Saturday, October 29, 2011

Neighbor Kary May's Radio Show: The "Boo"-Hoo Halloween Party

In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing. ~Robert Ingersoll


Day 45

It’s another “Act Like I’m Not A Drunk” Saturday. I hope everyone is hangover free and ready for wonderful fall Saturday. I’ve been reading the message boards “listening” to all the newbies lamenting about not getting to get dressed up and go to assorted Halloween parties this weekend. It’s not really bothering me that much, partly because I live like a hermit up here in CO and if I did wander down the mountain to one of our two bars in town for a Halloween party nobody would recognize me whether I was wearing a costume or not. But also because I’m kind of used to missing Halloween Parties anyway. I remember years ago when I was married to DH numero uno we were invited to a Halloween Party that one of his trucker buddies at work was throwing. I was all excited, it wasn’t often that a young wife with two squalling babies got to dress up and go out and spend time with a bunch of truckers, not unless she was trying to earn a little extra money.

A friend and I had worked out a kid exchange, she was watching my kids on Friday night while DH 1 and I went to our party and I was watching hers on Saturday so she and her DH could go to their party. After I got off work that Friday I hurried home to put my costume on. Being an OR nurse and being poor (the two go hand in hand) I went with the easy cheap costumes, I was the patient and DH1 was a doctor, roles we had played many times before in the privacy of our own home. I wrapped my head all up in gauze and donned a patient gown (I was wearing leggings and a t-shirt underneath for a change that night), I drew some bloody gashes on my face with my lipstick, I even went as far as taping a catheter bag and tubing to my thigh. Inside the catheter bag I had placed a happy little gold fish who was swimming around swimmingly. The party was supposed to start at 7:00 pm and at 5:30 I was already ready and eager to go and get some grog. Friday was DH1’s day off and as usual he was out hunting. 6:00 pm rolled around and still no DH but that was not unusual, I never did figure out how he was able to hunt pheasant after dark. 7:00 pm came and went and by now my foot’s about to fall off from me bouncing it up and down, the poor little gold fish is looking a little green around the gills from all the turbulence and he keeps trying to do the back float. At 8:00 DH comes through the door and I am so pissed off I can’t even talk. The DH looks at me quizzically and calmly says, “Kary, the party is tomorrow night.”

My mother was right, we should have spent more time talking and less time playing doctor.

Well, Chaz finally got kicked off of DWTS, I wonder what he’s going to dress up as for Halloween, wouldn’t it be ironic if he dressed up as a woman? I actually took care of a couple once that were both going through sex change operations, the husband was turning into the wife and the wife was turning into the husband. How the hell do these people find each other? I don’t know who will be voted off next. Hope or David or Nancy. I hope it’s Nancy, my prim Polish sister-in-law says she is tired of looking at Nancy’s sausages every week. I thought she was talking about her boobs but she was talking about her legs. David Arquette has improved but he is one goofy son-of-a-gun. I watched him on Chelsea the other night, I love Chelsea, and he was giggling so much you couldn’t understand a word he said. It reminded me of me and my best friend when we used to sit down in my basement and get drunk and get the giggles. I do miss that sometimes. Hope is probably safe for a couple more weeks because people want to see Maks and Len fight some more.

I got my Halloween boxes to the grandkids in the mail before the snow hit this year. I sent popcorn balls for them and this adult spicy version of caramel corn for their parents. I don’t know if it is good or not since I’m still on the Atkins. I did chew up some of the spicy peanuts and spit them out just to get a taste and they tasted good. My oldest son said it was awesome but it wasn’t that spicy. I added 1 teaspoon of cayenne so if you like it hot, add more.

Spicy Peanut Caramel Popcorn



For the Spicy Peanuts:

2 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons sugar (white, light, or dark brown)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

¾ - 1 teaspoon cayenne

For the Caramel Corn:

10 cups freshly popped popcorn (popped without added salt or fat) I used about 3 bags of plain microwave popcorn.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Procedures1

To make the peanuts, preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, salt, chili powder, and cayenne in medium bowl. Toss until peanuts are well-coated. Transfer peanuts to baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until nuts around edges of pan are beginning to darken, 15 minutes.

Allow nuts to cool completely on baking sheet. They will stick together, almost like brittle. Break nuts into bite-sized pieces. Spicy peanuts can be made up to one week in advance.

To make the caramel corn, preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. .

In medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, clip candy thermometer to side of pan, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 238ºF. Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.

Pour hot caramel over popcorn. Toss until evenly coated. Transfer popcorn mixture to baking sheet and bake 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven and continually stir to keep popcorn separated. When popcorn loses most of its stickiness add peanuts and mix. Caramel corn will keep for 2 to 3 weeks, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.


I’m headed to Las Vegas today for some good Mexican food, wish me luck. That’s Las Vegas, NM enroute back to Carlsbad.

See you on Monday.

So today I’m just out there just doing my best to enjoy the ride and hoping I can talk the cap’n into stopping off at the Hobby Lobby in Pueblo. He just loves that place. He could spend the whole day browsing the aisles. NOT!!! It’s so much more painless to shop online.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Staying In Synch


Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events, that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.
Carl Jung

There is no such thing as chance; and what seem to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.

Friedrich Schiller (1759 - 1805)



Day 45

The other day I decided to write down a timeline of my drinking history. As I reviewed the timeline I noticed a definite pattern of feeling trapped in situations and using alcohol as a means of escape. Until alcohol itself trapped me. It worried my because I have been feeling somewhat trapped lately by my feeling of powerlessness over the decision to move to Mexico full time and I feel trapped by my financial dependence on the cap’n which I allowed to develop and grow while I was drinking. I’m worried but I’m happy to report that I’m using other means to, not escape, rather to overcome my feelings of powerlessness and entrapment.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts in the last year, while I’ve been trying to free myself from the bindings of alcohol, I’ve also been reading the book “The Artists Way” and following its directives for freeing my captive creativity. Many of the beliefs and strategies described in the book seem to correlate directly to my pursuit of sobriety. The book encourages us to open ourselves up and to be alert for synchronicity in our life. Those little chance happenings that just seem to happen at the right time for no reason. We get laid-off from a job and we think our life can’t get any worse and the next day you happen to “friend” an old high school classmate on fb that you haven’t talked to in years and while your catching up he mentions his company is hiring and it just happens to be your dream job. (It happened to a friend of mine this week). You get the picture. We tend to shrug these happenings off as luck or coincidence and ignore them. But what if they’re not freak happenings? What if they are keys that open the many doors to our destiny. Are we denying the very miracles we’re waiting for just because they didn’t slap us side our heads and say, “Here I am!” I think for a long time I was too busy looking for the next drink to be on the lookout for or even give a rat’s ass about the synchronicity in my life. Once again I’m left wondering what I missed.

Last night I was up laying in my bubble bath and honestly not missing my old glass of wine one bit and I was finishing up the latest chapter in “The Artists Way.” At the end of each chapter there is always a list of tasks that the reader is supposed to do. One of the tasks after this particular chapter was to review my week and note any instances of synchronicity that had happened. I couldn’t think of a damn one. So I got out of the tub, dried off, moisturized and dressed and came downstairs to check email. Bam! Right up side my head! There in my inbox was an email from a publishing company that had turned down a manuscript for a line of children’s stories that I had submitted a year ago asking me to resubmit the manuscript or submit any other work I had. Shazam!

Disclosure: I do not submit manuscripts on a regular basis, this submission is one of a whole two manuscripts I’ve submitted anything to be published other than sailing articles.

Are there any other little miracles of synchronicity out there that I haven’t noticed.

So today I’m just out there doing my best to stay in synch and thanking my Co-writer for letting things happen as they will.

P.S. I’m on the road again tomorrow but Neighbor Kary May’s Radio Show will be on the air.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What A Difference A Year Makes




And so we remained till the red of the dawn began to fall through the snow gloom. I was desolate and afraid, and full of woe and terror. But when that beautiful sun began to climb the horizon life was to me again.
Bram Stoker


Day 43
I was out shoveling snow at 6 am this morning so Stanley, the blind killer bichon, could do his business. And you know what I was smiling. I remember a year ago at about this same time (I know this because I had packed some Halloween boxes for my grandkids and I couldn't get them to the post office partly because of the snow and partly because I was so drunk/hungover) we had been snowed in for days and I had drunk up all the bourbon, rum, and wine in the house. I couldn't sleep and I sat up all night sipping sherry (which before this I only cooked with) and watching it snow. When I ran out of sherry, I went digging through the cabinets and found another bottle. I hid the empty one under the couch because DH didn't know about the second bottle and he would still think I was nursing the first one. I emptied the second one, too and started on the vodka, which I never drink. The withdrawal from this binge was unholy.

I know that a year ago I could have never looked into the future to this day when I'm healthy and happy and chasing my dream of writing a book. I couldn't even see myself through the next day back then. If you're sitting there hungover this morning or are fighting that urge just take a few minutes to envision yourself a year from now and where you want to be. It will be so much better than anything you could imagine today.

What a difference a year makes. It's a miracle I'm here today.

So today I out there just doing my best to keep my path cleared and thanking God for his wondrous imagination.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Magical Miracle Makers


George Foreman. A miracle. A mystery to myself. Who am I? The mirror says back. The George you was always meant to be. Wasn't always like that. Used to look in the mirror and cried a river.

George Foreman

Day 42

On September 27, 2006, a gunman walked into Platte Canyon High School and took seven girls hostage after several terror filled hours, the police finally stormed the room where the remaining two girls were still being held and Emily Keyes was shot and killed. Emily, who had relayed messages from the gunman to the police through the barricaded door. Emily, who as one of her last acts, texted her parents to say “I Love U Guys.” Her father didn’t even know how to open a text had to have someone among the crowd that had gathered along the streets of Bailey, CO do it for him. Emily’s death and heroism was overshadowed the next week when another gunman walked into a small Amish school and shot ten little girls, killing five. Emily was all but forgotten except in the small mountain villages that dwell in the Platte Canyon and all of us that were praying for a miracle that day. The miracle we were praying for didn’t happen and most of us questioned, “Why would God let this happen?” We didn’t know what to do with our anger and disillusionment, but Emily’s parents did. They took that last heroic message of love from Emily and started the I Love U Guys foundation and they have devoted their life (I think I read that they sold their house) to making schools safer for everybody’ else’s children. Their mission statement is simple, “ The "I Love U Guys" Foundation was created to restore and protect the joy of youth through educational programs and positive actions in collaboration with families, schools, communities, organizations and government entities.” The Standard Response Protocol that the foundation developed has been introduced in several schools in several states. All because one terrified young girl who didn’t know what her fate was going to be made the heroic effort to leave her parents with a message of love. Emily Keyes is a miracle worker. Her parents continued the magic by not letting their grief and anger destroy her miracle. And the miracle keeps growing and becoming more powerful with every child it touches.

AA has a saying, “Wait for the miracles.” I love that saying, it might be the one saying that really caught me, held me, and made me want sobriety more than anything. I don’t believe you have to believe in a Higher Power to believe in miracles, there are miracles of science, miracles of nature and there are miracles of people, miracles of us. As a matter of fact, I think to believe that God can cause a miracle only leads to disappointment and bitterness and loss of hope. Instead I believe it is in us, this power to create miracles. We are the magicians. With a smile, or a phone call, or a hug we send out the magic spell that ensnares and enchants others and that small miracle grows and transforms and it never dies. And somewhere down the chain that miracle circles back to us and we don’t even recognize it, we certainly have no idea that it originated with us.

Alcohol took my power away from me and I tried to pull loose from the chain of miracles. I was the weak link and because I was unable to “cast” many miracles, fewer came back to me. If they did work their way down the chain to me, I felt I was undeserving and I refused the miracles and kept them from growing and spreading. I not only deprived my loved ones of my miracles but I deprived the world of its full share of magic.

Now, with my power restored, I am sending out my miracles as fast as I can, a phone call here, an email there, an “I Love U Guys” everywhere and I’m joyfully reaping the dividends of my investment. My miracles come back to me in many forms, a fb message from one of my sons saying, I love you, Mom. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me,” a phone call from a friend saying she misses me, a warm smile from a stranger. They may be insignificant, common place miracles to others but they are momentous to me. I plan on reinvesting them and watching them grow and turn into something magical. I’ll never know who will experience the magic of my miracles or what many forms they will take but that’s okay, I’ll keep making them anyway.

We have no idea of the power we have, the magic we can make. What miracles have you “cast” lately, what miracles have come back to you? Get busy! The world needs all the magic we can cast upon it .

So today I’m just out there doing my best to conjure up some new miracles and enjoy the miracle of each snowflake that dances down upon my deck.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

So Very Glad I Wasn't Hungover This Morning

Day 40


The cap'n and I decided to drive only half way home yesterday and we stopped off for the night in Red River, NM a little ski village, not far from Taos. I've spent a lot of time in Red River while I was growing up and later when my kids were younger but it has probably been 15 years since I've been there. The last time we went the cap'n and I took my kids for a long weekend.. Yesterday we tried to remember where we stayed but we couldn't. It was a vacation, which meant a lot of drinking. I remember drinking beer and playing shuffleboard all afternoon one day and drinking and eating and throwing peanut shells on the floor at Texas Reds but the rest is just an alcoholic blur.

Last night we went out for a nice dinner at Timbers Restaurant/Bar. We sat in the dining area, the cap'n had one glass of wine and I had hot tea, we could hear the crowd in the bar watching the ballgame and drinking. A year ago, hell, a few months ago I would have been in there chugging down JD and hollerin' with the crowd. I probably would have made a few new best friends and I would have felt like crap this morning.

But I felt great this morning and we headed north towards home. We hadn't gone very far when we crested a hill and came upon a wreck. It must have just happened because there weren't any police or emergency vehicles there yet. There were two cars alongside the road and one of them looked pretty bashed in on one side, the other didn't seem to have any noticeable damage. There were people out of the cars on their cell phones so we went on by. We got a little ways and decided to turn back to see if they needed any help, we were out in the middle of nowhere and who knows? When we got back to the accident scene we were able to see another car, this one had ended up in the ravine on the side of the road, there were people walking around on the outside of it but we could still see people in the vehicle and a bundle lying on the ground beside it. My stomach flipped over, after 30 years as an OR nurse I still worry that they're going to bring something in that I can't handle. It hasn't happened yet but I still looked warily at that bundle.

As we got closer to the vehicle we informed the people that we were medical personnel. "Thank God," they cried. We bent down near the bundle, it was an elderly lady, she had blood coming out of her nose and she was waving around an arm that had an obvious broken wrist but she was alert. She said her chest hurt when she breathed but she was moving good air and she didn't have that elephant stepping on her chest feeling, she probably had broken ribs, we assured her she would be alright. I undid her pants and unhooked her bra so she could breathe easier One man was pinned in the front seat with a probably broken leg but otherwise okay. Thank God the car didn't catch on fire. The other passengers were bruised and bloodied and dazed, the walking wounded we call them, later they will feel that "load of bricks" that hit them but right now they were numb. Man, that adrenalin is a powerful drug.

The fire truck and emergency service truck soon showed up, I'm sure they were all volunteers as they usually are in those rural areas, we gave them the information we had and we said good-bye and got back on the road.


We didn't save any lives and they would have been okay until EMS showed up but I hope we gave them some comfort. I'm so glad I wasn't hungover. I probably would have urged the cap'n to keep driving.

Today I’m just out there doing my best to enjoy being home and keeping the fire stoked.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Neighbor Kary May’s Radio Show: The Road Trip Episode

Day ? Shit! I just counted them and I already forgot. It's 6:30 and I need more caffeine. Let's start over.

Day 39!

Happy "Act Like I'm Not A Drunk" Saturday everyone. I'm typing this out in a hurry because I'm hitting the road for a week at home. I'm going to be staying in Red River, NM overnight, we used to vacation there when I was a kid. As a child I never dreamed of vacations at Disneyland or the like, it just wasn't in the Hickey family vernacular or budget instead our vacations always consisted of borrowed campers, bug bites, fish bait and the occasional fish. It also consisted of Mom and Dad's daily trip into the beer joint of whatever little town we were closest too. This is not one of those "leave the kids in the car and feed them olives or beer nuts for dinner" stories, Mom and Dad didn't drive in and get drunk, they just went in for a couple of beers and a slight reprieve from us whiny kids, we loved it. We'd run loose through town hitting the drugstore counter for malts that we're only 40 cents, which included what was left over in the frosty metal mixing cup, and browsing the gift shops for that "one" souvenir we'd been saving months for. My big brother, Pat, was already buying "Thirst Aid" kits at the ripe old age of 14. "Thirst Aid" kits were little boxes of 4 or 5 "nipper" bottles of liquor. I'm not sure how he managed to buy them, he must have convinced Mom and Dad that they were just for a "souvenir" so they bought them for him. I do think I remember they sold them in the gift shops though. Well, Pat, usually managed to drink his "souvenir" dry way before we started home from our vacation, usually when he was supposed to be babysitting the rest of us kids when Mom and Dad made another one of their escapes. Pat and I are the only 'drinkers" in the family and he's been sober for almost 30 years.

Anyway one of the Hickey family's favorite vacation spots was the Gravel Pits (lovely name isn't it, just brings up visions of pampered comfort, doesn't it) in Cimarron, NM which isn't far from Red River, NM. Well, this isn't the road trip I wanted to tell you about but the cap'n is getting restless. I wanted to tell you about the time me and my ex drove out to our land in CO from our home in KS with trees to plant, when we got there we were barely talking which was the usual MO for our road trips and we found that the snow was so deep we couldn't even get up to our land. We drove into town and had two longneck Buds apiece. We were supposed to stay overnight at the Cow Palace Inn (another name that just evokes elitist images, huh?) in Lamar where we had spent our honeymoon but he found a nail in our tire and since the next day Sunday and since this was before anything was open on Sundays, we drove straight home, still not talking. An eight hour each way road trip for 2 lousy beers. Man, I was pissed.

It was time for Carson to go on DWTS. I hope Nancy Grace goes next, my friends.

I don't have a coffee cake recipe this morning but I have to tell you about this "recipe" I tried this week. It was delicious and so easy. I picked up some ranch dressing mix in the envelope this week and noticed a pork chop recipe on the back and though I'd try it. All you do is take 4-6 pork chops (3/4 inch thick) and rub them with the dry dressing mix and some pepper, slap them on a baking sheet and bake them at 400 F for about 25 minutes. That's it. The capn's eyes rolled back in his head in ecstasy.

If any of you have been following the rumpus on the MM main list, I'm still standing. It's funny because some of the responses over there (you'll have to go over there and peek if you don't know what I'm talking about, I don't have time to go into it) would have had me cowering for cover or apologizing my ass off a few months ago but I'm not really too bothered by all of it. I stated my beliefs and I'm strong enough not to back down, funny side effect of sobriety. I was a little concerned this morning though when I logged on my blog and the visit counter registered about a 1000 less total visits than yesterday. I thought holy hell not only are my loyal few readers leaving me in droves, they're erasing all traces of having been here. Lol I reloaded the page. It was just a glitch…I hope.

Gotta hit the road.

So today I'm just out there doing my best to keep it between the lines and not go browsing for any "Thirst Aid" kits. I think I'll go searching for the old drugstore malts instead.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You Knew Me When


If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.
 ~Toni Morrison


Day 36


Hey Ya’ll! ( I sound just like that new drinking song I heard on the radio this morning. I can’t help it, I still like drinking songs) I’m over my crankiness as you can tell by my chipper greeting. I do have a stiff neck to complain about, seems my neck isn’t used to laying the same way for hours at a time, it’s used to getting up and moving around every 30 minutes like it did in my drinking days when I couldn’t sleep. Gawd, I wish I could bottle how I feel this morning, I’d start drinking again. Actually, this is the feeling I was looking for in all of those bottles, I can remember finding it there years ago, the FDA must have told the breweries to quit putting it in there because I haven’t been able to get this feeling in years from a bottle.

Hey, I’m writing a book and I need your help. Yeah, I know I told you I was writing a book months ago but that was that other book. I guess Mac will have to wait that much longer to get together with Jackie who was his dead wife’s best friend that he screwed while in the he was in the depths of his grief on the night of Lisa’s (his deceased wife) funeral. Sigh. I was having trouble redeeming Mac from being the scum of the earth. He might have been grief stricken at the time but a part of him had done risen above its grief.

I hate to say it but I started writing that book 6 years ago when I still lived on the boat. That’s one hell of a lengthy writer’s block.

I remind myself of Emma in my favorite book, “The Saving Graces”. Emma is a writer who always has all of these truly horrible ideas for books. The “Graces” are a group of four woman who started out as a book club but then became best friends, one of them, Isabel, dies but before she died she wrote a letter to them that they don’t receive until after she has died. In the letter she tells Emma that she should write about them, The Saving Graces. So that’s what I’m doing, I’m writing about us, in a way.

I want to write about my “journey” (I wish I could think of a better word for it) but I want to emphasize the support I have received from the sources that are available on the internet. The message boards, the chatrooms, the blogs, without them I would still be either stuck where I was a year ago or worse. I’m going to paste what I have posted on the mmabsers board here so I don’t have to re-write it all. You’ll get the idea. It all started with this question.

I read with interest in one of (member) responses to her withdrawal post her statement, "I know I'm not going to AA." I feel the same way. I don't know why but that is just not an option for me.....yet (of course). Call it cowardice, call it false pride, call it lack of commitment but I'm not going. I think that is one of the reasons I'm working at this so hard now because I didn't want to get to the point that AA or rehab were the only options left that I hadn't tried. I think alot of us on these message boards feel the same way and that is why we're here. How many of us are using the internet sites for our sole means of recovery support? What are your reasons for not trying AA or other f2f options or rehab? Some of mine are, I'm not good at going to meetings of any sort (I know that's simplistic and lame but it's fact), I don't know that I would have the support of DH for the amount of time they require away from home (another simplistic reason and yes, I know I have to put my recovery first), I am more comfortable with anonymity of the internet and writing out my feelings, I feel at the this point I am getting enough support and knowledge from my sources on the various sites, I feel I am completing my "service" by being involved in these boards and on my blog, and I am honoring a time commitment to my recovery here on the internet.



For those of you that have tried or are active in AA or other forms of recovery, what support does it offer that you can't get here. What made you decide to attend? Do you think it is possible for others to recover with only internet support? Why or Why not.

Then I asked this question:

My question earlier in the week about "Why not AA?" really got me thinking. I actually think I'm strong enough and I've come far enough and I've lost that shame that I had in the beginning, that I could and would attend AA if I felt I needed it or had something more to learn from it in the future. Right now, I think I am getting what I need from the various message boards that I participate in and the material I read. Which made me think further about the people out there that don't know about message boards like this one and for whatever reason will not go to AA or another form of f2f meetings or rehab.

A year ago I was looking for blogs or boards about people going through what I was going through. I found several blogs by AA alumni who were successfully recovered and I followed them but all of them had moved past the struggle (good for them) and now their livfes were not based on their journey, they were already there and had moved on. I checked out an AA based forum but because I still thought I might be able to moderate, I was deterred by their all or nothing concept. I had watched the tv program (I'm sorry, I don't remember which one) that Audrey Kishline was on back in the 80's. I was in my mid-twenties then and I already knew I had a problem, I even checked the book out at our public library but that was as far as I went. I kept moderation management in the back of my mind as I struggled through 20 more years of drinking and I knew her tragic story but when I couldn't find the support I was looking for in the permanent abs forums that were out there I googled Moderation Management and found their website and subsequently the forum and then the list and then you yahoo's over here. You sounded like you were having so much fun I decided to join you. It was a long journey but I don't think I could have skipped a step and I don't know that I would have considered permanent abs as soon as I did except that I lurked on this board and heard all of your stories. Same way with AA, now that I've heard some of your stories I wouldn't discount going.

How did you find out about mmabsers and what draws you to this group over others? Are you a member of other message boards? What support do they provide that you don't find here?

Disclosure: I want to be honest and tell you that I am thinking of writing a series of articles or maybe even a book about my own journey and the support communities that are out here on the internet. I just think there are a lot of people that are still struggling alone and losing the battle because they don't know about all of the options. I was. Please know I would never use anything without anyones permission and if you share something I would like to share with others, I will ask permission through a pm. Thanks.

Then a member questioned my motives, which I expected, so I replied with this:

Disclosure

I am Kary May (not my real name, just let me be honest about that) and I am an alcoholic. I am a writer, although I don't make my living being one, although I would not be adverse to that. I have always written about my life, I have a blog over on the "other life network" about sailing and living in MX and just life. I started journaling about my drinking years ago, thinking privately writing about it would be enough, it wasn't. So I started my blog in the hopes of reaching out and finding people like me, people that were so tired and scared of being tired and scared, and maybe they could help me and I could help them. I knew from my other blog that the best place to find these people is on message boards and so I went in search of a community that I felt comfortable in and I found MM. A year ago I had no idea I would end up here.



My blog is not what most people would consider a "big success" but I have a few valued followers that I hope I have helped as they have helped me, so I consider it a success but what I'm most thankful for is that the blog lead me to places like this where I could learn from and connect to others in the same "boat". I am an honest person, I always have been, even when drinking. I have been brutally honest on my blog about every relapse I have had and every drink I've taken, I made that vow when I started the blog and I take great pride in being able to say that I've honored it. I practice the same honesty on any board I participate on because the opinion of the faceless members does not matter as much as my own opinion of myself. Being dishonest would be of no service to myself.



When I read (member) post a week or so ago and she said, "I know I won't go to AA" it resonated with me because it echoed my own feelings. I know I won't go to AA. I don't know where those feelings came from. I have a brother that recovered through AA and my parents and family accepted it, so it's not that. In order to understand my feelings I posted the question here thinking that maybe somebody that had the same feelings could put them in words for me. I had already planned to write my own story but when I read the responses to that post, I realized that I want to give anyone that would read my book so much more than just my own feelings and beliefs and biases. I want to reach out to people that don't share my fear of AA, or have my belief of a Higher Power and show them that there are places for them too.



In no way do I want to disrupt the dynamic of this board, too many people depend on it, as do I. I'll admit that I did consider just reading through the posts as usual and finding the answers to the questions I had, they were bound to be discussed at some point, and then pm'ing the member for permission to use their post but I didn't think that would be totally forthcoming which is why I came out and disclosed my plans in my post yesterday. I'm glad I did. Last night I was thinking that maybe I should just ask people if they would like to participate with me strictly through pm's but then I read the discussions this morning that had developed from the question I posted yesterday and I feel that my book would be missing something vital if I couldn't include the thought provoking exchanges that go on between the members that are so much more valuable than a one-on-one question and answer session. My idea is that I would ask a question or two a week like the last two I've posted and if there were responses that I may want to use in my book I would pm the member and ask their permission to use them. I would not be using responses from topics posted by other members nor will every topic I post be used as fodder for the book. I will inform members from the beginning of my posts if it is being used for the book and I apologize for not doing that yesterday. I don't have any plans to "characterize" anyone or tell anybody's story except my own, I strictly intend to only use responses to specific topics.

Once again, it is very important to me that I don't in anyway change the dynamics of this board or any member's interaction with me, I depend on it too much and would not do anything to jeopardize it,

Thanks,

Kary (once again, in full disclosure, not my real name.)

I want to include WFS in this also but they are a little bit more disciplined than the mmabsers and I want to write their moderators and get their okay. I will also include the MMlist but I just haven’t had the time yet. And of course I want to include you guys my loyal followers, I’m planning on taking you with me when I go on Oprah, maybe she’ll be giving away cars that day. Oh yeah, she doesn’t have a show anymore. Does Ellen give away cars or does she just give away a copy of the author’s book? You won’t need that since I intend to send every single one of you a free autographed copy.

But seriously, if you want to participate and help me in reaching out to others who are just like us you can try and figure out the f’ing comment system here or you can email me at karymayhickey@gmail.com I can’t wait to hear from you and would love any suggestions about the book that you might have. I’ll be giving sneak previews.

Shit! Now I’ve really got to write a book. What have I gotten myself into?

So today I’m just out there doing my best to do my darnedest and waiting for Ellen to call.

Oh and please substitute whatever board or boards you are involved in for mmabsers in the question about how you found out about it. Thanks

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

True Grit



I do not entertain hypotheticals. The world itself is vexing enough.
--Col. Stoneyhill from the movie "True Grit"



Day 35
Just a short one this morning. I know. I know. You've heard that before. This time I promise because I'm cranky. Withdrawals got me up at 3:00 am. Not alcohol withdrawals, thank my Co-writer, sugar withdrawals which, except for the absence of heart palpitations, felt a lot like alcohol withdrawals. A mild, wanna jump out of my skin restlessness and now it's gone, leaving a blonde bitch behind. I read about how horrible sugar withdrawal was before when I was on the Atkins but I never really suffered it probably because I was breaking the rules and still drinking and getting my sugar from the bottle. I did lose weight on it, though.

I'm already tired of cheese and eggs. I don't know how I did this for two years, I've tried to do the Atkin's diet again since then because it does make the pounds drop off quickly but the longest I've been able to do it is 3 weeks and then I was digging into the pasta and mashed potatoes like there was no tomorrow. I still have a lingering distaste for meat. Maybe I'll become a vegetarian.

I'm making popcorn balls today to send to the grandkids and because just like going to a bar when I'm not drinking, I like to torture the hell out of myself.

This damn disease or addiction or whatever you want to call our drinking problem is an insidious sumbitch, that's what I'm calling it this morning. I was reading about the stages of alcoholism, that worthless sumbitch, yesterday in the book, Beyond The Influence, and as best I can gauge it I'm either a high end middle stager or a low end late stager because I never had the DT's. But you know what that lying sumbitch started whispering in my ear? "You probably could have kept drinking a little longer. You know you always exaggerate. You have a little bit of the hypochondriac in you. You probably weren't as bad as you thought."

"Fill your hands you, sumbitch!" (That's my favorite line from True Grit, the original one.)

So today I'm just out there doing my best to shoot down whatever the alcoholic voices in my head try to tell me and overcome my crankiness.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sincerely Beautiful



Everyone must choose one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret. ~Jim Rohn
 
Day 34

Hi gang! I took that road trip to Cloudcroft, NM on Saturday and I absolutely loved it. Cloudcroft reminded me of the little mountain villages my parents used to take us to when I was growing up. One main street with a clutter of shops and cafes, a tiny outdoor skating rink, modest homes, rustic old cabins, and RV's and campers scattered up the winding streets. It's a place where you could let the kids run wild and you wouldn't have to worry about them getting into trouble.

We stayed at a little compound of cabins that looked like they were built in the 1930's, ours was one bedroom and had a fireplace. I could see myself holing up there for the whole winter, it had everything you needed and none of all that stuff you don't need.

We went to an apple festival in High Rolls, a little town about 5 miles down the mountain. I got a caramel apple. Its tart juice mingled with the sweet caramel and ran down my chin, it was the most delicious thing I can remember tasting since I don't remember when. Oh, and by the way, I am starting the Atkins diet today. I know it's not the best for long term weight loss, I did it for 2 years once and I'm just now to the point I can look at a piece of cheese without gagging, but I've got to break these sugar cravings come hell or high water.

We left the festival and went back to our little cabin and just relaxed outside and admired the fall foliage. And I wanted a drink the whole time, I mean the whole damn day I was thinking about a glass of wine. Red or white, either one would have suited. So I started talking myself through the drink. I told myself that a glass of wine wasn't going to make the leaves brighter, or the sun warmer, or me happier. If it did, it would be a temporary false brilliance, a temporary false warmth, a temporary, false joy. Fleeting at best, and fading quickly to a lingering dullness.

I also told myself that maybe if I made it through this urge and the next one and the next one, just maybe someday I could sit in the warm beautiful autumn afternoon sun and not think about drinking.

It must have worked because I didn't have that glass of wine. The next morning I got up and took a walk before we had to pack up to leave. Along the way I met a man who was probably in his 90's who was sitting up on his balcony. He hollered down at me about the beautiful morning and I stopped to talk. He went on to tell me how he had come to live in Cloudcroft, and that it was a surefire sign from God when his truck needed jumping and the man that stopped to help him just happened to have the cabin from whose balcony he was chatting with me up for sale. My affable new friend said, "If heaven ain't like Cloudcroft, I don't want to go."

I had to agree with him wholeheartedly and sincerely.

Today I'm just out there doing my best to keep it sincerely beautiful and reminiscing about that caramel apple while I gnaw on my cheese.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Neighbor Kary May’s Radio Show’s 2nd Episode




Give a man a fish and he has food for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend. ~Zenna Scha

Day 32
Good morning all, it's another "Act Like You're Not A Drunk" Saturday and the 2nd episode of Neighbor Kary May's Radio Show. I hope this morning finds everybody well and hangover free…Oops! We're not talking about booze today. For so long it's been all I've talked or thought about, sometimes I forget.
I've already finished my laundry on this early fall morning. I had to take it over to the laundry facilities here at the apartment complex where we're staying while the cap'n works. I was taking my load out of the dryer when I heard a cheery, "Hello."

"Hello," I called out with matching cheeriness as I turned clutching my laundry, hoping that a pair of thongs wouldn't slip through my hands and drop to the floor. ( the cap'n would be so embarassed)
Anyway when I got turned around I saw a young girl turned away from me with a cell phone clamped to her ear. I hate it when that happens. Or when I'm walking through an airport and someone approaching me hollers out "Hi there!" and I wave and smile like they're my long lost friend even though I've never seen them before in my life and then I see that thing sticking out of their ear. Please, tell me I'm not the only one this happens to.

I go about hanging up my supposedly clean clothes and I notice a whole new set of spots of on most of my shirts. I blame it on the crappy non-maintained machines of the apt. complex just like I used to blame it on the $5.00 a load washers in the Bahamas. It couldn't be that I crammed a month's worth of mildewed laundry into one load. When I moved to Mexico it was easy to blame the water for the rust stains that showed up on all of my whites. After all, water that left golf ball size boils in my underarms can't be good for my delicates…or my laundry either.

My friend, Star grabbed a shaker of Barkeeper's Friend one day and sprinkled it on her rust stain and presto they disappeared. We just can't escape the booze references in this world, can we?

Anyway, I blame my various spots on geography but it happens when I'm at home, too. There must be something wrong with our well water, or else I'm a crappy laundress. Ah-ha! I just might be the common factor that links all those worldly stains together.

I find watching TV a whole new experience these days, now that I can keep track of what's going on I can finally quit watching reruns of MASH and Andy Griffith. What the hell is going on with Dancing With The Stars this year? It's turned into a popularity contest, not a dancing contest. And what was the big deal with Cher being in the audience? I mean when was the last time she had a hit? 1989? Chynna Phillips has had a hit since she has and that was at least two Carnie Wilson gastric bypasses ago.

I've been trying to watch the X-factor but I just can't anymore. Sorry Simon, it'a good thing you've still got Susan Boyle making you money. She did great singing Unchained Melody the other night on DWTS, in my humble opinion.

I've started watching Modern Family which I think is hilarious. I'm pissed at the cap'n because it took so long to convince him to watch it. We only have one TV in both our house in CO and in MX and listening to him whine when he doesn't get to watch what he wants is just not worth it sometimes. I got lucky one night when he couldn't find "How It Was Made," "Patton" or "Caddyshack" on any channel and let me watch Modern Family, now he loves it.

I've made a new rule at our house, if everybody in the movie is dead we are not watching it. It's been very difficult for the cap'n.

I'm mourning the loss of 2 ½ Men. Alan is trying but he can't carry the whole show and Ashton…well, a boozing, womanizing reprobate wins out over a geekie rich guy in my books anytime. Just ask the guys I dated in high school.

Speaking of Ashton, come on Demi, didn't you know what was going to happen? I did. Men haven't evolved that much. The older man-younger woman scenario is still the more successful because the attributes that both parties found attractive don't change, she's still younger and he's still rich. The cap'n is fourteen years older than me and I used to brag that he was big in all the right places…one of them being the bank account.

One more thing, we women have always lied about our age the wrong way. Awhile back one of my friends came up to me and said, "Kary, you look great! How do you do it?" She thought I was the same age as the cap'n. I let her go right on believing.

Anybody Thirsty?  Here's some of my favorite tea.  Of course, I f'd  with the recipe a little, I left out the booze but if you're moderating you can leave it in but you should probably lower the proof. I used Celestial Seasoning Peach Tea and it was delicious. I made a batch with the amount of sugar specified here but my friends said it was way too sweet so I reduced it to 3/4 cup, for my own I left it unsweet and added sweetener to taste, and I used lime because that's what I had. I crushed up a bunch of mint leaves and through them in the pitcher, just make sure to strain them as you pour or you'll walk around with mint leaves in your teeth all day and no one will tell you.  Tell the truth, do you tell someone when they've got something stuck in their teeth?  Why are we embarassed to do that?

Emeril's Lemony Spiked Tea

This recipe is from "Emeril at the Grill" by Emeril Lagasse.


.Yield

Serves 8 to 10 

Ingredients

7 cups water

6 orange pekoe tea bags

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup Bacardi 151 or other high-proof golden rum

Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Directions

1.Bring 4 cups of the water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the tea bags. Remove the pan from the heat, cover it, and allow the tea bags to steep for 5 minutes.

2.Remove and discard the tea bags. Add the sugar to the saucepan and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining 3 cups water and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher, and add the lemon juice and rum. Chill thoroughly before serving.

3.Serve over ice, in tall glasses garnished with mint sprigs.


That's all from me, I'm taking a road trip to Cloudcroft, NM. Next week let's talk about memorable, or ones we don't remembe,r road trips. I know we can't chat on this site but you can leave your comments and let everybody know what you're watching and anything else on your mind, except booze!
Outta here! Have A Fantastic "Act Like You're Not A Drunk" Saturday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Same Time, Same Station, Same Blogosphere.

Hey all, I just wanted to remind you that tomorrow is the second episode of  "Neighbor Kary May's Radio Hour" held every "Act Like You're Not A Drunk" Saturday.  This is our chance to get together and exchange household tips and chat about everything except booze.  Tomorrow's topic will be "Mysterious Stains From The Laundromat" and "Now That You Can Remember What You Watched The Night Before, What Are You Watching On TV?"  eelaine said she'd bring the Pineapple Upside Down Cake and I'll be serving my Peach Lime Mint Tea.  See you there. Well, I won't see you but you know what I mean.

P.S. eelaine, if you want you can email your recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake to me at karymayhickey@gmail.com

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Road Taken Ain't So Bad


Life is the sum of all your choices.
                                                                     - Albert Camus



I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which uh..is odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words.
--Ellen DeGeneres




Day 30   Lookie there! That’s three 30’s since June 1. They’re so much easier to do when you’re  not looking forward to a drink at the end.


Mass was more snore provoking than thought provoking this morning and I’m still experiencing some lingering somnolence from it. I have a “discussion” every morning with my Co-writer about what I’m going to work on first, the blog or the book. I suffer from brain drain after about 11:00 am and whatever I’m writing then, suffers. I always vote for the book, because after all that is going to be my ticket out of here and get me on Oprah. Oh yeah, she doesn’t have a show anymore, I guess I’ll have to settle for Ellen, I like her better anyway. My Co-writer usually votes for the blog, he says things like there might be someone out there that can’t wait for the book and needs to hear what “we” have to say today. He has a higher opinion of “our” writing skills then I. So while I’m trying not to nod off in church this morning we are having our same argument and finally I say, “Okay, if you want me to write the blog first you’re going to have to give me a sign.”

I sit through Mass waiting and listening for a sign but today is Saint Edward’s feast day and the priest said he had no idea why he was a saint except that he was king of England when Westminster Abbey was built. Maybe if I was a carpenter, I could see a sign in that but I didn’t think it pertained to me. I went to Albertsons and I didn’t find a sign in the produce section or in the checkout line magazine headlines. Ashton and Demi are grabbing enough headlines these day and I refuse to give them another one. The drive-through window boy at McDonalds mumbled something when I picked up my breakfast burrito but I couldn’t make it out and I couldn’t read the crude, home-made tattoo across his knuckles. So got home and settled at the computer and got ready to write…but first I had to take a swing through the message boards, too many signs there to pick just one, and then I brought up my blog just to see who had stopped by since yesterday and….Lookie there! I had a new follower. I found my sign. So “new follower” I dedicate this blog to you. It is truly your lucky day to receive such a dubious honor.

I was driving down Church Street (that’s the name of the street, it’s on a sign but it’s not a sign, have I confused you yet?) in Carlsbad this morning and grinning at the at two guys bickering on the morning radio show and I got to thinking about all those mornings I drove to work with a hangover, not a grin to be found. Then I got to thinking about never having a hangover again and the grin got bigger.

I drove to the riverwalk and walked and fed the ducks and swans some rolls I had left over from last night. I prefer the ducks that honk and bump each other out of the way to get to the bread over the swans that kind of glide over to sniff (do swans sniff?) disdainfully at the bread before reluctantly eating it. No more soggy stale bread for you!

I finished my nature walk and, of course, nature came calling and I needed a bathroom. Have I told you I hate public bathrooms? Not the kind in restaurants or grocery stores but the ones in rest stops and parks. I always think I’m going to find a dead baby or a severed head floating in the toilet. I don’t know why I think that but it’s there and I can’t get rid of it. I think about holding it but I realize I’ll just be miserable during mass so I take a deep breath and hold it and go in. There is no light and the early morning sunlight isn’t quite bright enough to dispel the darkness and it takes me a minute to make out what is scrawled on the wall across from the toilet I am sitting on.

“Call 911 right now.” It says.

Well, that’s reassuring. I wash my hands and, of course, there are no paper towels and as I’m shaking the water off of my hands I look down at the overflowing trash can and there on the top is an opened pregnancy test box. I surmise that this is no happily married woman’s pregnancy test that was performed in a cold dark public restroom. I imagine it was some young teen-age girl’s, a girl who is too scared and too ashamed to do the test in the security of her own home. She doesn’t want anyone to know. I don’t know what the results are but I’m pretty sure that a positive result didn’t bring joy, it brought fear and the thought that this is the worst day of her life and that the rest of her life is ruined. She feels so alone.

Just like the teenage girl on the skateboard I blogged about yesterday, I want to talk to that girl and tell her it will be okay, that what looks like a tragedy can miraculously turn into a blessing. I was that girl thirty-two years ago, seventeen years old, still in high school, unmarried and pregnant with my oldest son. Do I regret it? Not for a second but…I will always wonder what my life would have been like if that pregnancy test would have been negative. Where would I be now? Who would I be? Would I be as strong?

Alcohol raises some of the same feelings in me. Given the choice, would I take that first drink again. Most the time I think I would answer unequivocally, “No” but then again if I hadn’t, where would I be now? Who would I be? Would I be as strong?

I’ll never know the answers to those questions. I can say, I like who I am now and I like where I am now. And I know I wouldn’t be as strong.

So today I’m just out there doing my best to flex my sober muscles and follow the signs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monday Morning Thoughts On A Wednesday Afternoon



"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."



Overcoming Addiction Quote by Sun Tzu (544 BC - 496 BC)



Day 29
 
I know longer grieve the loss of alcohol, not much anyway, but I do still get urges. This weekend I had some of the strongest I've had this go around of abstinence. I wrote about the nostalgia of Fridays and I felt it Friday, by 2:00 pm my brain had done all it wanted to do. I wanted to keep writing but it stubbornly crossed its arms and stuck out its chin and said, "I'm done for the day." Old Drunk Kary May said, "If you gave it a little drinky-poo you could probably coax a couple more hours out of it and you'd probably get better ideas than you have all day. Luckily,Sober Kary May muttered out of the corner of her mouth, "Bullshit" and I listened. So I'm no further along in my bestseller but I'm not back to Day 5 either.

It was a lazy weekend. We had planned to go to El Paso and then cross to Juarez to buy some pesos while the price is good with the plan to save them to use down there this winter. However, we finally figured out that if we got shot down, the funeral expenses would cost more than the couple of hundred dollars we would make so we stayed put. By Sunday I was in an edgy mood, one of those where you feel like you should be doing something but there's nothing you want to do. I reminded myself of a 10 year old me whining to my mother, "I'm bored." And then shooting down every suggestion she had. So I went for a walk. While I was out walking I saw a young girl, probably about 13, riding her skateboard. I could smell her teenage girl smell as I walked by, a combination of some light youthful perfume (in my day it would have been Love's Baby Soft or Heaven Sent) and grape bubble-gum. She was really pretty and you could tell by the way she flipped her hair she knew she was going to be wreaking havoc among the high school boys in a year or so. She had the requisite boy "friend" trailing after her, the one that clearly adores her but she'd never think of as boyfriend material.

I was only a year older than her when I had my first drink. From that moment on I was always waiting for my next one. I want to talk to her, tell her not to let alcohol alter the path she is meant to take in any way. Not to let it even kick a pebble in her way much less hurl the boulders that it has in mine. She wouldn't listen, of course. I didn't.

Monday the cap'n had invited another temporary co-worker over to the apartment we are staying in for dinner. I think it says something for the trust he has regained in me to even invite someone considering the invites I've had to cancel in the last year because I was too drunk or hungover. I went out and bought a bottle of red and a bottle of white. It's been a long time since I've met someone new without the benefit of alcohol and I thought seriously about having a little glass of red while I was cooking. No one would know. But damnit, I would. So I didn't and after the initial introductions, I didn't even miss it. It was a nice evening and it was a relief not to have to be "on" all the time which is how I always felt when I was drinking. Never listening, always thinking of the next witty comment I could make. When the evening was over and the cap'n walked him out to his car he told the cap'n, "You're a winner, she's a real cutie." (I've always been a cutie, never a heartbreaker like the little girl on the skateboard is going to be) I could tell the cap'n was proud when he told me this and I was proud of myself, too and I can honestly say, "I don't regret not having that glass of red wine." That's another event under the sober belt with results that beat out the old drunk record.

A few minor victories, but victories none the less.

So today I'm just out there doing my best to catch my thoughts up and convince my brain that it's not Miller time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lucky Duck



The V formation greatly boosts the efficiency and range of flying birds, particularly over long migratory routes. All the birds except the first fly in the upwash from the wingtip vortices of the bird ahead. The upwash assists each bird in supporting its own weight in flight, in the same way a glider can climb or maintain height indefinitely in rising air. In a V formation of 25 members, each bird can achieve a reduction of induced drag by up to 65% and as a result increase their range by 71%.[1] The birds flying at the tips and at the front are rotated in a timely cyclical fashion to spread flight fatigue equally among the flock members. The formation also makes communication easier and allows the birds to maintain visual contact with each other. –Wikipedia

 
Day 28

I was out watching the ducks on the Pecos River early this morning. I watched as one duck would, seemingly without effort, float ahead leaving a "V" shaped ripple in his wake, it reminded me of the "V" formation that ducks fly in and, as usual, I saw the similarities between my journey with alcohol and the duck's. (Yes, it's another metaphor. I swear if I found a dog turd stuck to the bottom of my shoe, I would look for a deeper lesson in it. "Here's your lesson, Blondie. Watch wear your steppin'")

Anyway, the duck in the water reminded me of me when I was drinking. There I was floating on the surface, trying to look like nothing was wrong, I was in control and I knew where I was going while all the while I was paddling furiously just trying to stay afloat and paying no mind to the turbulence I was churning up for the other ducks bobbing along beside me. I didn't care and I didn't need their help, I could do this on my own. And I did. I'd flap and flap and flap and cause quite a ruckus but I'd finally break free of the water and launch myself skyward but I didn't know where I was going and I didn't have anyone to lead me. I would soon tire out and dive back into the water to start my furious paddling again. Every once in a while I'd look up and I'd see flocks of other ducks winging overhead in a "V" formation and I'd watch them until they were out of sight. Way further than I'd ever gone. I wanted to go with them. I was so tired of paddling and I just didn't have the strength to try another flight on my own. I started thinking it would be easier to just let myself sink down and let the water envelope me. But suddenly, way off in the distance up in the sky I could see a tiny speck and then another and then another and then an undulating "V" of specks. Maybe I could catch up with them, maybe I could give it one more try. I started flap, flap, flapping and suddenly I was above the water and winging my way toward the "V", as I approached the other ducks moved over a bit to make room for me. They seemed to know where they were going and the flying was so much easier than it had been when I was trying to do it on my own. But soon I found myself tiring again and knew that I couldn't keep up so I veered out of the formation and dove back to the water. Back to my paddling. But I had made it farther than I had ever made it before and I knew if I followed the group they would lead me where I needed to go. So when I saw the next faint "V" in the sky, I launched myself out of the water and hurried to find my place in the formation, but again I weakened before I got to where they were going, where I wanted to be, and once again I had to return to the water and my paddling. But I kept trying and each time the other ducks made room for me and each time I got a little further. Finally, I realized that every time I got tired I didn't need to fall out of the formation and dive back into the water, all I had to do is move back and let the wings of the other ducks carry me until I was strong enough to move forward again.

Muchas Gracias to all my wingmen and wingwomen out there.

So today I'm just out there doing my best to keep all my ducks in a "V" and trying not to step in it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Neighbor Kary May's Radio Show



“Don't give up before the miracle happens.”
― Fannie Flagg, I Still Dream About You



Day 25 (I actually count this out every day instead of just adding one more day on to yesterday’s total. It’s as if I can’t believe it unless I count it)


One more reason not to drink: If you leave your purse out in the car because someone else is paying, you don’t have to run back out to get your ID when some fresh faced, perky breasted twenty-something asks for your ID and giggles after you order a glass of wine. Just one more thing.

Hey it’s Saturday again. That means it’s another “Act Like I’m Not A Drunk,” or “Act Like I Didn’t Used To Be A Drunk,” or whatever I’m calling Saturdays these days, Saturday. How about a, “Praise Jesus and Pass The Ammunition I Don’t Have A Hangover Saturday.” I know that doesn’t make any sense but I love the saying “Praise Jesus and Pass the Ammunition.”

Anyway…There is a character in several of Fannie Flagg’s novels named Neighbor Dorothy. I remember when Fannie Flagg was a celebrity game show contestant way back before she wrote “Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Café,” aka just “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Yes, Dan Quayle there is an “e” in the plural form of tomato as there is in the plural form of potato. Once more I’ve jumped tracks (get it?). I’m just plumb full of “Piss and Vinegar” (another one of my favorite sayings) today.

Okay, where were we? Oh yeah, Neighbor Dorothy used to host a radio show in her living room. Mother Smith would play the organ and sing and someone was always stopping by with a pineapple upside down cake or a rhubarb pie and they would talk about all the recent happenin’s like who had a baby and who’s bursitis was flaring up. So I think I should have Neighbor Kary May’s Radio Hour here on my blog every Saturday. We can sit around and talk about who’s SO is being “poopy” and what we’re reading or who’s going to be voted off DWTS. Anything except alcohol because it’s “Act Like We’re Not Drunks” Saturday. I hear that there is some difficulty commenting on this but if you just post under Anonymous, it’s easy and then I get an email before it is posted to the site and you can tell me who you are, or not, and if you want me to publish your name, or not.

Now let’s see, I can’t sing or play the organ, thank my Co-writer, but I can tell jokes. That used to be my specialty when I was still “you know whatting” (remember we’re not talking about the “a” word). This was my most requested joke.

Did you hear about the Southern belle that went to New York City for a visit and when she got back she had all of her southern belle lady friends over for brunch? No? Well, let me tell you.

(In my best whickey- laced, southern voice,)

“Ladies, ladies gather round. Did you know in New Yahhk City, the have men that keess othah men?”?

All the southern bells fan themselves and say “Oh my!”

“Ye-es, and they call them homosexuals. But that’s not all. Did you know in New Yahhk City they have women that keess othah women?”

Fan, fan, fan. “Oh my!”

“Ye-es, and they call them lesbians. But that’s not all. Gather close. Did you know in New Yahhk, City they have men that will keess you on your private pahhts.”

Fan, fan, fan. Flutter, flutter, flutter. “Oh My! What do you call them?”

“We-ell,” (fan with one hand, and then delicately place it the over throat,) when I caught my breath, I called him Precious.”

(Applause)

I guess I can’t serve any rhubarb pie or pineapple upside down cake either but I can pass on my recipe for the Crème Brulee French Toast I served at my brunch. This is a little bit of heaven right here on earth and I don’t even like sweets that much. At least I didn’t used to but that was before I gave up you-know-what. I left on the crusts and served it with Maple Pecan Syrup but a couple people said it didn’t need the syrup. Treat yourself and fix it for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Crème Brulee French Toast Casserole

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

6 French bread

5 eggs

1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon brandy-based orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier®)(I don't hold with the theory that we can't cook with you-know-what, but if you do, leave this out.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

1.Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix in brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish.

2.Remove crusts from bread, and arrange in the baking dish in a single layer. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, orange brandy, and salt. Pour over the bread. Cover, and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.

3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove the dish from the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature.

4.Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until puffed and lightly browned.



Signing off now.

So today I’m just out there doing my best to stay “tuned in” and be nice to “perky” little waitresses. Praise Jesus and Pass the Ammunition!

Friday, October 7, 2011

What Goes Around


"There's only us, there's only this, forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way, no day but today."
Jonathan Larson (February 4, 1960 - January 25, 1996) motivational quote



Day 23


TGIF, I guess. Fridays are hard for me. Before I was drinking every day, Friday was the day I lived for all of the working week and now I feel a little melancholy as I watch people in the grocery stores or pulling up to the liquor stores as they gear up for the weekend. No more flasks of bourbon in the inside pocket of my jacket to keep me warm while I freeze my ass off watching the Friday night high school football game. No more cold beer with Mexican food for Saturday lunch. No more drinking at a friend’s house on Saturday night. No more bottle of Ballatori with my Sunday Brunch. Oh well, the no more hangovers makes it worth it. Did I really wonder where the weekend went back then?

It’s 11:42 am and I’m already wondering where my morning went. I got up, turned on the computer, and checked the message boards. I got dressed, slapped some make-up on, curled my hair and took the cap’n to work. Then I headed for the riverwalk and walked until it was time to head to church. I went to mass and stayed after to light a candle and say a prayer for a mmlist friend that was in need this morning, then off to Albertsons to pick up a few items and of course I forgot something and had to go back through check out. I headed home, unloaded the car, cleaned the house turned on the computer and checked the message boards again. I sent a couple of pm’s and responded to a couple of posts. And now it’s 11:48 and the morning is gone and I have accomplished nothing of noteworthiness. I don’t know how you guys that work do it. I don’t remember how I used to do it.

I keep telling myself that I spend too much time on the message boards or that I need to drop one or two of them. I’m on three of them, MMlist, mmabser’s and Women for sobriety. And I’ve made a note to check out SMART today. Something has got to go but here’s the thing, I just counted out how many days I have abstained since June 1st (I didn’t keep track before then) and there’s 112 of them. 112 days out of 128 days and I owe every one of those days to the various lists. Yeah sure, I can take some of the credit but in all of those years I was on this journey by myself I couldn’t rack up 112 days of abs in five years. Every time I think I’m going to cut down on my time spent on them, every time I think I’ll just take a peek but I won’t stay long, there is a lesson waiting there for me or there is someone that needs a friend to listen. Because it’s not all about “taking” on the boards. Those 112 days and this newer happier stronger me isn’t just because I received so much support and wisdom and help from those boards, it’s because I gave of myself, too. It wasn’t just because when I asked for prayers as my friend did this morning, I got them, it was because I gave them too.

You can call it karma, or paying it forward, or magic, whatever you call it, it works. So if you’re lurking and afraid to chime in with advice or just a “Yeah, I’ve been there too and it’s utter hell” your only getting half of the benefits. Jump in, we need to hear what you have to say. BTW I love comments here, too.

Hey, I’ve finally figured out which one has to go…the housework.

So today I’m just out there doing my best to make time and waiting for what goes around to come around.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

All The Happy People



Stop, Sit, Rest Awhile,

Remember Your Dreams,

Now..Believe In God,

And Dare To Make Them Happen

--From a plaque along the Pecos River, Carlsbad, NM



Day 23

The Pecos River is a desultory presence here, her waters languidly wind their way through town. I walk her banks most mornings as the sun is coming up and the mists float above her surface. The path is lined with many benches for those who need to catch their breath during their morning exertions or maybe they are there for those who just need to stop and breathe for a moment. Each bench is flanked by two plaques that have been placed there in memory of someone. Mothers, Fathers, daughters, sons, friends… I stop to read the plaques as I walk by. I figure if someone cared enough about that person that they placed a testimony to them, it is probably worth my time to read it.

You know, it’s funny but you can tell who the happy people were by the words other people used to describe them. I’m sure all of the people that have plaques placed in their memory are wonderful people. Nobody would bother with a plaque, if they weren’t. But there are a few that you can just tell had a different spirit, a lucky few that must have housed happy buoyant souls. So much so that the friends or loved ones that placed their plaques wanted the world to know that these weren’t just your run-of-the-mill, ordinary folk. These people were one-of-a-kind treasures and happiness was their fortune.

Curtis Don Smith

A Loving Dad to Six

A Wonderful Friend to All

We Miss Your Humor and Warm Smile



“Geno” Smith

His Big Heart Left Us With A Lasting Impression

“See You Again”



(I Love This One)

 
Bobby Boyd

Happily For Me

Memories Are Just A Pass Through Fascinating Times


Lately I’ve been feeling a strange, vaguely familiar feeling. It happens out of the blue. It can occur when I pass someone on that morning walk and they stop to give me a smile and greeting, or it can happen when I’m sitting outside and the autumn sun warms my cheek. It starts in my chest and bubbles up to my mouth and I smile. I think I remember this feeling. I think I used to call it happiness.

As I pass those plaques, I wonder if someone will place a memorial to me someday. If they do, I hope they place it where people can walk by and if they want stop and read it instead of out in some lonely cemetery. I want a happy person plaque. I hope it says.

Kary May

We Admired Her Strength

But We Loved Her Laughter

We Can’t Wait To Hear It Again

What do you want yours to say?

So today I’m just out there doing my best to laugh long and hard and remember that I have cookies in the oven.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homecoming




Come back to me with all your heart,

Don't let fear keep us apart.

Trees do bend, tho' straight and tall;

So must we to others' call
 
--From the hymn Hosea

Day 22

The computer gods are not happy with me today for some reason. It has taken a restart and another 20 minutes just to load Word this morning. I'm beginning to think that "Somebody" doesn't want me to write this blog. He's thrown in enough of life's little lessons this morning that I could write about but I've had this blog planned since yesterday and by God (are you listening?), I'm going to write it.

I got up this morning and I really didn't want to go for my walk or go to church. I just didn't have the time. I know what you're thinking, it's the same thing the cap'n is thinking when he gets home and asks me what I did all day. Well, I write this blog which takes a lot longer than it probably looks, I'm trying to write two different books at the same time (I'm daring to do that work to make my dreams happen), and then there are the message boards, let's not go there today, that's a whole 'nother blog. As I said, I already had my blog planned out and while I walked along the Pecos, watching the scattered raindrops dance on her surface I finalized it in my mind. And I told myself, if my walk took too long and I didn't make it to mass that was the way it was meant to be.

I made it to church with three minutes to spare. As I knelt down on the kneeler before mass started, I prayed, "I've already yakked your head off this morning, do you have anything you want to say? Anything you want to add to this blog?"

Before he could answer the priest entered and announced the entrance hymn, "Hosea".

"Oh good," I thought, "I know this one."

Then we hit the chorus,

"Long have I waited for your coming home to me,
And living deeply our new life."

 
There go those leaky eye faucets again. I couldn't make it through the rest of the song.

You know what? The blog I had planned can wait until tomorrow. This is enough for today.

So today I'm just out there doing my best not to ignore that gentle hand in the small of my back when it's trying to guide me where I should go and buying some new washers for my tear ducts. Nah, I kind of like them leaky.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Can't Blame It On The Bottle


Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better."


Emile Coue (1857-1926) Overcoming Addiction Quote



Day 21


Just a shorty today. I can hear a collective sigh of relief. I just have a few incidences that have happened in the last week in sober world that I want to share with you.

1. I have a burn on my left wrist and I have no idea how it got there. But that’s okay because I know I wasn’t drinking when it happened. When I lived on the sailboat I continuously had bilateral burns about mid-thigh on my legs. In the galley of sailboats you have what are called gimbaled stoves which rock with the motion of the boat so your cooking surface stays level. When we were underway I would have to tether myself to the stove to cook which means I would put a strap around my waist and fasten it to each side of the stove. Unfortunately I usually failed to latch my oven door securely and when the boat would rock to the starboard side the oven door would fly open and hit right at mid-thigh. Ouch! Last summer I woke up one morning and found bilateral burns on the outside of my forearms. I have no idea how they got there. I can’t blame it on the boat because I wasn’t aboard the boat but I can probably blame it on the bottle. I thank my Co-writer every day that no one except me has come to physical harm because of my drinking. I can’t speak to the emotional harm I might have caused.

2. Last Friday I returned from the grocery store to the apartment we are staying at here. I let Stanley, the blind killer bichon, out in the front of the apartment to do his business while I carried in the groceries. I took one load in and put it on the counter and went back outside. Mr. Stan is nowhere to be seen. I look all around the small apartment unit. There are 4 apartments to a unit, 2 up and 2 down. We are on the ground floor. I can’t find him anywhere. “Come on, he’s 17 years old and blind, he just can’t move that fast,” I tell myself. The office is right across from our unit and I go over there and ask them if they have seen my dog. No but the nice lady gets on the walkie-talkie and alerts all the maintenance people that I’m missing my dog. I walk around the complex of about a dozen units, still no Stanley. I get in my car and drive around the neighborhood. Nope, no sign of him. He’s been missing about 30 minutes now and I return to the apartment and something makes me look up. There is my poor little blind dog standing at the door of the apartment above ours. He’d probably been there the whole time. He’s usually so smart about figuring out new places but we’d been in that apartment less than 24 hours. But you know what? The whole time I was frantically searching and repeating fervent prayers to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, the one phrase that kept repeating myself in my head was, “At least I’m not drunk.”

3. The cap’n and I went and explored the Carlsbad Caverns last weekend. It was a beautiful, fun day without a hangover in sight. I wasn’t shaky or anxious and managed to walk about a gazillion miles. I laughed and got goofy without the benefit of a drink. My emotions are still a little bit wonky and I found myself welling up when the ranger started talking about the efforts they are making to preserve the caves. Yep, that was a real hanky moment. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I toured anything without just tolerating it and waiting for it to be over so I could get a drink or being drunk while touring. I have to be a witness to the fact that it was a lot more fun sober. I’ll admit that a cold beer sure sounded good when it was over but oh well. Tonight we’re going out to watch the bats fly out of the cave at dusk. I’m sure a glass of wine will sound good but oh well.

So today I’m just out there doing my best to find other places to lay blame and keep myself from going completely batty.



Monday, October 3, 2011

BFF



The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.

- Elizabeth Foley



Day 20

Sobriety has given me back so many things. One of them is dreams the ones that happen at night, beyond my control, not the ones that I have for my life although it’s put those dreams within my reach once again also. The night dreams I have during the immediate withdrawl stage are exceedingly vibrant and Clockwork Orange weird. Here’s one I had last night. It’s pretty mild since this is Day 20 but it was memorable.

I am in the middle of a parking lot and I have a chance meeting with two blonde women that I recognize from high school (I knew their names in the dream but I can’t recall them now) and Max Vangiesen, a guy that was a few years ahead of me in school that I never knew well but he drove a really hot purple corvette. Anyway we have some meaningless conversation about how great it is to see each other again and how serendipitous it is that we all met up in this parking lot. We finally reach an awkward pause and decide that it’s time to go and I reach over to give Max a hug good-bye. He backs away and shakes his head and says, “I don’t think so, I remember the Superbowl 2008.” Okay. So I reach out to hug the two women and they back off too and say, “Yeah, we were there, too”

So I wake up thinking, “Where the hell was I for the Superbowl in 2008 and what did I do?”

That one’s kind of funny but one that I had about two days into my withdrawal was a real doozie and it lasted all night long.

I’m in my house in Mexico and some of my friends have thrown me a surprise birthday party. I am a little concerned about this because I’m not drinking but I decide to go along with it and act like I’m happy about it. The music is loud and they’ve blindfolded me. I’m wearing a bikini top and someone keeps trying to pull the cups of the bikini top apart. To the capn’s credit, he doesn’t allow them to do this but my friends are laughing uproariously. They lead me to a room that is filled with people, some of them I know but most of them I’ve never seen before. And most of them are naked and dancing. Luckily all of my friends remained clothed during this dream, I’m not sure I could face them with a straight face if they didn’t. I’m no longer amused and I just want to get all of these people out of my house and get to my own bedroom for some peace and quiet but I can’t find it. The whole house has been changed and my friends are so proud of the couple of designers that they hired to decorate for the party. The cap’n is trying to help me find our room but he can’t find it either. We keep looking out the window to try to figure out where we are in the house. Meanwhile, people are still dancing around naked and as I go from room to room I keep pulling people out of beds where they are doing more than dancing and I’m stripping sheets as I go. There is one gorgeous heterosexual couple that I actually grab by the wrists and haul them out to the gate and threaten to call the cops but then the woman breaks down in tears because apparently they’re married, just not to each other. I feel sorry for them and let them go but then find them later in another room messing up another set of sheets. I’ve finally had it and start yelling that I want everyone out and I want my house back the way it is supposed to be. NOW!

First let me assure you that I’ve had some wild parties but they never turned into orgies and for the most part people kept their clothes on. For me this dream was pretty easy to interpret. My sobriety is like my house and I control what goes on it. I can’t let other people come in and rearrange it or desecrate it. And maybe if my friends don’t want what is best for me, they’re not my friends.

I have posted so many times on here the importance of keeping my friends and the fact that I still had to go to parties and bars because that is where my “friends” are. That may be true, but do I really even know who my true friends are? How can I if I’m still trying to figure out how to be who I am. The “Language of Letting Go” asks, “What would happen if we let go of our camouflage of adaptation?”

Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t that be such a relief to not have to figure out what another person expects of you, who they want you to be? What unimagined freedom it would be to just be myself and know my friends will still love me if I disagree with them, that they’d listen to me and respect me if I used my own true voice instead of the one I thought they wanted to hear? Isn’t that what friends are supposed to do? The book goes on to say that some people may leave us but some will stay and love and respect us more for taking the risk of being who we are. “We discover that who we are has always been good enough. It is who we were intended to be.”

So as I look at the pic of my amigas that attended my brunch I ask myself, “Who will stay and who will go?” I think I can say that three of them will definitely stay. The friendships will remain strong, even though they will change. A couple of the ladies that are really just acquaintances may become real friends if I remain sober. A couple of the others will fade away and we’ll remain friendly, but not friends. And then there’s me in the pic. What will my relationship with myself be? I think it will be a true and lasting friendship.

So today I’m just out there trying to be the best friend to myself I can be and planning my own birthday party.