Out

With a little over 2 1/2 years in Recovery and not a public “crash and burn” there are still many people in my life that don’t know I am IN RECOVERY.  Many of my old friends and family know I am not drinking. Most of them have no idea the pain I was in before I made that decision.  When I isolated, drank in private, seemed to pull it together when needed, I liked to consider myself “high functioning.”  But like all things in Recovery, there are unexpected blessings and challenges that come with a quiet surrender over a public, desperate one.

Wreckage

I am grateful to my Sponsor and to people in meetings reminding me how cruel I was to myself.  How I actually detested myself.  And because I hated myself so much it seems, I put more energy into being cruel to me than to others.  (Although I had my fair share of amends to make.)  I have some family members that I have not told of my alcoholism. Many of them I don’t see, except big family affairs and Thank God I never acted out in their presence.  I do have a favorite niece that I have wanted to tell.  I only see her a couple times a year but she is a lot like me.  She is 34 years old.  She has a lot of my characteristics.  She has a step-father that drank a lot, therefore, she barely drinks at all.  The impression was made on her that “some people shouldn’t drink.”  I had been looking for guidance to my Higher Power about what I should say and when should I say it.

The Light

This past weekend, my niece and her boyfriend decided to make the drive to our camp.  He 2014-07-04 05.52.36wanted to ski and she just wanted to hang out with my Mom and I.  I did a couple 3rd Step Prayers but decided I wouldn’t force it or avoid the subject.  I wanted to go to a meeting Saturday, I didn’t want to lie about where I was going.

It wasn’t long after they arrived, everything was unpacked we were sitting around listening to music and talking.  She brought up something about her stepfather and his drinking and all of a sudden I just said, “Well, you know I stopped drinking a couple years ago, I learned I was an alcoholic.”  She said, “Well Auntie, I knew you stopped drinking and seem lot more mellow these days.”  I said, “Yeah, I feel a lot better.  I had no idea what was going on with me until I started going to AA Meetings.”  She said, “I am so happy for you and I am proud of you.”

Certainly, not how I expected to tell her and certainly not how I expected her to react.  But I guess I got what my Higher Power decided was best.  It was so much easier and natural.  Honest.  Not some kind of big family meeting, just she, her boyfriend and I in conversation.

The weekend went great.  The skiing was great.  And I am once again grateful.  Just like the old timers say, “When I get out of the way, things go so much smoother!”

 

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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.

I May Be a Slacker…but I am not drinking

Here I thought I was going to be writing more and yet I have been blogging for others and working pretty hard.  I also have been doing step work and working on myself.  Sorry I have been gone for a while.  I do hope you missed me!

Anniversary

No not mine, I am just over 9 months sober and grateful for every day. I have a list to prove it.  Still doing the “Gratitude List.”  So practically every night since Thanksgiving Day,  I write 3 – 5 things down in a notebook.  It does seem to slow the spin of self doubt and does make me think a bit differently.  My friend (we will call her Jane), celebrated 1 year today at our Shelter Meeting.  It was great for her, lots of tears and her Mom and sister were there.  Since I am involved with the Group Conscience with this meeting, I did some of the work, made arrangements for things to happen,  she asked that there not be a “big deal made” she doesn’t like to be the “center of attention.”   All I can say is, “I tried.” She got the traditional, cake and card.

Upon my arrival at the Shelter, the normal set up person was not there.  And because of some renovations at the Shelter, things were all over the place, it was a full moon last night and St. Patrick’s Day, today.  If you don’t believe in any karma surrounded by a full moon, you check out a homeless shelter during the cycle for a few months.  It is amazing the upset that happens.  New Moons are similar.  So along with setting up for Jane’s anniversary the meeting needed to be set up too.  We all scurried around, asked Jane’s sponsor to chair the meeting to which she declined in quite a bitchy fashion and pushed her Sponsee – Jane (the celebrant), to Chair.  Because in her words, “That is what sponsors do.”  Um, no thanks.

Great Way to Start the Day

Without recounting every last detail, we got the meeting going, Jane Chaired and our normal setup person appeared and did he ever look terrible!  Bloated, red face, glassy eyed.  He came to me and said, “I went back out and I feel so shitty.”  All I could do was hug him and tell him how happy I was to see him and that I was so glad he came back.  He told on himself in the meeting and got support and love from everyone.  Oh sure the usual “Preacher” preached but most everyone else offered love and compassion.  We all were reminded how fragile our sobriety is.  He could have been any one of us on any day.

Cupcakes

As we did “Round Robin” around the room, Jane got her wish as not being the center of attention, there was some Congratulations mentioned but mostly we unintentionally focused on the wounded.  We ate cupcakes and presented a Certificate and Chips.  One “White” Chip and a “One Year” Chip. And so it goes/

Maybe I Sound Like A Broken Record

UGH!  I feel like I am stuck in neutral and maybe even going backwards.  No I am not drinking but I know feeling like this could be dangerous.  This is my first time around so I am not exactly sure what could make me drink.  I have been to tons of meetings.  Like more than 120 in 90 days and almost every day I go to one meeting or even two.  Sometimes I go to two because I feel like I would like another – my first meeting of the day almost always is at 7:30am.  So if I am weary at the end of the day and I feel like it would be a day I would have come home and said, “Boy do I ever need a drink!” I go to a meeting instead.

My Routine 

Routines make me happy.  Routines make me cranky when something happens and I miss my “usual” day because of “this thing or that thing”  Recently my sponsor suggested that I change up my meeting schedule, try something new, try somewhere new, meet some new people.  She is totally right.  Changing up my “people, places and things” seems to spruce up my recovery thinking.  JUST a little.  I wish I would feel more excited but I don’t.

The Weather

Just like many in this country we have had odd weather.  We have had incredible cold, lots of snow, an ice storm and now we are having another ice storm, rain and a deep freeze.  The temperature has dropped 10 degrees in about an hour.  I have been stuck at home today.  Too icy to get out for my early meeting (or any meeting for that matter ) and it isn’t looking good for tomorrow.  I don’t feel like calling my sponsor again or anyone else, so I am hoping you guys don’t mind listening.  I did do an AA online meeting that was okay, better than nothing and I am glad it was there.  AND I am glad we have electricity, who knows for how long?

Gratitude

So what does everyone else do when they feel like they got the blahs?  I am playing the gratitude card right now.  Grateful for power and heat.  Grateful that I am safe and dry.  Grateful that I didn’t have a drink today.  I don’t know, phew. Thanks for listening/reading.

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.”

Treading Water

Well I haven’t done anything rash since my last post except pray more, meditate, call my sponsor a couple times and doubled up on meetings.  That is all I have in my toolbox right now and I am using it.  Sometimes I just have to get out of my head!

Thank God For Different Meetings

I am grateful to the fact that I live in an area where there are many meetings throughout the day and many options to the type of meetings we have.  After being in a fog yesterday and just having a general feeling of doom and sh*ttiness, once I got my blog post written I learned that I needed another meeting.  Usually when I have a “monkey brain” with twists of fear/sadness/anger included, well in the old days I drank.  Yesterday I didn’t.  Last night I didn’t. Instead I went to a Discussion group with my Sponsor.  Not a big group, but lots and lots of sobriety.

Process Process Process

I got a call from the Medicine Man and we just “processed.”  I love that, no judgement, no advice, no pressure, just blah, blah, blah.  Neither one of us expected to FIX anything or even give extensive advice.  We both shared other stories that had nothing to do with how we were feeling individually.  You know, like friends do.  Alcoholics make great friends.  Since I “joined” this group of folks, I have found some of the coolest people on the planet. AND I have found some of the coolest people on the planet that I knew OUTSIDE of AA were in the program and I had no idea.  They just were relaxed folks and I liked them. Now I find our they are Alcoholic!!   HA HA HA!!

Standing Still

It isn’t a bad thing.  And this morning I went to a meeting and I am going again tonight.  I haven’t solved anything or done anything.  Most importantly, I didn’t drink.

Stop Raining On the Parade

There is no doubt that AA Meetings have a certain flow, rhythm, personality.  There are some meetings I go to BECAUSE of the personality.  When I first stopped drinking, I would hear people say, “This is a good meeting, lots of newcomers.”  or “This is a good meeting, lots of sobriety.”  But no matter what some meetings just end up leaving you feeling flat.

Getting Fed

My aunt always used to say that she went to church to “Get Fed.”  I wasn’t sure what that meant and since I was a rebellious type and it was church, I wanted no part of it.  But that is the way it is at AA Meetings for me.  The “Keep Coming Back” is something we all joke about at one point or another.  One of us says something in a tone of frustration or grief toward themselves and the only answer is, “Keep Coming Back.” Meaning if I “Keep Coming Back” the answer will be shown to me, only I am the only one that can find it.  Our fellows in AA say that to us in support of the craziness we may be feeling in our recovery.  They cannot fix it for us but they can love us through it.

Agendas

There are those that come to meetings with an agenda.  Many times that agenda conflicts with the “Single Point Of Purpose” of AA as well as the Tradition to place “Principles over Personalities.”  Sometimes depending on how intense the message is, if it attacks someone’s share or is blatantly hurtful I shut down and get angry on the inside.  I don’t say anything to the person because I really don’t have that much sobriety under my belt (tomorrow is Purple chip day in fact) to take on someone with a lot of sobriety that just has a hair across their a$$.  The other part of me writes them off and doesn’t want them around.  (I know add them to my list!)

Laughter is the Best Medicine

This happened a while ago at a meeting I was at and so was my friend (I call him the Medicine Man) was there too.  I must have had a look of horror on my face when I was leaving and he stopped me.  We briefly talked about what had happened and he whispered in my ear, “Pay no attention dearie, he is an alcoholic!”  I started laughing.  It broke the ice on the anger I was holding on to.  Of course he was right.  Alcoholism is a disease and each person is effected differently and each person has so many other issues (which is why we have the steps), just because the alcohol is out of the equation doesn’t mean the person isn’t a SOBER train wreck.

When this happened this morning at our early bird meeting, this man had a lot of things to say to people and about people, what they should do and what they should not do, once again, I found myself retreating inside. I was angry. He lashed out at the group and at people that had asked the group for support.

When I got out of the meeting, I called my sponsor, she and I had heard this guy before and she said, “He’s an alcoholic.  Just let it go.”   I didn’t really want to let it go and now several hours later I am still hanging on to it or I wouldn’t be writing about it.  I am reminded of the first time I heard that from the Medicine Man and it makes me smile all of a sudden.

It Takes a Village

So one guy has messed with my head today while so many others have been such a gift.  Medicine Man and my Sponsor keep perspective for me and you all are here to read my thoughts and I appreciate it.  I am not going to drink today and tomorrow morning I am going to pick up my 5 month purple chip, because I am an alcoholic.