Monday, August 24, 2015

Workin' It!

I started my second week of couch potato to 5K and I still hate it.  In fact, I was in a bad mood all night last night just knowing that I was going to get to get up this morning and do it. (Note that I said "get to get up and do it" instead of "have to." I"m working hard at changing my mindset.  It ain't working.)  I was even grumpier this morning.  And I thought more than once about just saying screw it.

But I didn't.

I got out there and I panted and cussed through my one minute intervals and all the while I kept thinking, if I quit, I'm a fraud.  Every day I get up and I get on the computer and tell people that all their hard work and suffering is going to be so worth it.  That they have to look at the big picture and remember why they're doing this.

Then I thought and asked myself, "Why are you doing this?"

Because I hope to be around twenty years from now.  Because I hope to be healthier this time next year.  Because I hope to be stronger tomorrow than I am today.  Because I hope to reach that point  when I reap the rewards and the biggest reward will be the pride I have in myself.  Because I hope if I can do this one more thing for myself, I will be able to do other harder and more rewarding things.

Hope is important.  But Hope is not enough.

It reminds me of when I was quitting drinking,

To all of my amigas and amigos out there that are just starting out, remember that you are getting stronger with every day and every minute.  It will get easier.  It will be worth it.  Don't quit dreaming of the rewards, it is a gift that keeps on giving.  You will carry the knowledge of your accomplishment forever.  And you will be proud.  Forever.

If you can do this, you can do anything.

And you can do this.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Good, Just Pretty Damn Good!

"Good! Just pretty damn good!" was an expression of my dad's.  If you asked him how his steak tasted, if you asked him how the fishing was , if you asked him how he felt, as he lay in bed with tubes coming out of every orifice after bypass surgery, you knew that was going to be his response.

He was not a complainer, my dad.

I'm not complaining today either.  I'm on my second day of the couch potato to 5K program (I should have checked to see if they had a Couch Potato Plus program) and I went out and ran my prescribed 1 minute increments-Did I hear you say, "Oooooh! Ahhhhhh! Woooow!"-except for the last one, I only made it 30 seconds.  I hated every lung ripping moment of it, thank you.

But I came home and tore off my sweatshirt and stood there in the kitchen in my sports bra and sweats and grabbed the jug of milk out of the fridge, just like you see in the commercials, except in the commercials the actress doesn't have a doughy white midriff lapping over the waistband of her sweats.  I fixed myself a bowl of cereal and went outside and sat on the step and ate it.  Out in the morning sun.  In all my glory.

I felt Good! Pretty damn good!

Abs chat was great last night.  Several chatty chatters showed up which always makes it fun.  One of our guys is contemplating giving up 500+ days of abs to have some wine for his 25th anniversary in Hawaii.  I don't know if we talked him out of it or not, but at least he's got some other voices in his head other than his own.  How brave was that for him to even admit he was thinking about it, huh?

We had a couple of confessions, including one of my own.  It made me feel so good, I am driven to confess on here, too. I may have even already confessed on here, I don't really remember, because I wasn't really giving much weight to my transgressions.  So here goes.

I have taken sips of alcohol every now and then throughout my sobriety.  I'm a big girl, I know the difference between a drink and a sip.  I think the last ones were in January in San Miguel de Allende when the cap'n and I were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.  I took three sips of wine. I didn't feel the urge to drink more.  The ghosts of drinking past did not chase me through my days after that.  It was the same with the other sips I have taken in the last four years-not weekly, not even monthly.  Those sips did not talk me into jumping on the sled and riding it to the bottom of the slippery slope.

Those sips are not important to me.  The thing that is important to me, is that I have been sober for almost four years, those sips did not sacrifice my concept of sobriety.

But I know those sips are important to others.  I know they believe that I have indeed compromised my sobriety.

And that's okay.  They can believe what they believe.

I believe what I believe.

Those sips were not totally benign though, because once more I was carrying a secret because of alcohol.  I made a pledge in my very first post on here that I would be honest and by withholding this truth, I was being dishonest.  That is like rubbing a diamond in mud, or worse, shit.

So today, I'm cleaning that diamond back up.  I don't know if I will refrain from sipping in the future, but I will refrain from hiding it.

How do I feel after my confession?

Good! Pretty Damn Good!

P.S.  I took this post down last night because I really had to think about how I was going to respond to any negative comments about it, if I got any.  I worried that my other blogger friends would think I was a hypocrite, and I worried about the same thing myself. But I'm not a hypocrite, I post about being sober and I am sober.   I am okay, more than okay, with how I have treated my sobriety. The reason I posted this to begin with was so that anyone else that might be hiding something that they are afraid that everyone else will see as a reason for shame, a reason to start all over-we never start back at Day 1 on this journey, that doesn't even make sense-would know it is okay.  If you are happy with your sobriety, if you are at peace, that is what is important.

Thank you to the dear friend that gave me the sign I was looking for to put this back up.

All my best, Kary

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Abs Chat Tonight: Who's Bringing The Guacamole

If any of my blogger friends are craving some real time sober interaction, stop by. I'll mix up a pitcher of no-jitos! See ya there! Kary

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

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! /
** 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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Recollection, A Rant and an Apology

My mind is spinning in all directions today and I just can't quite decide whether I want this to be a blog about a fond recollection, a rant or an apology.  So I'm going to go off on all three tangents and try to tie them all together with one string.  Just pretend that you're the cap'n and you're trying to piece together the fragments of my random conversations and not say the wrong thing.

Recollection:  One Friday night when I was about 11 or 12, my godmother, Lucy, whose house was four doors down from ours (Poor Lucy didn't know when she agreed to stand up at my baptism that I was going to move in the next day, eat up all her ice cream and Hershey's syrup for eighteen years  and never go home until my wedding night.) came home from work with a bottle of wine and a new Roger Whittaker album.  Her daughter, Lisa, and I rolled our eyes and snorted.  Who did she think she was?  Some sophisticated jetsetter? (Yes, Whistling Roger Whittaker was considered high-brow for my neighborhood.  If you haven't heard of him, you'll have to youtube him.  I have few enough readers, I don't want to drive the rest of you off by posting a link.)  Lucy, recently divorced, when the word divorce was still whispered or spelled out, had always been our neighborhood's reluctant representative to the now archaic women's lib movement.  The first mother on our block to get a job.  The first divorcee.

And now she was drinking wine and listening to Roger Whittaker!

Little did we know, as Lisa and I snickered behind our cupped hands, that she was lifting a torch that we would so eagerly snatch up and run with into our womanhood.

(That's Lisa on the left and me on the right. I have no idea who the not-so-perky gal in the middle is, just some drunk that wandered by that we talked into becoming part of a threesome.  JUST KIDDING! I don't know any of these women.)

Rant:  I'm sure some of you have noticed the brilliant quotation at the top of this page  and sighed or exclaimed, "Really? I don't get enough of this shit on my facebook page?  Now, I'm being reminded of what an outcast I am on the sober blogs."  I hear ya!  I'm sick of the virtues of wine being forced down my throat.  I'm sick of seeing 50+ year old woman acting like twenty somethings, and calling themselves and their drinking biddies, uh, I mean buddies, by stupid little names like the "Sotted Sluts" or the "Bombed Out Barflies" (okay, I'm being mean, but you get my drift).  News alert ladies, you are not in high school anymore, this is not Grease, you are not a Pink Lady, and John Travolta isn't going to jump out of a car, swivel his hips and break into "Sandy."  Grow up.  Have a little more respect for yourself. (God, I hate how old that makes me sound.)  And quit trying to prove to me that your life is so much more exciting and colorful than mine.  I remember very well what good wine tastes like when it's hurling itself up from my bowels in techicolor pink and burgundy, thank you very much.

But what pisses me off more than anything else, is that I let these posts make me feel left out and sad.

Apology:  To my younger sisters-in-arms in this battle against booze, those in their thirties. I'm sorry, it was the women of my generation who made this mess you find yourself in.  See, we didn't grow up in a time when women took bottles of wine to baby showers, an iceberg of lime sherbet floating in a crystal punch bowl full of Hawaiian Punch was about as adventurous as our mothers got.  They didn't meet with the gals after work for a couple of shots or have Ladies' Nights Out.  They didn't even have bachelorette parties-they believed that at least one party of the wedding celebration should be dignified and sober.  That was the womans' role.

It was us, the women that came of drinking age in the late seventies and eighties, that thought we needed to breach one more male stronghold.  While our mothers made the first forays into the working world, we made the first forays into the drinking world.  Unlike our mothers, we didn't rush home from work to vacuum, put a load  of wash in and get supper started.  We headed for the bars. Then we came home, vacuumed, put a load of wash in and got supper started.  All this before we sat down, blurry-eyed and spent, to go through backpacks and help with homework.

Now we find ourselves, in the midst of our fifties and sixties, looking back and wondering where we lost ourselves.  Where the heck did  we put our dignity?

My younger sisters, you are so brave for tackling this in this day and age, but you can do it.  You've got to do it, for those that are following after you, your daughters.

Just like this blog, we've left a snarled mess behind us, and it's up to you to untangle it.

Stop the madness. Give us back our dignity.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Abs Chat Tonight

If any of you are interested in stepping away from the blogging desk tonight and would like a chance to chat with others going through the same struggles and TRIUMPHS you are, stop in.  I'll be there.  This is a chat sponsored by Moderation Management so some of the chatters will be people who have not chosen to abstain permanently but are absing for a period of time or are curious about permanent absing.  We do not talk about moderation at this chat.

Here's how to get there.

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

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! /
** 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. **

****Also, as you are signing in, under the sign in box you will see to little circles with the words Flash or Mobile.  I chat from my computer, so I always select "Flash".  Some of the people that have been using their mobiles have been having a problem with getting kicked out of the chatroom now and then.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Too Brief A Moment In The Sun: A Tribute To Kaiser Carlile

I grew up in a small town where summer days were spent tearing through the streets on stingray bicycles, baseball cards flapping in the spokes until they were tatters. Coke bottles were hauled in rusty red wagons to the corner store to trade for  small coins which were then traded for penny candies, kept safe from sticky fingers behind the checkout counter that was tended by a bee-hived, soft-hearted, impossibly patient woman named Flo.

Evenings were spent under the bright lights of the Bee Jay field, where we cheered on our favorite players-we knew every one of their names-ran back and forth to the concession stand too many times too count, and cultivated school girl crushes on those golden boys of summer.

To us small town kids, those boys were larger than life.  To the young boys of our town, they were heroes to be emulated.  In the way they slung their curve balls, spat their chew, and winked at the girls. I realize, now, they were just boys themselves, but back then, they were the closest thing to gods as kids in Liberal, Kansas were ever likely to encounter.

Every local boy, including my brother, Mike, waited anxiously for their turn as batboy, their chance to rub shoulders with the big boys, to shine.  Their moment in the sun.

On Saturday, in Wichita, Kansas at the National Baseball Congress World Series-the "Big Show" for collegiate minor league teams- Kaiser Carlile's moments in the sun were tragically cut short.  The nine year old batboy was struck in the head-he was wearing a helmet-as he ran to retrieve a bat from the field.  He  later died.

I am heartbroken.  Heartbroken for two boys, both so excited to be where they were on that day, one  a young man thinking ahead to his moment at bat and the glories it could bring-the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the open mouthed awe of his teammates-the other, a bespectacled little boy, watching anxiously for his cue to run out on the field, in front of all those people-his mom and dad, grandparents, jealous pals, big brother teammates-oblivious to everything  but the quick beat of his bursting heart.

I am heartbroken for a crowd that watched as an angel crumpled to the ground.  I am heartbroken for the Bee Jays organization-the Carlile family has been the mainstay of support behind the scenes for generations.

I am heartbroken for my hometown who lost one of its golden boys.

I am, of course, most of all, heartbroken for his parents and siblings and grandparents and aunts and uncles, cousins, whose moments in the sun will from here on out be shaded with unimaginable loss. They will forever bear a wariness of bright days, a jaundiced view of perfect moments.

Finally I am heartbroken because of all of those bright sunny days, the crisp autumn afternoons, the frosty winter evenings, and the hope-filled spring mornings of my own golden boys, my sons' childhood I chose to cloud with alcohol.

In honor of Kaiser, don't drink today. Grab your kids and hug them hard.  Today. Tomorrow. Every Day.

They are our moments in the sun.

Liberal Loses Beloved Batboy

Thursday, July 30, 2015

MIssed This More: Life After Recovery

I spend most of my Wednesday nights in the Moderation Management (MM) Chatroom, Wednesday night is Abs Chat night.  Many of the people that visit on Wednesday night are not people who have chosen permanent abstinence from alcohol, they are people who are going through a temporary period of abs, as prescribed by MM, or people who are curious or considering permanent abs for themselves.  (In MM we used the term "sobriety" to describe both successful moderation and permanent abstinence.)

One of the most common questions is, "Do you miss it?"

And my answer is always, "Yes."

Now most of the time one or more of my fellow absers will vehemently reply with something to the tune of, "No, I don't miss it one bit.  Does someone miss cancer after they survive it?"

And I kind of shrink back in my virtual folding chair and think, "Is there something wrong with me?  Am I doing something wrong?  Am I not doing enough?"  Because I do miss it.  Sometimes every day.  Sometimes all day long.  Sometimes not very often.  Sometimes not very much.  

But I do miss it.

Last night, same conversation, same questions.  "Why do you miss it?"  "Do you think you miss the fantasy of it, rather than the reality?"  "What do you miss about it?"

My answer, "I don't know."  "It's hard to explain."

If some magical genie popped out of the lamp right now and said to me, "Abracadabra! You will now be able to drink moderately for the rest of your life."

I just might.  Drink.

But there ain't no friggin' lamp.  Ain't there sure ain't no friggin' Genie.

So last night after chat, I took my bath, ate my ice cream and crawled into bed to finish reading "Beautiful Ruins."  It's a good read, light and easy.  A fiction story about an actress who had an affair with Richard Burton in the 60's and ended up pregnant.  Suffice it to say, I didn't really relate to the characters in the story.

Except one.

The child that resulted from the union of this actress and Dickie-poo ends up as a drug addict.  At the end of the story he is recovered.  This is a quote from the book that describes his life post-recovery.

"In Sandpoint, Idaho, Pat Bender wakes at four, makes the first of three pots of coffee, and fills the predawn hours with chores around the cabin.  He likes starting work before he's had a chance to really wake up; it gives the day some momentum, keeps him moving forward.  As long as he has something to do, he feels good, so he clears brush or splits wood or he strips, sands, and stains the front deck, or the back deck, or the outbuildings, or he starts the whole process again on the front deck: strip, sand, stain.  Ten years ago, he would've thought this some kind of Sisyphean torture, but now he can't wait to  slide into his work boots, make coffee, and step into the dark morning; he likes the world best when he is alone in it, that dark, predawn quiet.

Further down the page...

"And on those days when Lydia, the lake, his coffee, his woodworking, and the Richard Burton film library aren't nearly enough, on those evenings when he craves-fucking craves-the old noise and a girl on his lap and a line on the table...-on those days when he imagines getting just a wee bit higher (See: every day), Pat Bender concentrates on the steps.  He recalls his mother's faith in him, and what she told him that night he found out about his father (Don't let this change anything), the night he forgave her and thanked her-and Pat works: he strips, he sands, he stains-strips, sands, and stains, as if his life depended on it, which, of course, it does.  And in the dark morning, he always rises clear again, resolute; ...

No matter my urges, no matter my 'missing", I don't drink.  And every morning I get up, I feed my birds, I pull my chair up on the deck and say my rosary.  Watch the birds.  Say, "Thank You."
This morning, I mixed a bowl of dough, I kneaded it, I watched it rise.  Twice.  Then I formed cinnamon rolls and watched them rise too before I baked them.  My oldest is coming home tonight. There's a pan of lasagna baking in the oven.  Fresh cinnamon rolls on the counter.

As much as I miss drinking some days, when I was drinking, I missed this life more.