason.  We dated for 3 years.  There was no sex, he treated me like a china doll.  It was my Higher Power helping me heal, helping me to grow up.  This part of the story is over but there is more that will be told later on that had come to light during my Step work.  The Good News is he isn’t angry at me now and didn’t feel like my apology was necessary.  More on that later.

Cleaning Out the Locker, (Part III)

If you are late to this series, I talk about being raped in the first post, I talk about dealing with it immediately, in Part II.  Now when it really gets “good.” *sarcasm filter*

Thanksgiving Break

My boyfriend came home from school over Thanksgiving and we got together.  I asked him what had happened when I came to visit him at his Fraternity.  He sort of scolded me for my visiting him and said, “You could have really gotten into trouble.”  I said, “But I wanted to see you and I didn’t expect that you would hurt me the way you did.”  He said, “Well, I didn’t mean that to happen either and if you hadn’t come, it wouldn’t have.”  Bewildered, I let the subject drop.  We both were working together over his vacation and things were normal “sort of.”  He went back to school and finished out his semester, returning for Christmas break. Again, we saw each other but it wasn’t the same.  He never apologized or even offered an explanation and I felt lost.  I was still in high school, while he was on vacation and working, I was often at school or swimming.  The time and experience distanced us.  There were no harsh words, there were no words at all.

February Vacation

I was going to practice, getting ready for the next big meet.  I looked down at myself and saw something.  I was gaining weight.  Swimming 5,000/day and gaining weight?  I also hadn’t been feeling well.  I went to the Doctor and the news came.  I was pregnant.  I will never forget that look on my mother’s face.  She was horrified, so was I. On the way home in the car, Mom said, “Are you going to call him?”  I said, “Yes, I guess so.”  She said, “Let me deal with your father.”  I knew that was going to be bad. Real bad.  This would cause another of the famous fights we had in our household.  One we hadn’t had in quite a while.

Whore

My father came up over the stairs 3 at a time.  “So what is the little whore going to do about this?”  I heard him say.  All ready I had called the fraternity house and left a message, it was common to call the House phone and leave a message.  It was uncommon for me to have to leave many, without any returned call, which was how it played out.

Boarding the Plane

A silent plane ride to W. Hempstead, NY and a silent 3 days set the stage for the day I killed my baby.  I had an abortion.  No boyfriend to hold my hand, only an ashamed mother that tried to make the best of a terrible situation.  There was no “decision” to make whether I was to “keep” the baby, my parents decided I would abort. And I did.

Secrets

I never told my parents about the events that led up to my pregnancy. It was bad enough all ready.  I was ashamed. I knew my father would load a shotgun and kill my boyfriend and though I really thought I wanted to myself, the shame and grief was too great to deal with all that.  My parents thought it was teenage sex, I got pregnant.  I left it at that.  Time marched on and I got back to my life, scarred and never to be the same again.

I never saw my old boyfriend again until about 5 years ago at a funeral.  He couldn’t look me in the eye and how could he? He did know that I was pregnant though the news never came from me to him directly. My calls to him remained unanswered.  There was no such thing as voice mail then.  I learned that he knew absolutely from a mutual friend that asked me about it 10 years ago.  He only asked because I had asked him where “our” friend was living.  After that conversation, I got rip roaring drunk and cried myself to sleep, a cry I had been waiting for for 24 years.