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.

Advertisements

Cleaning Out the Locker, Part I

As I started the step work with my sponsor, I was very aware of the fact that I started procrastinating when the “Going Got Tough.”  But because of my impatience, there was also the urge to rush through things just to say I had done them so I could move on to the next thing. This happened when I may not have been thorough in my thinking.  I could “say” that I finished even though I honestly didn’t.

Dirty Laundry

I have it.  Perhaps you do too. That is why I need to work the Steps to have a method in dealing with those things that caused me to drink, drug or whatever I used in an unhealthy way to escape.  Escape from myself.  Escape from you.  Now that there is no drinking or drugging, how do I live?

A Milestone

When I was 16, I started working.  As soon as I could legally work, I worked.  I met new friends from many surrounding towns.  Now many of these people I participated with on a regional sports team and competed around the state and New England.  Because of my athletic discipline, I was developing physically and had the curves to prove it.  The sport I did was swimming. Swimming certainly allowed for less clothes than let’s say, basketball, but I failed to see that my swim suit showed a young woman and not the little girl I was still inside.

The Job

Because of swimming, school and my job, everything was changing for me rapidly.  I developed some self esteem because I was a good swimmer, held records, friendly and popular.  I developed discipline to go to practice, go to school, go to work.  My friends and I were too busy to get into much trouble.  You may call us Jocks and perhaps we were but I generally view it as we had different goals than other kids and didn’t have a lot of time to get into much trouble.

Boy Meets Girl

At my job, I met a boy from the next town that was 3 years older than I was.  He was funny, he was in college and I liked him.  He wasn’t particularly handsome but he lit up my world whenever I saw him at work.  That was a new feeling for me. He had a car and a license.   I had the same name of a girl that he used to go out with.  They had broken up, he had told me the reasons but it seemed to me that he was on the “sad” end of the stick.

One day after swim practice he picked me up.  We went for a ride out to an island and watched the sunset and talked.  Knowing my father had a very strict curfew, we both knew the time we had.  On that day, our friendship turned into a relationship.  I went from being “one of the girls” to being “his girl.” He wasn’t overly possessive but we became a couple and I felt safe and loved and respected around the whole situation.  We held hands and kissed occasionally.

As our relationship grew, the summer came to a close and he went back to college.  We were still “an item.”  I was a sophomore in High School and he was in a fraternity at a University 2 hours from where we lived.  We only had house phones then,  lots of long distance calls and letters.  Fall meant an increase in swim practice.  Because of my ability as a swimmer, I swam on the Girls Team, practiced with the Boys Team and also with the regional team.  I swam and swam.

Fall Regionals

I qualified for the Thanksgiving Regional Meet to be held at the same University that my boyfriend attended.  I was the leading backstroker for that Meet.  Meanwhile, I was just excited to see my boyfriend, whom I had not seen since September.  Regional events drag on for days.  Lots of down time waiting for your turn. I snuck off to see my boyfriend, who’s fraternity house was just down over the hill from the pool.  It was a Saturday night and when I went into the house in my High School Swimming Uniform everyone was happy to see me.  The whole time I knew I was “sneaking around,” I knew I couldn’t stay long.  Breaking rules wasn’t my normal way of operating so I was pretty nervous.  They ushered me into the House and found my boyfriend.  He along with many others in the house had been drinking.  I had never seen him this way.  And as a swimmer I was not supposed to be around alcohol, much less out of the pool.  I would be ineligible to compete if anyone had found out.

After a big smelly hug and a “I am so happy to see you!!  How did you get away?”  My boyfriend and I left the main dining room and went to his room for a brief “one on one” visit.  The minute I got into his room he grabbed me by the arm and pushed me against the back of the door hard and pressed himself and his lips against mine. I would rather not go into the details of what happened next.  But let’s just say, I didn’t plan on losing my virginity that way.  It was rough and painful.  Even though I begged that he stopped, he didn’t.

He Passed Out

I put my bathing suit back on hoping that it wasn’t torn, the rest of my school uniform and ran the best I could, back to the pool crying.  My legs were shaking and I was aching inside and out.  I snuck back into the locker room hoping no one would notice that I had been gone.  I had broken a lot of rules that would get me in serious trouble but all I could think about was my broken heart and lost virginity.

More later…

So Many Ways to Surrender

Being brought up in a religious, fundamental style home, I certainly was God Fearing.  In fact, I would sit in the back seat of Mom’s car after church, hoping I died on the way home. I felt that only then, I was pure enough to go to heaven.  The rest of the week, I was a sinner and doomed.

A Power Greater Than Myself

I had no problem coming to grips with that concept.  Giving my will over is not easy for me. From what others say in the program, it is difficult for them too. As I attend meetings (hit 2 yesterday and 2 again today), this surrender process is just that a “process.”  So many times I know, I just know that something has happened, someone has called me or I have seen someone that has impacted my day or more so, my life. It is not my doing whatsoever, it is certainly that of my Higher Power.  And I certainly have done my best to blame God. When my two best friends in High School were killed on the way home from a dentist appointment, I blamed God.  I am sure that there are times that everyone does.

Those Steps

As I worked through Steps 4 and 5, my list of character defects was long. It was a horrible process.  I felt worse and worse with every aspect of my character I admitted I hated about myself.  And while my sponsor was supportive and helpful, I felt tremendous guilt that I had become such a monster.  As Step 5 work began, it was a relief to turn it over, to say, “HERE!  I did it, now please take it.”  But it doesn’t go away.  Steps 6 and 7 are reminders that we need to give it up. While I was in the pit of it, I felt some relief.  As part of living, I get on my knees and pray about it, ask for help and be thankful, but 50 years of living the way I lived, doesn’t fix itself in 7 1/2 months.

Is HP My “HandyMan?”

If you are my age you remember the song, “Handyman” by James Taylor.  “….I’m not the kind that use the pencil or rule…” that one. This song is about someone with a broken heart and I have one.  I broke it myself.  And I am hard to convince (stubborn) to trust again. Trust myself much less to trust God!

Work In Progress

I used to say, “I have Trust Issues.”  I do.  Like many of us, people I needed and depended on have let me down, hurt me, broken my heart. It started when I was too young to be able to do anything about it, thus, I had never learned how to trust. As I got older, I learned I could only trust myself and then when I drank, I gave that away to alcohol. So here I am, learning the ABC’s all over again.

First Things First

I need to trust again, myself and my Higher Power.  Then continue to turn my will over, not “One Day At A Time,” one minute at a time, just like the day I stopped drinking.

How Did THAT Happen?

It may not have been that long but I cannot help feeling that some things are happening that I never would have guessed.  It has kind have been a situation of getting a freight train going, though sometimes I do stop and roll backward.  For now, I am just putting it with something my Higher Power has in mind for me and even though I am trying to push it into place faster, I guess I am just not ready for too much of the “right” things to happen, yet.

Day 212

Gotta wonder if this is number is symbolic in some way?  Today, I have 212 days and until I looked it up on the app on my phone, I honestly didn’t know it was exactly this day.  212 degrees Fahrenheit is the boiling point of water.  That was where everything was in my life before I got sober.  Always at a boiling point just ready to overflow.  Often like a boiling pot, it overflowed and even if I cleaned up the mess there was still plenty of hot mess on the burner left behind. (*smell*)  So here I am taking in all what the Higher Power will let me have and like everything I don’t seem to have the patience to wait and I want more.

Changes

There have been tons of changes since last summer.  My life is much more peaceful than it was.  Work still sucks.  The situation with my partners hasn’t gotten any worse but it still is broken.  I am not taking it so personally nor am I blaming myself because I didn’t follow through because I was too drunk to notice. BUT status quo may not be a bad thing.  I still get a paycheck while I am healing.  I can work a flexible schedule and get a meeting in without having to “ask the boss.”  I can meditate as part of my daily schedule.  Meanwhile I do work and I am cultivating a new venture that is helpful to my business and doesn’t hurt it.  But I still live in the same house, my dogs are healthy, my life is ok.  As I list this out, I feel like God is watching over me, while I get my act together.

People

Because of this new adventure I have met some new people, got re involved with some old relationships, feeling energized.  I am sitting quietly once in a while and rather than becoming impatient, I am letting my Higher Power show me what he has in store and I think it is going to be exciting!  In His time, not my will be done.

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.

The Day of the Jester

It’s funny when I was drinking, I didn’t realize that everything I did and how I acted was followed by an exclamation point.  The more alcohol, everything became CAPITALIZED  and in BOLD.  The  !!!  just got bigger and bigger until the only thing that was larger than life was the train wreck I had become.

“Chip” Club

I am not sure of the origin or why we have poker chips to mark our time in sobriety but we do. The first few months are plastic chips then they turn into some sort of metal-ish chip.  Again, I am not sure of why the colors are what they are or why they are poker chips but they become pretty special and the origin doesn’t matter.  At the end of our meetings (as I believe with most AA meetings),  the chips are held up and announced to the group to mark time in sobriety.  Some presenters have their own little funny saying when they hold up the chips. Like one man said when he held up the RED chip for “30 days and a thousand nights” and tho we all laugh it is because we all know how much “One Day At A Time” can mean and stringing 30 together is an accomplishment – especially when it is your first 30 days.

Purple

On Saturday, I celebrated my 5 month.  I collected my PURPLE chip in front of my home group. It was a small turn out but those close to me in AA, either came to the meeting or sent me a text.  My Sponsor came and she chaired the meeting.  It made me feel pretty special.  I call the Purple Chip the JESTER chip, because for me in the past 5 months and working the steps I can really see some not so attractive things about myself.  One of the biggest things that I have always known about myself is that I have a sense of humor about pretty much everything.  Sometimes that sense of humor gets turned on it’s head and it cuts like a knife into people.  When I was drinking, I don’t believe I always knew it was happening and sometimes (it gets worse…) I did not care.  Like I was even happy about it.  Pretty disgusting when you think of it.  Dumping on someone else because I think they deserved it.  And it made me feel better.  What a demon I was to do that.

Amends

Today, I met with my Sponsor and we were going through my “Amends” List. I cannot even begin to tell you how many people I need to apologize to because of this “pleasant” little flaw of mine.  Many of these “zingers” I am not sure I remember but I am sure that will come to me in time.  So Janis has some work to do.  Hopefully I wont get discouraged and throw in the towel.  I appreciate all of you for listening to me tonight.  I also appreciate my Sponsor for not making me feel worse than I all ready do.  I am really sure this is a “WE” program and with the grace of God, I will become a better person because of it.

New Friends

I am not sure if I have written about this person or not but he has been very important to my recovery.  I KNOW what you are thinking but it isn’t like that.  He has native american roots and as I have said before I feel nature and respond to it.  Having him as someone I can talk to makes AA all the better.

LOTS of Meetings

Okay, I have gone to a lot of meetings.  Almost every day I get to one and some days 2 and on sh&tty days 3!  Perhaps this is a new addiction but it is time spent on my recovery and not in a barroom.  It calms my nerves and soothes me-sometimes it pisses me off.  I guess any time you sit around in a group of people that can happen.  But as many people say, pain is part of healing, laughing is part of healing.  As long as it’s healing and I’m not drinking I guess it is a good thing.

The Preacher

I may have mentioned before there is a guy around here that is a long sober person, I actually call it “long suffering and sober.”  I know it isn’t nice to say stuff like that about folks in the fellowship but recovering alcoholics can be asshats just like “normal” people.  This guy  pretty righteous.  He tells people “How it is.”  “How they should live.”   When he first came back from his “snowbirding” (that is what we in the North call folks that escape the cold and weather here to go to Florida or other points South and return in the Spring), I was newly sober.  I mean DAYS sober.  In round robin, he would contribute and it was like a broken record, though some days he would downright visibly upset someone.  I decided in silence that I would ignore him.  His 20+ years or 30 if you counted when he smoked pot ….blah blah blah.  It was clear to me that I needed to find some new people in my life to connect with and he certainly wasn’t going to be one of them.

It Takes A Village

There was a man with crazy white hair. Sometimes he wore a ponytail and sometimes not.  He had a warmth and love for everyone you can feel it.  And he was long sober and come to find out, had experience in the mental health field.  Most of the folks in the Homeless Shelter (where I go to most of my meetings) are hours sober, many mentally compromised.  But there are a few that have some time in and their perspective is helpful when the wheels are turning round and round in your head. I was barely working the steps, just coming out of the fog and there seemed to be more native americans at some of our meetings.  Their sharing about how they felt in nature, the peace they felt just being in a place with the wind blew or the water flowed was one I could truly identify with. I felt at ease with this sort of conversation instead of the thumping of truth that others chose to throw out there.

Medicine Man

When I came through the fog it wasn’t sudden, it slowly lifted.  I thought that once I stopped worrying about my breath smelling and took some showers, I wouldn’t have anything to worry about.  Was I ever wrong.   I honestly needed help just living.  I could brush my teeth and yes I even worked but breaking old habits was strange to me.  Just finding a restaurant for lunch that didn’t serve alcohol was pretty foreign.  I needed that in the first weeks mostly because every place I went into, knew of my “usual” and would often meet me at the table with it all ready mixed.  That wasn’t going to work.  The Medicine Man answered all my stupid questions and helped me learn to think again.  He helped me to find some vitamins and homeopathics to help ease the fogginess.  Just something silly like the right herbal tea before bed was gold to me.

The Newcomer

The Medicine Man reminded me today about newcomer syndrome – like even newer than me. Stuff that I hadn’t thought about in a month or so.  And that person that has a couple days or a week under their belt needs so little but a smile and encouragement.  Just like for me and it is precious.  Acceptance.  They belong.  They matter.  We are all fighting this battle together.