Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bird Brained


I posted this on the Moderation Management Facebook page yesterday and some smartass ;) wrote back and said, "If you were this, waiting for a sign is it???" Okay, maybe they weren't being a smartass, maybe they have one of those brains that can't see the number in a square of dots or their brain sees the green light on a stoplight as red and vice versa. Good thing, they have people like me to spell it out for them.

"No Dumbass! Read the left side of the sign first (btw, I typed in "right side of the sign first" first.) and when you think the stoplight is green it's really red so don't GO for Chrissakes! You think, you'd learn after your kajillionth total body crunch! (medical term for, "Uh-oh, you're totally fucked up.)"

Now on to today's featured post.

I live in one of those 70's A-frame cabins, the ones that as a kid we used to see strung along the highways in Colorado and New Mexico next to signs that said, "Build your dream cabin in a weekend."  It is not a modified A-frame that actually allows for some straight up and down walls to which you can back up furniture flush with the wall, this one starts its A slant from the ground up leaving about 1000 sq. feet of living and breathing space in a home that measure 1800 sq feet of floor space.

Our cabin has that standard gargantuan triangle window nestled in the peak of the A from which you usually have tremendous views, unless it's our window.

You see, the cap'n and I are both afraid of heights and in the ten years we've lived here we've only worked our nerve up one time to wash it. We were both drinking back then so I have a feeling Jack Daniels had something to do with the abundance of nerve. We probably fought over the ladder after a couple of courageous pours.

Since one of us sobered up (me) the grime on the window has gone un-threatened.

We have the same conversation at the beginning of every summer.

Me: "I'm going to call someone to come wash that window."

The cap'n:"No, don't.  I'm going to replace it this summer with a triple pane."

The grime folds its arms across its hairy chest and  mocks me the rest of the summer.

Over the years, the occasional bird has flown into the window and knocked itself silly, tumbling down to our deck where it sits for a few minutes trying to get its wits about it and then it flies off all wobbly and unsure, probably wondering if it would be a good idea to give up flying altogether.

This summer, though, the birds have been signing up for kamikaze missions at an alarming rate. Almost hourly I hear their little bird-brained noggins hit the glass and I look up just in time to see them spiral down to the deck.

I guess our window has built up enough dirt that it has become like the silvering on the back of a mirror. When the bird flies up there, he sees another bird who looks a lot like him flitting around and a bunch of trees with a whole 'nother set of feeders full of corn right behind the mirror image of him. So he goes for it.

Now I'm not totally sure how bird brains work. Do they retain memories other than where my feeders are located?  Are there a bunch of other birds squawking from their little spindles on the feeders, "Dude, don't go up there, it's just a mirage. Get your ass back down here where the real stuff is."

If birds could read and I wasn't sober, I'd grab a ladder and climb up there and tape up a big sign,

"Danger! Objects in the mirror appear larger than life. They are not real! Listen to what the other birds are telling you! Fly the other way!"

Day before yesterday I watched as a little yellow breasted wren performed it's death spiral down to my deck. I went out, it was just laying there, its little wings tucked in close, its little eyes like those X's you see on dead cartoon characters. I looked for a tiny heartbeat. I ran my finger along the edge of its wing. But there was nothing.

I picked it up and took it to the bridge over our stream and let it go.

I'm sure you can get the moral of this story without me having to spell it out.

No, it's not that I need to clean the window, even though that's also true.

P.S. In my family, "Smartass" and "Dumbass" are terms of endearment. We're all immature second grade boys and girls out on the playground at recess, if we call you names, it means we really like you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Abs Chat Tonight: 9:00 PM EST


I'll be hosting tonight. Stop in and grab a fire extinguisher!"

A little bit about MM's abs chat. It's very informal, eventually we get around to talking about drinking. The audience is made up of MM members, most of them doing or attempting an extended period of abs. They are always curious to hear about life in Permanent Abstinencedom and how we made that choice. I'm sure they'd love to hear your stories if you want to stop by.

We do not allow any conversation about moderation during this chat, but we also don't bash moderation and tell them that they're wasting their time, because at MM we don't believe that attempting moderation is a waste of time. I liken my year of attempting moderation to the period of time that many people who choose abstinence right out of the gate spend going back and forth between absing and drinking-what a lot of the abs world calls relapses. I don't think of them as relapses as much as I think of them as learning periods. One more lesson that we have to learn before we have the knowledge necessary to accept that permanent abstinence from alcohol is the right choice for us. No shame in that.

Here's the info:

Abs Chat is focused on abstaining from alcohol—on a permanent basis,
long-term, or even for a shorter period of time (like a 30!).
Everyone is welcome to attend, and to participate, but we won't be
discussing moderation techniques or plans. For discussions of
moderate drinking, we invite you to participate in the Monday Night
Book Chat or the Tuesday Night Online Meeting.
So if you're abstaining, planning to, curious about it, wondering
whether it would be a good idea, or just want to hang out for sober
fun, stop by!
See you there! http://www.moderation. org/chat/

** PLEASE NOTE: Abs Chat will be held in the Abs Chatroom. When
logging in, use the drop-down box to select MM_Abs_Chat. If you wind
up in the wrong room, you can move between rooms by clicking on the
room list to the right of the chatroom screen. **

Monday, August 15, 2016

Just A Reminder: Alternative Roads To Recovery Tele-Summit starts today!

Today is the first day of, the “Alternative Roads To Recovery Tele-Summit” event in which I did an interview promoting Finding Help For Your Drinking via Online Communities will be available online. My interview is today! 
The registration link is: www.alternativeroadstorecovery.com
The following people are included as speakers: 
• Beverly Sartain, Spiritual Psychology in Recovery
• Mike Massey, SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training)
• Kary May Hickey aka me, Online Recovery Communities
• Kenneth Anderson, HAMS (Harm-reduction, Abstinence and Moderation Support)
• Fred Haas, Intuition in Recovery
• Dr. Rigo Brueck, Intensive Outpatient Programs
• Byron Kerr, LifeRing
• Dr. Raymond Pomm, Medication-assisted Treatment
• Durga Lee, Yoga of Recovery
• Alida Schuyler, Recovery Life Coaching
• Patrik Schmidle, Mentorship in Recovery
• John Haspel, Mindfulness Based Recovery
There will be 3 speakers each day Monday - Thursday and Friday will be an encore day where the listeners will be able to listen to all the recordings again
I hope you find this event educational and inspirational. Please forward this to others involved in helping people help themselves.
Thanks and best!
****When you go to register, you'll put in your email and name and then be directed toward a chance to pay for a recovery plan. You do not need to do this to register for the program. You will receive and email. Make sure and check your Spam folder.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Self-Preservation



So, I went to mass last Sunday (I bet you guys are "praying" for the day I return to MX and all my blogs start out, "When I was walking on the beach this morning...), I wasn't really in the mood, the cap'n and I had been fighting and I was on Day 6 of no carbs which means no ice cream and I was that kind of weepy where if anybody looked at me wrong or said something nice, I was going to burst into tears. I huddled over in the corner of the very back pew to avoid either circumstance and kind of wondered what the heck I was doing there.

My inner voice had bribed me by saying, "There might be something really valuable at mass today. Something that will make giving up drinking and ice cream and everything else that makes life worth living  worth it."

"Huh?" I said. But I went.

I was sitting there before mass started trying not to think about how sorry I felt for myself, when I got the idea to open up the missal to a random page and see if there was a message there for me.

Yep, there was.

Here it is:

"I will extol you, Oh Lord, for you drew me clear/and did not let my enemy rejoice over me. Oh Lord, you brought me up from the netherworld/you preserved me from among those going down into the pit. "

Yeah, I think that was meant for me.

Now, the task is to figure out why I was preserved.

I guess that's a question for all of us who have found a lasting sobriety, Why did we make it, when so many don't? I don't think it has anything to do with being chosen, or being stronger, or being smarter, or being anything more than the others.

I think it has only to do with choosing to save ourselves. It has to do with putting ourselves first.

No matter what.

To love ourselves.

No matter what.

To not drink.

No matter what.

Though the mountains may fall and the hills turn to dust.

Amen.

For those still struggling:

Quit pickling yourself, preserve yourself for something better.

Choose you!

Over and over again.

No matter what.

(Ha ha, disregard the whiny, self-pitying first few paragraphs of this post, that was a hormonal, carb-deficient, atypical day. I still wouldn't trade it for a hangover, though!)

Monday, August 8, 2016

A New Tool-Your Kids


"Teach Your Children"

You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you'll know by.
Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of the tender years can't know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children's hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix,the one you'll know by.
Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.


As a mom, I was a giver-inner. I was tired, I was harried, I was young, but more than anything else, I wanted my kids to like me. I wanted to be the fun mom.

I can imagine me as a mom looking up at a waterslide that there was no way in Hell, I'd go down and saying to my kids, "Over my dead body, will I let you go down that thing."

And then caving. Because the begging was unrelentless. Because it was hot. Because all the other kids were going. Because I knew how much my son would enjoy bragging to his friends that he'd gone down the Insane Slide of Doom.

I can understand that.

What I can't understand is how I put my kids at risk by my excessive drinking over and over in their young and vulnerable lives. Want me to mention a few and make you and me cringe?

We had hordes of kids spend the night almost every weekend down in our basement, not to mention my own kids. I can remember thinking I shouldn't drink and put not only my  kids at risk but other parents' kids at risk. Then I'd think, I can have a couple. And we all know where that goes. I can remember thinking, right before I passed out Friday after Friday, Please, God, don't let there be a fire in the basement because I know I'll never wake up in time to save those kids.

I can remember taking my tween boys and a neighbor boy that we always called our "Other Son" out in the country to let them drive. I can remember having my Big Gulp of JD and Diet Coke right there in the cup holder. Tragedy was just one over correction on a loose dirt road away. It makes me sick and so ashamed to think of that.

Then there was the time my oldest son was having a birthday slumber party. I drove around to collect all the boys that were coming. Of course, it was a Friday evening and I had met my co-workers at our customary watering hole after work for a couple or more. And, of course, I had my Big Gulp right beside me in the car as I picked up boy after boy.  Then I thought it would be a really fun idea to have a Chinese Fire Drill, just like I had done when I was their age. I stopped in the middle of the main highway that runs through our town and the boys all jumped out and ran around the car and jumped back in. All except my son who sat in the backseat cringing. I might have seemed like the cool, fun mom to his friends, but I was his embarrassing drunk mom to him.

All of those events and many more could have ended in a tragedy that would have ruined dozens if not hundred of lives when you extend to grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, the whole community of our town.  Tragedy might have happened even if I hadn't been drinking, but I was.

Every week, hell, every day, it seems like I read about another senseless tragedy in which a child is killed. The little boy on a family vacation in Orlando. An eleven year old girl stuck by lightening at summer camp. Children swept away by floods or tornadoes...So many.

And now,  another child who probably was a little scared but wanted to prove he wasn't, died on a waterslide that he wasn't big enough to go on in KC. Probably no one is big enough to go on that slide.

Another mother will live the rest of her life without her son.

While I, undeservingly,  got to watch my sons grow to adulthood.

I propose a new tool to help us quit drinking, or to keep our drinking in "safe" parameters. 

Never drink around your kids. I don't care if you swear you'll drink responsibly and only have two. Instead, if you're going to drink, make sure that it is when you're children are safe in the care of another adult. 

Tragedy is too close at all times in childhood, we, as parents,  don't need to invite it closer.

Teach your children well. Teach them that parents keep their kids as safe as they possibly can so they can teach their children the same thing.

Are you sitting there with your arms folded across your chest, adamant that your drinking doesn't affect your kids? 

I have a dare I'd like you to accept.

We drinkers make lots of lists for ourselves about the pros and cons of our drinking, why we shouldn’t drink, things that are better when we don’t drink.  

I dare you to ask your children to do the same.  Ask them to make a list of the good and bad things about your drinking.  That would be a real eye opener, wouldn’t it?

Too scared?  I don’t blame you, I’m too scared too.

Maybe you can fill one out for them.  I’ll give you some sample questions.

Have I ever embarrassed you because of my drinking?

Have you ever felt that drinking was more important to me than you?

Have you ever wished I didn’t drink?

Have you ever been able to tell that I was drunk?

Do I scare you when I’m drinking?

Have you been able to tell when I’m hungover?

Have I ever seemed impatient or grumpy when I’m hungover?

Have you ever lied about my drinking?

Are you afraid to have friends or company over because I might embarrass you?

Have you ever not wanted to come home because of my drinking?

Have you ever wanted to leave because of my drinking?

Have you ever made excuses for me because of my drinking?

Have you ever heard me lie because of my drinking?

Have you ever not got to do something you wanted to do because of my drinking?

Have I ever not done something I said I would do for you because of my drinking?

Have you ever seen me passed out?

Have I ever not remembered something you told me when I was drinking?

Have I ever done something or said something that hurt you when I was drinking?

Would you like me to stop drinking?

Do you still think you're drinking is not affecting your child? Even if a physical tragedy never befalls them, what kind of emotional tragedies have they been subjected to?

I see the results of my drinking in my now adult children and it hurts, it is a hurt I will live with the rest of my life.

I don't want that for you.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Alternative Roads To Recovery Tele-Summit



To all: Starting on August 15th-19th, the “Alternative Roads To Recovery Tele-Summit” event in which I did an interview promoting Finding Help For Your Drinking via Online Communities will be available online.
The registration link is: www.alternativeroadstorecovery.com
The following people are included as speakers: 
• Beverly Sartain, Spiritual Psychology in Recovery
• Mike Massey, SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training)
Kary May Hickey aka me, Online Recovery Communities
• Kenneth Anderson, HAMS (Harm-reduction, Abstinence and Moderation Support)
• Fred Haas, Intuition in Recovery
• Dr. Rigo Brueck, Intensive Outpatient Programs
• Byron Kerr, LifeRing
• Dr. Raymond Pomm, Medication-assisted Treatment
• Durga Lee, Yoga of Recovery
• Alida Schuyler, Recovery Life Coaching
• Patrik Schmidle, Mentorship in Recovery
• John Haspel, Mindfulness Based Recovery
There will be 3 speakers each day Monday - Thursday and Friday will be an encore day where the listeners will be able to listen to all the recordings again
I hope you find this event educational and inspirational. Please forward this to others involved in helping people help themselves.
Thanks and best!
****When you go to register, you'll put in your email and name and then be directed toward a chance to pay for a recovery plan. You do not need to do this to register for the program. You will receive and email. Make sure and check your Spam folder.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Abs Chat Tonight!



"Hey, who cut this cheese?"

I'll be hosting Abs Chat tonight in the MM chatroom. If you're looking for a little company and encouragement, stop in. It's very informal, no need to study up, we won't be holding a pop quiz. We just like to talk about not drinking. 

9 PM Eastern, 8 Central, 7 Mountain, 6 Pacific

Abs Chat Tonight


Abs Chat is focused on abstaining from alcohol—on a permanent basis,
long-term, or even for a shorter period of time (like a 30!).
Everyone is welcome to attend, and to participate, but we won't be
discussing moderation techniques or plans. For discussions of
moderate drinking, we invite you to participate in the Monday Night
Book Chat or the Tuesday Night Online Meeting.
So if you're abstaining, planning to, curious about it, wondering
whether it would be a good idea, or just want to hang out for sober
fun, stop by!
See you there! http://www.moderation. org/chat/

** PLEASE NOTE: Abs Chat will be held in the Abs Chatroom. When
logging in, use the drop-down box to select MM_Abs_Chat. If you wind
up in the wrong room, you can move between rooms by clicking on the
room list to the right of the chatroom screen. **