Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Much Needed Swift Kick In The Ass

After a week or five of feeling sorry for myself, I reacquainted myself with a blog written by a guy I went to high school with.  Rocky is no longer really battling cancer, he is surrendering to it with more valor and wit than I could ever hope to master.  Please don't skip over this.  We all need this wake-up call to go out and have the best damn day we can manage.  Today.

Terminal Velocity

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Real Life Is Just Real Life

Thank you guys for your kind words, it was so good to hear your sweet voices again.

I don't know what is up with me lately, I'm feeling so apathetic about the whole "support thing." I'm not drinking, not thinking about drinking, not wanting to drink.  It's just that when I think about blogging or posting on my message boards I just feel "Ugh".

Did this happen to any of you?  I know if I were in AA they would probably say this is a harbinger of a relapse.  But I don't think so.  I think it is a step in recovery.  I watched my brother move away from AA after a few years and he's never drank again.  He just lives a normal life without meetings and without drinking.

So do any of the rest of you ever say to yourself, "I am just so done with all of this recovery crap?"

Here's what I think is happening.  When I quit drinking, I filled up my days to the brim.  You know how that is, you're so afraid if you have a second to spare, you'll pick up a bottle.  But now I want some of those moments to spare.  I want to do some other things.  Or I want to do absolutely nothing.

I'm to the point I've got to give up something, but everything seems too important to give up.

But here's what I need to remind myself, even if I give up this blog, or posting every day on the message boards, it doesn't mean I have to give up the friends I made here or there.  Some of you have become a part of my life as a whole, not just the fraction that is my recovery.

On the up point, I have created another blog, it's not about recovery but it's about living a sober life down here south of the border.  I haven't published it yet, I'm still working on the first posts.  I'll post a link here when it's ready if any of you want to become a part of that part of my life.

And I'm still working on my book, or trying to work on it, except I keep letting all of these other things I've gotten myself involved in conveniently interrupt my work on it.

Or maybe that's just another excuse for not getting done what I need to get done. 

Ugh!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Good-bye Sweet William

My best friend from high school died a week ago, I hadn't talked to him since our tenth high school reunion, and I hadn't talked to him for the ten years before that.  So all in all, I went 26 years without talking to my best friend.  I tried to remember why.  I couldn't remember any big fights or falling out, try as hard as I could.

Then I remembered.  He called one day and I didn't return his call.  A week later, he called again and I didn't return his call.  No big reason, I was eighteen, suddenly pregnant, suddenly married, trying my damnedest to stick in my first year of nursing school.

Then a month went by and I thought, I should call William, but he's going to be so pissed off at me.

Then a year went by and I thought, I should call him, but what can I say?

Then ten years went by and he walked into our tenth year reunion and it was as if no time at all had passed, as if I'd returned all of those phone calls.  And we made the usual promises to stay in touch, and we did.  For that whole weekend.

In recent years I had this fantasy of walking into his liquor store in Wichita, Kansas, yes he owned a liquor store, ironic, huh?  Anyway, I had this thought that some day I would walk into his liquor store and it would take a minute but then he'd look up from the register and that look of recognition would flash in his eyes and he'd jump over the counter and he'd hug me and we'd hop in his old '58 Chevy that we used to drag main in and we'd head to the Taco Tico for his nightly bean burrito that he ate every night of our junior high and high school lives.

I'll never get to do that now, I should have done it when I dreamed it up.  I tried.  I was actually in Wichita a couple of years ago and I actually drove around looking for his liquor store (this was after I quit drinking so I wasn't looking for a bottle) but I didn't even know the name of his store or where it was located.  I guess I thought fate would somehow steer my car toward a storefront that had "William's Liquor Store" etched in the front window.  Of course, I never found it.

Yes, I could have called him, but what would I say?

I have a terrible history of walking away from or letting go of people when my focus changes.  I hate that about me, I view it as one of my biggest flaws.  One that I need to make more strides in overcoming, as my recent two month disappearance from this blog demonstrates.

I know now what I would say to William.  I would say,

"I'm sorry I haven't been there for you all of these years, I'm sorry I never got to know the man you became.  The fact that life keeps trying to convince me that I have more urgent, more pressing issues to take care of is no excuse.  There is no more pressing issue, no more urgent "thing" in need of my attentions more important than a friend who supported and loved me through the most trying of times. I will do better."

"I promise."

P.S.  I'm sorry for the "Sweet William" title, I know you hate that.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Misery Loves Company



Slap. Slap. Squish.  Slap. Slap. Squish.  It's 4:00 am and the Gulf is blowing in through my upstairs bedroom window.  There's at least an inch of water covering the whole damn floor.  And in the other bedroom too.

And I am so damn grateful.

Slap. Slap. Squish.  Slap. Slap. Squish.

It's 8:00 am and I'm scrubbing the stubborn cooked on scrambled eggs from the bottom of the skillet.  My eyes are bleary and I can feel myself getting bitchy from a lack of sleep.

And it's still raining.

And I'm still so damn grateful.

Because I used to look at days like this and think how beautiful they must be, untainted by booze.
How wondrous it must be to move through the small hardships without the added weight of misery.

I never thought they'd be mine.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Word!

Resolve: firmness of purpose or intent; determination.
 to convert or transform by any process

Music. to progress from a dissonance to a consonance.
 I've had my word for 2014, resolve, picked out since way before New Year's.  I guess you can see how much resolve I've had for writing about it, I still struggle with whether I have enough left to say on this blog.  But then today I was visiting the mmabsers message board and a friend of mine there had copied and pasted an old post of mine from early 2011, All Out War when I was still struggling and I didn't think I was strong enough, or smart enough or anything enough to win the war.  She said, and other members chimed in, that it was an inspiration to them to see where I'd been and where I am now.  
Well, golly, I guess I better keep writing.
  
I've had this post planned out for weeks, I was going to explain how having resolve or employing resolve was different than just making a  resolution, how I wasn't going to get bogged down in goals and accomplishments.  I just wanted to have more resolve, dammnit!
Then I went to look up the definition of  resolve, yep, those first two are exactly what I wanted, then I got hung up on the third one, the one that defines  resolve as a musical term that means the transition of dissonance to consonance.  Wouldn't it be great if I could find a song that sounded exactly like what I wanted my whole year to look like?  Something with just a little dissonance and long periods of consonance, or something that started out with a short prelude of dissonance and then segued into a long ballad of consonance.
I have spent, I'm not kidding you, six freaking hours looking for that song.  I started out with the Stones and the Beatles and ended up with Sebelius Symphony #7.  I don't know why I didn't think of it right off the bat. 
Not!
I'll admit it, I googled the "best example of resolution of dissonance."
  
Is it what I was looking for? No.
It's perfect.
It is a symphony of life.  It has dissonance through out the whole freakin' twenty-five minutes.  But with the flick of a wrist, a single breath,  a slide of bow across string, the harshness transforms to deep beauty,  strife builds to glorious triumph, and the deepest sorrows give way to frivolity and carefree joy.
I'm still listening and I don't know how it will end, but it doesn't matter.  A baby will cry, a leaf will turn,  a star will fall and it will all start over again.
Such is life.
Such is life.
Happy Belated New Year, Amigos! 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sober Life: The Christmas Special




"Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?" - Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase)

"Naw, I'm doing just fine, Clark" - Eddie (Randy Quaid)

I was very blessed to be able to spend Christmas with two of my sons this year.  It took some finagling to get my butt from the beaches of sunny Mexico to the winter ravaged wheat fields of Kansas, but I managed.  I started formulating my plan way back at the end of October when the cap'n got a call about working in a small town in western Kansas over Thanksgiving, only an hour and a half from my hometown where my oldest son lives and a mere twenty minutes from where my second son lives.  I might have encouraged the cap'n just a little bit, my sights were already set on Christmas and the hope that, if everything worked out well over Thanksgiving, they would ask him to come back and work at Christmas and I would be able to hitch a ride to see my kids.  It did, they did, I did and they even payed for my ticket!  They don't call me a scheming beeyatch for nothing, years ago I bought our cabin in Colorado while we were living on our sailboat in the Bahamas and arranged that the closing would neatly coincide with my oldest son's K-state graduation.  After all, I'd promised him months before that I'd make it back for his graduation.  I can already hear you, "Why don't you just by airplane tickets, wouldn't that be easier?"  You've obviously never been privy to the negotiations that have to take place between the cap'n and I before he relents to buying a ticket to see family. He always relents, but buying a house as an excuse to make the trip is less complicated.

The plan was to have Christmas Day dinner at my oldest son's new house in our home town and my second son and grandson would drive down to join us.  Now to say that my two boys are a little different, would be an understatement of significant proportions.  They are only nine months apart, but since birth they have occupied two different worlds.  In the same solar system, and, for most of their lives, in the same family, but worlds apart.

A brief, non-biased, motherly comparison.  Just the facts.  My oldest son is a self-proclaimed socially awkward introvert (like his mother), take him out in public and he won't be able to come up with two sentences to string together to throw at a stranger, after a couple of drinks he becomes pretty affable, after four or five he becomes an asshole (these are his words, not mine).  He's thirty-two and way ahead of his mother in his capacity for self-awareness since he already recognizes this about himself and drinks rarely.  My second son is everyone's friend, sometimes that's a good thing, other times, it's not.  He has a heart bigger than Seward's Folly, unfortunately he's let too many people stake claims and mine for gold on it.  He's also thirty-two and doesn't drink much, he's put himself through rehab twice for cocaine addiction.  He, too, is way ahead of his mom in having the bravery to confront his demons.

My oldest son has no tattoos, no piercings, no facial hair, no wives, no children....you get the picture.  He just got a great new job, just bought his first home in a nice part of town and has a nice new pickup sitting in the driveway.

My second son has numerous tattoos, some that I hope he didn't take too much food out of my grandbabies' mouths to pay for because he didn't get his money's worth, he likes his bling, he has one of those hair patches under his lip, he's a former gang wannabe (maybe he wasn't just a wannabe, but I don't want to think about that), he has one wife but they haven't lived together in years and they both have other significant others, he has two children, one here and one in California.  He lost his license several years ago, but he still drives.  He and his girlfriend and her two boys, eighteen and sixteen, and one of the kids' friend just moved to a trailer in the country.  Second son also has a new job with insurance and everything and he wears it as proudly as he would a new pair of two carat diamond studs.

Christmas Morning:

Me: "Oh by the way, I invited your brother's girlfriend and her boys for dinner."

Oldest son: "What??? You didn't ask me?  Who are these people?  I don't want a bunch of strangers in my house.  Jeezus, Mom! You should have asked me!"

Me:  "Come on, it's Christmas.  You can't ask her to leave them at home, besides they're teenagers and they probably won't even come.  Why would two teenagers want to come hang out with us?"

Oldest son:  "fuggerscmooozingdamryanfuggingbetternotfugging...grumble,grumble,grumble,"as he continues to annhilate foes on his video game.

Christmas noon:

Setting:  Me on one couch with phone in hand, oldest son on other couch still annhilating and blowing up his foes, body parts flying through the air, blood splatter on the tv screen.

Me into the phone:  "Hey, what time are you guys going to get here?  Uh-huh...uh, three would be better. How many did you say were coming?"

Oldest son:  Eyebrows shooting to the ceiling, mouth rounding in horror.  "What?"

Me into the phone: "Uh, okay, well, we should have enough food.  We'll see you at 3 o'clock.  Be careful.  Yes, I have the gift card so you can buy some gas to get back."

Oldest son:  "Don't tell me.  He better not be bringing anyone else."

Me:  "Just his girlfriend's son's girlfriend and another of their friends."

Oldest son, exploding off the couch:  "F'ing ________ (insert second son's name).  Who does he think he is?  This is so f'ing rude.  Don't you think he'd call and ask?  I don't want these f'ing strangers in my house."

Me:  "I'm sorry. This is my fault."  I get up and go into the kitchen so he can't see that I'm about to cry.  I check the turkey, it's done and they're not going to be here for three hours.  Fuck. Tears in check, I go back into the living room, oldest son has his phone up to his ear.

Me:  "Who are you calling?"

Oldest son: "  __________(insert second son's name)."

Tears start spurting again, so I go check the turkey again.  It's still done and they won't be here for two hours and forty-five minutes.  I go back into the living room, phone is still attached to oldest son's side of head.

Me:  "I'll call him and tell him not to come.  I'll make some excuse and tell him I'll go see him this weekend."

Oldest son takes phone from side of head and puts it on the coffee table.  "No, Mom.  It's okay.  It'll be okay.  I'll be good."

Later....

Oldest son:  "It's 3:15 pm."

Me:  "I know."

Oldest son:  "F'ing ________ (you know what to do), he does this every time.  This is so f"ing rude."

I try to call second son.

"The Verizon customer you are trying to reach is not available at this time. A voicemail box has not been set up."

4:00 pm:

The phone rings.

Second son:  "Mom, what street does _________ (insert oldest son's name) live on?"

A few minute later second son's girlfriend's car pulls into the drive.  Second Son is driving while four other persons, that probably have driver's licenses, are passengers. He jumps out of the car and slams the car door, it springs back open.  He slams it again, it springs back open.

Girlfriend:  "You have to kind of lift it up and shut it, Babe." (I like Girlfriend, I've only met her once before, but my son sounds happier than he has in a long time)

 Second son follows Girlfriend's directions and the door stays shut.  He shrugs and grins and turns to wrap me in a big hug.

Second son:  "Merry Christmas, Mom."

Girlfriend's kids and one kid's girlfriend pile out of the car and we are introduced. We stand around outside making conversation while they all finish their cigarettes.  They throw their butts on the ground and I wince, I hope Oldest Son isn't watching out the window.  I'll come out and pick them up later.

We file into the house.

Second Son:  "Hey guys, take your shoes off."

They do it without grumbling at all before they march into the living room to meet Oldest Son who is still killing people left and right in living color.

Girlfriends Sixteen Year Old Son, the one with the big spikes in his ears:  "You have Playstation 4? Cool!"

Oldest Son:  "You want to play?"  (That's my boy, sharing his toys just like his momma taught him.)

Girlfriend's Eighteen Year Old Son, the one with the girlfriend attached to his underarm, "Hey, watch out for the dude hiding behind the oil tanks."

Oldest Son: "Thanks, Man."

They all gather round to watch in rapture as more body parts go flying.

My Nine Year Old Grandson:  "Grandma, you wanna play a game of Sorry?"

Me: "Sure, dude."

Conclusion:

We ate, we played, we laughed. A lot.  As usual, I am blown away by how good  a dad Second Son is to my grandson, but I am even more blown away by the warmth displayed between him and Girlfriend's kids.  Girlfriend's kids love my green bean casserole and secret recipe whipped cream.  Oldest son is happy, he has someone to play with. 

They have to leave too soon.  Hugs are passed around, Girlfriend's Oldest Son detaches his arm from around his girlfriend and pulls me in.

Second Son:  "Thanks, Mom.  Uh...do you have that gift card?"

Oldest Son and I watch as they chug out of sight.

Me:  "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

Oldest Son:  "No, Mom, it was good.  It was real good."

Merry Sober Christmas from My Family To Yours!

(Thank God for Playstation.)






Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 Tribute to You

 

My fellow MM member, Heidi, shared this beautiful blog written by Jen Louden on the Moderation Management message board today and it reminded me so much of all of you in this wonderful, giving, tenacious, sober blogger, message board, chatroom, AA meeting, rehab... world of ours.

Thank you for holding my hand and not letting go.

A 2013 Tribute to You
I see all the times you followed your desires, without guilt or second-guessing or demanding a particular outcome. Even if only for a few breaths.
I see all the times you stopped hurrying, played in the field of creative joy, took a nap, flowered with self-kindness.
I see the kisses you savored, the connections you took in, the evanescent beauty of life you let break you open.
I see the days you started with reverence and ended with gratitude.
I see the times you nodded briskly at your fears, said “I hear you; we’ll talk later” and turned away to pick up the pen, the paintbrush, the business plan.
I see all the times you bit your tongue when you wanted to say something cruel, all the times you took a deep, slow breath and found your heart instead of your anger.
I see all the times you softened your heart, forgave yourself, forgave someone else, dropped the grudge, the blame, your defenses.
I see all the times you turned away from comparison and envy at the curated lives parading on the screens that surround you, turned off the din and settled back into your sovereignty.
And all the ways you have allowed life to temper you, faced your shadow with tenderness, dared vulnerability, loved greatly.
The times you dug deep to serve – from the money given when the month was tight to the petition signed to the soup made. Yes, I see that. And yes, it was enough.
Please imagine us in a circle that stretches – literally – around the globe. We join hands. We do not sing “Kumbaya.” We do, however, look to the right and then to the left. We nod at each other. Maybe we tear up a little. We are, after all, fiercely awesome.
We bow to each person’s fierce desire to be whole and to heal the whole.
We are ennobled by each other.
Thank you, we whisper, thank you.