Monday, May 31, 2010

A Drinking Buddy

Conversation today reminded me of someone who spoke up at a workshop at the International Alanon Convention two summers ago in Pittsburgh. He was a gentleman, sixty-ish, who had been in Alanon a couple years, sober through the help of AA for 10 or 15 years. He briefly outlined that he had drunk freely during his sons' teen years and well into their 2o's. Now he was sad to say that they had drunk together and that he had groomed them as his drinking buddies. One had made it into recovery or had just cut down (drinking like a gentleman?)and the other was very far out there, a real alcoholic.

His remorse was sincere and his grief was deep but there was no self pity. He was dignified and hopeful and his image stayed with me.

What's good about today is forgiveness, for ourselves and others.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

'We Seek Our Own Coma'

That's a quote from Chuck Palahniuk's new book called Diary. I know I do, that is, seek my own coma, I don't live my own life so much as weather it. Chuck wrote Fight Club , another dark story about survival, made into a movie that some of my AA friends LOVE.

We all have our own favorite numbing, oops, relaxing habits. I can lose myself in a puzzle book, a piece of fiction or a series of naps. The ultimate numb out is suicide, the big sleep. That held my fascination for decades. We get numb with food, with TV and video games. It all gives me temporary shelter from the anxiety. If I was compulsive, I would definitely be an alcoholic.

Today was the memorial service for my neighbor's older son, he succumbed to his drug addiction last month. He sought relief for the last time, his days are done, his family knows where he is at. He will never grow older than thirty eight in this world. I did not know him, I was not crying or speaking his praises. Just the neighbor from across the street. A witness to the day.

What's good about today is that I am above ground, still breathing the prana breath.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Affected, The Afflicted & The Untouched

Now and then in my morning meeting I am reminded that the mind of a chronic alcoholic is different from mine. Someone spoke about a co-worker who was asking some 'naive' questions about the compulsion to drink. He found the gulf between himself and the other gentleman was huge, difficult to explain it to someone so removed from alcoholic use. The recovering person felt affronted by such oblivion, feeling that everyone ought to know something about the disease.

My reaction, the polar opposite, was happiness that there are really people who have the pleasure of not knowing much about it. To live with active disease is to have it pushed in your face, a crash course in deception and consequences. When I took a self-admitted drug and alcohol addicted woman into my life I was optimistic that because we were both smart, loving and educated about the disease that we had an excellent chance at a good life together. I was sleeping with my purse under my pillow in a few short months. I learned that the disease is cunning, baffling and all powerful. It does not care about our lives, it will take and take until there is nothing left. It was the first time in my life that I could not get what I wanted.

There are people whose lives ARE unscathed by active disease. I say they are lucky for reasons known only by a power greater than ourselves. Had I not taken an alcoholic into my life, I would not have experienced the disease. As a teen, I had never seen anyone drunk until I went away to school and I quickly become one of them. By the grace of God, it was only a phase and I outgrew it.

So, we are who we are, living a segment of our lives for who knows what reason. What's good about today is compassion for others, let me not judge for I am just a child among others in a world of mystery.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our Lives Had Become Unmanagable

No matter what program we call our own, that statement pretty much sums it up. If I stay close to meetings, I am reminded that there is little to manage, that life is pretty simple, one day at a time.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Wednesday

When I leave my morning meeting and drive down the woodsy roads to work, I know exactly what I'm going to blog about that evening. There will be this perfect program related revelation, simple and elegant. So, simple that I'm sure that I will remember it later.

And I don't. There's a couple note takers in that meeting and I'm going to have to have some paper to jot down a few words that will cue my memory. I may have to pull off the road because it is in the car that something comes to me. This morning I SWORE that I would certainly remember. And at this moment, fourteen hours later, it's gone. Maybe it's short term memory problems


a casualty of staying in the moment!?

What's good about today is that in the morning, God willing, I get another chance.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

I don't know why but I got'em. Warm Fuzzies, that is.

Gratitude for


my ability to blog, just surpassed 250 posts

returning to what works, meetings, exercise, prayer, love for mystery and beauty

living in this day and time and place

the everlasting wisdom of accepting the things that I cannot change

and the courage of speaking my truth.

That's what's good about today.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Not All My Days Are Winners

Meaning that I have to be patient with myself and with recovery. Today I am caught in that lethargy of lots to do but not able to make myself get up and get into it. Fighting the 'you have better program than this' committee in my head, I can pick up any baseball bat and pound myself.

Actually fight is the wrong word. I'm trying to accept myself as I am and forget the expectations that I have that only make me miserable and make it easy to slide into self pity. The worse I badger myself the more stubbornly I dig in my heels and the deeper I plant myself into the couch cushions!

For whatever reason, in the big design, today is just the way it is supposed to be and I am right where I'm supposed to be and all is well in God's world. And that's what's good about today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Unmerited Gifts

Someone mentioned un-merited gifts the other day, words from the Big Book. This is why I need this excellent meeting. It reminds me that I am blessed. And it reminds me of the Giver. If I am lucky, I will be reminded of it when I'm in church. But all things being equal, I'm more likely to hear it in my meeting.

And that's what's good about today.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Starting the Day Off Right

Why is it that we do not want to do the things that will help us? Someone mentioned that to me a year ago, his name was Hugh and he came to the morning meeting for a couple weeks and I never saw him again. I remembered it because it was so simple and so true.

My norm has always been to get up eagerly to get into the day. For the last six months I've had trouble with that, don't want to get going, would rather stagnate in bed.

But this morning I woke up hearing my name called. I believe that someone in the meeting was thinking of me. Off I went.

And that's what's good about today.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Okay, some of you are saying 'It's Sunday', I know, I know, here goes and please forgive the grammar . . .

'I SHOULD . . . all over my self

One of my character defects that underpins my need to be in judgement mode, I practice on myself. Thinking about what I should be doing puts me right into analysis paralysis. It's also a way of practicing unacceptable behavior. I seldom suggest that someone else 'should' do something but I am constantly 'shoulding' on myself, as the founder of Gestalt School of Psychology, Fritz Perls observed.

What's good about today is that I can try to be a better friend to myself. Makes sense?

Thursday, May 13, 2010


At the morning meeting today I was able to say that what's good about today is program, I gave them my neighbor's story of loss and said that with the help of program there is hope, without program-not so much.

It occurs to me that any when a minority does not receive equal opportunities we are cheated out of knowing them and civilization limps along with the benefit. When addiction takes someone out, it is the same. If the figures of 1 out of 10 are correct then we lose all the help of those parents, those good hearts, those people who could have helped build our future while instead they are sedated, jailed or dead.

I love the people at my meeting. They, like me, have been brought to their knees. We are kin of the same higher power. If I didn't know them, I would not know people in recovery, I would not believe in transformation.

And that it is earned and kept a day at a time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another Sad Story

My neighbor and her husband are a tad older than me, they moved in about 6 years ago. Her eldest had a heroin habit, he had been clean for a number of years and had relapsed big time a couple years ago. I invited her to an Alanon meeting and she and her husband went to another one later.

I'm not close with her and don't think that they ever made a 12 step program part of their life. She's pretty fearful and glued to her cell phone so we really don't talk much but she and her husband have always been good neighbors and helped me out with the house.

She came over to talk in the driveway to tell me that her son had passed away about a week ago. He was traveling by bus to try to make some things right with his wife and children. They had texted a couple times and then he was out of contact. He never got off the bus. They found his body in the bathroom when the bus returned to it's point of origin in New York.

Yes, addiction is a real disease. And it's everywhere.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Six Words Says It

This Moment Is All We Have

My son is thinking, just thinking, he says, of going into the army. I feel privileged that he would share this with me. He hasn't spoken to anyone else. I understand that he wants to get away and to sign on to what sounds like a solution. I think he would not be considering this if he was employed and if he was not racking up consequences.

Even a year ago my peace-lovin self would have been offended at the thought of my only child giving his body and future to the military. But now I accept God's will over my own, I do not know the wisdom or the folly of anything, I was not appointed to judge. For some reason, through the ages, humans keep banding together and rationalize bearing arms. It's beyond me but I accept it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Black Belt Story

(First, let me thank my commenter for his gracious words, I want to make my anti-depressant a moral issue and that is probably stupid, umm, unfair.)

Ten years ago when I came into Alanon it was because I needed to cope with an alcoholic girlfriend. Surprisingly, one of the gifts of 'the program' is that it made me a better parent. I've learned to pick my fights, saywhatyoumean/meanwhatyousaybut don'tsay it mean and reserve judgement. In all areas of my life it's good to remember to lighten up.

That said, I gotta tell you, my kid is driving me nuts. In the past year and a half he has slowly but surely amassed a total of at least 3 minor to moderate car accidents, one ticket, a GPA that continues to drift down, lost or quit 2-3 (does it count if you don't start?) jobs. On St Patty's Day he had an ETOH related ER visit (found out when Aetna sent me an EOB) and this past weekend his (my) car was impounded because when he was pulled over for his ticket, he happened to have an unopened beer with him.

He believes that, metaphorically (his word, not mine) he needs to slow down. I agree.

I believe that 'this' must stop. He agrees.

I say that if you don't speed, you don't get a ticket; if you stay away from other cars, most accidents don't happen; if you don't drink, you don't get drunk. I say it's the same reality for all of us. I believe he was silent.

I say if there are any more car or alcohol incidents I need to think about taking away the car because I don't want anyone hurt. More silence.

Here are the gifts of the program, I didn't say every threatening thing on my mind because I was annoyed and knew it. I can hope this is just dumb senioritis stuff and not indications of a a deeper problem. I can have confidence that as time goes on and there are more challenges, my higher power and I will figure it out. I know that if the time comes, I will detach with love because to deny the truth and enable addiction is to delay recovery.
And most importantly, I know that I can have a happy life whether my alcoholic is drinking or not. So, you see, I didn't lay him out with my black belt--just flexing it a little.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm Not Sure . . .

if I'm starting to calm down or just legally stoned. You will notice that I seldom blog anymore, it doesn't feel like anything is happening or that I have anything to report. I had a good idea for a blog entry driving to work from the morning meeting and knew there was a good chance that I'd forget it by evening.

I'm lost in the fiction of Charlaine Harris, have read the first 5 Sookie books. It's damsel in distress stuff, rescued by handsome vampires or shape-shifters. Fun to think about parallel universes, I love that stuff. Sookie always gets smashed up at least twice in each book & then healed by the supernatural, I doubt that I could take the HBO version of the books (True Blood) as I don't watch women (or men) getting broken as entertainment but imagining it in my head is different. Kind of fuzzy around the edges.

Which brings me back to my first sentence. The anti-depressant is helping me sleep and I don't cry anymore. My brain is quieter, not always finding me things that I should do. Fewer shoulds is good. But I also lay around a lot. If my son was laying around, smoking pot, I would not approve. I can be legally lethargic and wander through my day unmotivated to do anything beyond sitting in the moment. Hey, that's not so bad.

My comfort is that whether on drugs or not, all is as it should be in God's world. My preference is to be less controlling and continue the drug experience, enjoy my ability to meditate and be satisfied with what each moment shows me, there is more to be revealed if I can be patient.
I guess it's not for me to decide what's good or bad, when it's time for something to change, it will unfold.

I had to use my Alanon black belt today but that is a story for another day.