Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Quiet


View from my porch yesterday, May 15, 2015

There is a quiet up here after it snows.  Interrupted only by the occasional squabble of the birds at the feeder, a scolding from the squirrel  My knitting needles clicking.  The fire crackling.  The slide of snow off the roof.

The footprints in the snow are mine, coming and going to bring in wood or feed the birds. The other prints are from the other creatures that belong here.

This is what sobriety looks like to me.  Quiet. Unsullied by unnecessary trodding and stomping around.  Unbroken by relentless unnecessary babble.

Only me and the creatures that belong here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What If There Was No Such Thing As An Alcoholic?


Hey, do you know this guy?  I do, he's the guy I used as my yardstick to gauge whether or not I was an alcoholic.  Okay, maybe not this guy, but I definitely had an image in my head of what I thought an alcoholic looked like.  The blowsy bar fly with smeared red lip stick and blinking reindeer sweater lined up at the VFW potluck on Christmas Day because none of her kids invited her to their houses, her red solo cup of beer and smoldering cigarette waiting for her at the bar.

Yep, that was my vision of an alcoholic.  She gave me great comfort.  I wasn't her. And just as long as I didn't become her, I could happily keep on drinking.  Right?

Nope.  I was miserable.  And I knew the cause.  But as long as I wasn't an alcoholic, I didn't have to quit.

What if there was no such thing as an alcoholic?  What if that word had never been coined?

What would we have to defend our drinking against?  What excuse would we have to keep pursuing so fervently an activity that makes us unhappy?

If we could no longer console ourselves with the fact that we're not alcoholics, what excuse would we have to keep drinking ourselves miserable?

If I hadn't spent all those years assuring myself I wasn't an alcoholic, would I have just quit drinking just because it was making me miserable?

I think maybe it would be a good idea to abolish that word from our vocabulary.  Although I wear it these days as a badge of courage, I'd surrender it if it meant  people would quit using the excuse that they're not one, so they can keep on making themselves miserable.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Image result for jar of dandelions

Seems like I start every Mother's Day by going back.  Back to that last one before I quit drinking. When I worried whether my boys would even call, thinking that I deserved it if they didn't.  They always called.  I never felt like I deserved it.

Yesterday, I got this facebook message from my youngest, Matt, in response to a message I sent him about my concern for him and my daughter-in-law who are sergeant's in the Air Force. (For a little bit of my history with Matt, click here. A Day For Remembering )

Hey mom. .... I love you more than you'll ever know. As far as this situation goes I wish America would figure it out before it's too late. Id rather go fight them there and have civilian casualties there than here. If some thing doesn't happen it is going to end up on our door steps. But all that bs aside I love you and don't tell you enough and I'm glad you worry about me.

Yes, I'm bragging a little.  I deserve it.

P.S. For all my fellow mothers out there who are feeling undeserving out there today, don't give up on them, but most of all, don't give up on yourself. Love you, Kary


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Whatssup Doc?


Warning to all male readers! Clang! Clang! Clang!: Female stuff ahead.

Note to all Gynecologists out there:  Please don't tell your patient that you think she might have an STD until you get the results back!!

So here's how it all went down.  I finally followed through on my promise to go and get everything checked out this year.  Boobs, Butt and Bunnykins.  Boobs are fine, I have them checked every year.  Butt's dandy too, not due for the next voyage up the old poop chute (sorry, don't know what's come over me this morning) for a year or two.  After my last colonoscopy, my doctor proclaimed that I have the colon of a fifteen years old.  One of my smartass "real" friends told me I should give it back.

But the Bunnykins, well, the poor thing hasn't had a good looking over in about 4 years and it's been through some changes. 

MENOPAUSE!

 Hey, you there, you nasty bitch with your dry withering lips and your parsimonious precipitation, I will not let you steal this one last guilty pleasure of mine.  Okay, I have two guilty pleasures, ice cream and sex, sometimes a combination of both.

And you can't have them!!

So girls, you know the drill and the position.  The doctor's down there with the sheet over her head, like one of those old times photographers trying to get the best shot.

Her:  "Do you itch?"

Me: "Not in public." (Not really. I said, "Uh...no...")

Her: "Have you had any discharge?"

Me:  "Uh...no..."

Her:  "No green, smelly discharge?"

Me:  NO! (Hell, it's been like the Sahara Desert down there. I think I would have noticed.)

Her:  "Hmmm...You know my husband is a gynecologist too.  And one time he sent me off to a conference for a week.  When he got back, he didn't want to be with me.  Then I found out he had a girlfriend.  But now I am just concentrating on the good things. (Imagine this in broken English because this was in Mexico.)

Now imagine this: Me, legs spread, thought bubble floating above my head.  Why is she telling me this?  Poor her, she obviously can't get past this if she tells a brand new patient all about her husband's affair.  Boing!! Light bulb!

Me:  "What is it you think is going on down there?"

I see her shoulders shrug under the sheet.  Then her breezy reply floats up.

Her:  "I thought you might have  Trichomoniasis, but you said you didn't have green stinky discharge, so no worry. We'll know in a week."

A week!!!  Whattt???

Okay, I'll cut to the chase.  The test results are in and  I do not have Trichomoniasis, which is a sexually transmitted disease.  I never really thought there was any possibility that I did.  I knew that I hadn't done anything and I was pretty damn sure that the cap'n hadn't done anything, but you know what they say, "Do you ever really know another person?"

Let's just say it was a week of hell and suspicion and ups and downs and both of us eyeing each other as if we were strangers and then reassuring each other with, "God knows what you can catch off the toilet seats down here."

The test results came back fine, just some minor abrasions because I'm still a living breathing sexual being, dammitall, even if it is dryer than nuclear winter down there.

Now what does all of this have to do with drinking?  Well, there were a few times I might have thought,  God, I could really use a drink right now.

But I ask you, what in the above scenario would have been made better by getting drunk.  Use your imagination here.  Me, drunk, pointing a snarly one-eyed finger (yes, I know fingers don't have eyes, but I'm drunk remember?) at the cap'n.  "You dirty, rotten sumbitch!  I knew I should have listened to my ex-husband about you."

Nuff said.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Let's Talk About Audrey

While we're on the subject of hang-ups, let's talk about Audrey Kishline, or Audrey Conn, as she later preferred to be called.  I'm a little late to this discussion and there are all kinds of other opines out there about her life and death and what it all meant.

Here is mine.

I first "met" Audrey when she was doing the talk show rounds in the late 80's or early 90's, when Moderation Management was being formed.  I have this image of her imprinted on my mind (apt or not); short permed hair, high waist jeans, polo shirt, big glasses, pushing her toddler in a push toy of some sort down the sidewalk. "Geek mom". The kind of mom who I imagined had her kids' science fair projects planned out years in advance.

So unlike me, who was usually found to be screaming and pulling at my hair the night before every science fair.

"Whaddaya mean it's due tomorrow?"

I could not relate to that woman on the TV at all, but I liked what she had to say.

I could keep drinking.

I remember checking out the book at our local small town library, I remember thumbing through it. Reading the daily limits, the weekly limits, and then the 30 DAYS WITHOUT BOOZE.

And that's all I remember. I think it's probably one of the few books I actually managed to return to the library. Probably before it was even due.

For another twenty some years I stumbled down my thorny path, busily convincing myself there were roses somewhere in those brambles.

Then I decided I was tired of wondering around torn and bleeding. So I started this blog. And I started visiting the message boards.

And late one night, I remembered Moderation Management and decided to see what presence it had on the world wide web.  Bam! There it was.

That was in August of 2010. I'd heard all about Audrey's tragic turn of events and the accident that took the lives of two innocent people by then.  I found her story tragic and, maybe even a little despicable. But that didn't keep me from exploring MM.

When I joined, Audrey was not even a member.  But then about two years ago, maybe it was three, a new member showed up on the mmabsers mail list. I had done my one year stint of trying moderation by then and found that it was not the choice for me, and I was in the pink cloud stage of early abstinence.  I jumped on the big welcome wagon for this new member who seemed really upbeat and bouncy for someone new to the perm abs game.  I was a little more accustomed to the downtrodden and desperate. Like me.

I don't remember how long it took me to figure out that the new member was Audrey, but I can tell you when I did, I wasn't pleased.

And I let her know it.

How could she still be struggling with drinking, after what she did? How in the hell could she still be drinking?  I asked her. I said a few other things. Like, "I just don't know how I feel about this." (That was helpful, huh?)

I was chastised a little bit by the other members. Who was I to judge? That wasn't my job.  As for Audrey, she talked about her new hobby--juggling--her new website, her interviews with Sheryl, the woman whose husband and daughter she killed, the impact statements she and Sheryl participated in.

She dropped in on a few mmabsers chats. She was always upbeat, which infuriated me for some reason.  I kept mum and said nice things on the computer screen while I rolled my eyes and wondered when she was going to announce her new book, or show, or whatever....

Then she disappeared again.

Then I read about her suicide.

And felt sad and bewildered and disappointed and a little guilty. I could have been more supportive, but I'm not sure that Audrey was looking for support when she was at mmabsers.  She never seemed to reach out for it.  Maybe she was trying so damn hard to juggle all those balls, afraid if she let one drop, showed a little weakness, the whole world would come crashing down. Again.

So my feelings about Audrey are a bit ambiguous, to say the least.  She's not a hero in my eyes.  But I am so damn grateful she had the courage to buck the tide and start MM.  I might have found my way to recovery through other means, but, "Damn," I say with a tear in my eye and a catch in my throat, "I'm glad that in a round about way she introduced me to the people who people MM. I wouldn't have wanted to take this journey with anybody else."

So, again, my point?

Audrey had nothing whatsoever to do with my recovery.

MM had everything to do with it.

So don't get hung up on Audrey's story when you're looking for HELP.

If you're reading this and thinking, that maybe you're not ready to quit completely, or if you've tried to quit completely so many times, or if you just want to gain back some control, don't talk yourself out of trying MM because of one woman's tragic story.  MM has a whole lot of other members with a whole lot of different stories.

Mine is one of them.

P.S. I wanted to set one thing straight about Audrey's death, I owe her that much and more. Early reports stated that she was found with two empty bottles of Vodka and countless empty bottles of prescription pills and she hung herself.  According to family members, there were no booze or pill bottles found.

I also want to share a truth about Moderation Management:  It does not pressure its members to moderate. It provides tools and support for them.  If a person declares that they have chosen to permanently abs, as I did, they accept  and offer encouragement and support for your choice. I never once had someone try to talk me into trying moderation longer or harder and I've never had someone suggest that I try it again.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Don't Let Yourself Get Hung Up On All That Shit

So yesterday, I saw a shark on a bike. Okay, it wasn't actually pedaling the bike, it was slung over the handlebars while a smiling young Mexican girl pedaled the bike. And it was dead. The shark, not the bike.  I have a cool life. I do. Now my Midwestern, "Aw Shucks Roots" are prodding me to say, "Yeah, but you should see the dog shit I have to step over. And the Trash? It's everywhere." And while that's all true...

I have a cool life.

I can't blame it for my drinking.  I don't.

I had a wonderful childhood. Sure there was some shit and trash there, too. But I can't blame it for my drinking. I won't.

I don't know where to lay the blame for my drinking. I don't care. I never did. And I probably never will.

Because it doesn't matter.

IT DOES NOT MATTER!


“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
Just go right along, you'll start happening too!”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

In my recovery, I have been besieged by explanations, and theories, and booga-booga.  Is it a disease? Is it not?  Who gives a rat's ass? Was calling it a disease or not calling it a disease going to make it any easier for me to quit?

And then there's that power thing. Some people say you have to admit that you're powerless over alcohol. Some people stomp their feet and say they'll never admit they're powerless over anything.

Fine. I shrug my shoulders. Who cares?

Then there's the biggie. That God Forsaken Label.  ALCOHOLIC!!!

Am I one? Is there such a thing?  Do I care?

Not really.

For me:

IT DOES NOT MATTER!

Here is what does matter to me. (Finally! you say.)

Drinking made me miserable.

Not drinking, doesn't.

THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS!

Perhaps, just maybe, if you're spending all that time trying to figure it all out, it's because you're avoiding doing what you know you need to do, NO MATTER WHAT.



“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.

Some windows are lighted. but mostly they're darked. 
But mostly they're darked. 
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! 
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?” 



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Crazy Dog Lady



One of my favorite movies is "Hope Floats" starring Sandra Bullock and Gena Rowlands. It is about a daughter (Sandra) returning home to live with her somewhat zany mother (Gena).

There is a scene in that movie in which Gena Rowlands is up early in the morning, down in the creek feeding the ducks. Her dogs are barking and chasing the birds. The ducks are squawking and flapping their wings, rising up out of the water. The sun is turning the spray of water to geysers of sparkling diamonds. And Gena Rowlands is right smack dab in the midst of it all in her overalls and hip waders, tossing out more food, feeding the frenzy.

I so much wanted to be her, caught in that maelstrom, but at that time in my life, that early morning unbridled joy, those sun diamonds, were as unreachable as the moon and the stars.

All I could do is watch in wander that such moments existed.

This week I am at our little house in Dzilam de Bravo.  My friend, Linda, left yesterday to go back to Canada for a month and I am watching the brood of ragtag dogs that she has collected through the years. Twinky, Holbox, Bebe, Sparky and Toby have all found their way to her after being abandoned by their former owners.

This morning I am up with the sun. I gather my motley crew and herd them out the gate.  When we reach the stretch of road past the last house along the sea wall, I slip the leashes off.  There they go.

Unbridled Joy.

Toby bounds the seawall to chase the pelicans drying their wings on the rocks and the water sprays sun diamonds.

I made it.

I am the crazy dog woman I dreamed of being.

Hey, at least I'm not a crazy cat woman.