Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I want so much to write something beautiful and profound on this the most beautiful and profound night of the year, but I am exhausted.  I have done nothing but cook and shop and play games and cook and shop and play games for the last 3 days

Three days ago I traveled 17 hours to get to my youngest son's house in Texas, but I have traveled so many years to get to where I am.

Where exactly is that?

It's a place where I can cook and shop and play games for 3 days straight.  I don't have to plan ahead and wean myself off alcohol for weeks ahead of time, I don't have to plan when and where and how much I'll drink. I don't have to allow for hangovers.  I don't have to worry about embarrassing myself or the ones I love, or causing them worry or anger.  It's a place where I feel healthy, in body and spirit.  It's a place where I am loved and love myself.

It's a place where I am sober.

And that is beautiful and profound.

Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to Me and to You!

Love,
Kary

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rainbows and Love



My conversation with my Co-Writer (God) on Friday afternoon:

Me: "Why?"

CW: "Because there is evil and pain in the world."

Me:  "How could you let children go through that?  How could you let them feel that much fear?"

CW:  "How could you ever believe I would?"

A few years ago a pastor from Nebraska, Todd Burpo, wrote about his four year old son, Colton's, account of his visit to heaven during surgery for a ruptured appendix.

Here are a few excerpts from the book, "Heaven Is For Real."

A year after Colton has recovered, the family is driving through the town where Colton was in the hospital.

"Do you remember the hospital, Colton?," his mother asked.

"Yes, Mommy, I remember," Colton replied, "That's where the angels sang to me."

After Colton's parents exchange looks of surprise and disbelief,

"What did they sing to you?"

"Well, they sang 'Jesus Loves Me' and 'Jesus Fought the Battle of Jericho," he said earnestly. "I asked them to sing 'We Will, We Will Rock You' but they wouldn't sing that."

"Colton, what did the angels look like?"

"Well, one of them looked like Grandpa Dennis, but it wasn't him, 'cause Grandpa Dennis has glasses."

Then he grew serious.  "Dad, Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared.  They made me feel better."

"You mean Jesus was there?"

My little boy nodded as though reporting nothing more remarkable than seeing a ladybug in the front yard. "Yeah, Jesus was there."

"Well, where was Jesus?"

Colton looked me right in the eye.  "I was sitting in Jesus' lap."

Several days or weeks later:

"Hey, Dad, did you know Jesus has a horse?"

"A horse?"

"Yeah, a rainbow horse. I got to pet him.  There's lots of colors."

"Where are there lots of colors, Colton?"

"In heaven, Dad.  That where all the rainbow colors are."

"You were in heaven?" I managed to ask.

"Well, yeah, Dad," he said, as if that fact should have been perfectly obvious.

When Colton's parents asked Colton what Jesus looked like he gives a description that most of us are familiar with, a man with brown hair and a beard dressed in brilliant white robes with a purple sash with one emphasis:

"And his eyes...oh, Dad his eyes are so pretty!"

For years the Burpos showed Colton images of Jesus, trying to find the perfect match, but one after another, Colton pronounced as "not right."  Then one day Todd Burpo heard about a young girl named Akiane Kramarik.  Akiane, an art prodigy, had begun having visions of heaven at the age of four and her descriptions closely matched Coltons.

"All the colors were out of this world," she said describing heaven.  "There are hundreds of millions of more colors we don't know yet."

When describing Jesus, Akiane said:

"He's pure.  He's very masculine, really strong and big.  And his eyes are just beautiful."

The truly amazing aspect of this story was that Akiane's mother was an atheist and that God was never discussed in the home, the family did not watch TV and Akiane was homeschooled.  Akiane had painted a portrait of the Jesus she had seen.






When Todd Burpo showed his son Akiane's portrait he asked,

"What's wrong with this one, Colton?" I said again.

Utter silence.

I nudged him in the arm, "Colton?"

My seven year old turned to look at me and said, "Dad, that one's right."

There was one very specific message that Colton was emphatic about sharing and he repeated it to his parents many times until his father finally said, "Colton, we get it."  Here is what the young boy so earnestly told his parents, over and over again.

"Hey Dad, Jesus told me to tell you, He really loves the children."

"Remember, Jesus really loves the children."

"Hey, Daddy don't forget," he'd say, garbling the words through a mouthful of toothpaste foam, "Jesus said he really, really loves the children!"

For me to reconcile that message the the events that took place Friday morning, instead of the tragic, heartbreaking images my mind will form from the television and internet reports, I have to try to see twenty  beautiful angels, their wings wrapped closely around to shield the children in their arms, their heads bowed, cheek to cheek, their lips to each small ear, singing softly, as they wing their way to a land of rainbows and love.

That's what I have to believe.

It's the only thing that makes sense.

Of course, my conversation with my Co-Writer wasn't that brief on Friday;

Me:  "I hate him."

CW:  "He is my child, too.  Forgive him."

Me:  "I can't do that."

CW:  "You have to."

Me:  "How?"

CW:  "Love.  That is the answer to all your questions."










Thursday, December 13, 2012

Frageelay!


In case you didn't notice, there was a new moon last night.  You probably didn't, I didn't until I went for my walk on the beach this morning and there was a lot more beach.  I don't keep track of tides anymore since I moved off the boat, I think I have a block or something about those years on the boat, the ones I remember anyway.  Those years on that boat accelerated and cemented my alcoholism, and the fact that the cap'n and I received an estimate yesterday that it was going to cost us another $25,000 dollars to get it marketable, again, is not making me any fonder of it.

But that is neither here nor there.

Back to the beach.

In addition to having a new moon low tide which gave me more beach to traverse, a norte' blew in last night which usually means great shells.  Now I swear I'm not a shell seeker, like the boat, it is another thing I'm done with.  I mean you can only do so much with seashells and when we bought this house it came with its own collection of bottles, and jars and bowls, and buckets full of shells because the previous owner couldn't think of anything else to do with them either. Plus I have a few Jack Daniels 1.75  bottles full of tiny shells that I rescued off the boat that are now residing in a storage shed in Colorado.



Convinced yet?  
Ok, one more.



Enough shells already, agreed? 

 Except... I'm still on a quest for one of those big honking shells about a meter long that my friends have and swear they've found on the same beach or that some fisherman has gifted them with one after he's become enamored with their stooped early morning  figures and ample derriers as they poke among the rocks.

So I set off in search of my own today.

I didn't find one.

But I did find something that I've found a few times on the various beaches I've combed and it never ceases to amaze me.

An unbroken light bulb.

Laying on the beach where a wave has tossed it, past the reefs and the ankle snapping rocky shore, as if a careful, steady hand has placed it there.

Safe at last.

My friends, that light bulb is you and me.  We've ridden the tumultuous wave and balanced precariously on its crest only to be pulled under and deluged time and again.  Rising and falling. Rising and falling.  Finally we've been cast onto the beach, crashing against the razor sharp reefs and jagged rocks, tumbling to rest on the soft sand.

Unbroken.

But we can never forget how fragile we are.  Please stay safe, don't get too close, don't let the tides suck you back out into the maelstrom.

The next wave might shatter you.






Sunday, December 9, 2012

Enough



I know that if I took the time to scroll back through my blogs, I'd find at least one that was titled "Enough".  It's funny how "enough" has cloaked itself in new meaning.  Back then, "enough" wore a dark cape of sickness and despair and self-loathing.  "Hadn't I had enough?" "Enough, already!" "Enough, I can't take this anymore!"

And now?

I woke up at about 5:00 am this morning, my bed was warm and snuggly but I wanted to get up and watch the sun come up.  I rolled over and gave the cap'n a kiss on the shoulder, there was a little tussle because he wanted me to stay in bed and "snuggle". (Snuggle has a lot of different meanings, too.)  But I persisted and jumped out of bed, gathered up Mr. Stanley and headed down stairs.

The birds were sending forth the first timid notes of the morning as I let Stanley out to do his business, it was still a little dark so I plugged in the Christmas tree lights.  I love Christmas tree lights.  I grabbed my rosary and headed down the steps to the beach.

The sand is cold and wet between my toes and there is just a faint pink hue over the buildings of Yucalpeten as I head east.  I am alone, except for the pelicans and tiny sandpipers that dart back and forth in a zig-zag as the waters of El Golfo lap in and then recede.  The purple beads of my rosary catch the faint morning light as they sway from my hand.

My Sunday rosary is supposed to be one of gratitude but I always manage to insert a few pleas in amongst the "thank you's".  Thank you, but please, could I have a little more, a little less, something different?

When I came to the decade of Hail Mary's that I was offering up in thanksgiving for my sobriety, I said, "Thank you for my sobriety, without it I have nothing, please will you continue to allow me to see it as the gift that it is so that I will always treasure it, so that I won't throw it away."

My Co-writer just shook his head and spread his hands and said, "Isn't this enough?  What more do you want?"

And I thought about my warm bed, my skirmish with the cap'n amongst the soft sheets, Mr. Stan's eager to see me (even if he is blind) wiggly body, the twinkly Christmas lights, the birdsong, the pink morning beach, the pelican bobbing in the waves, the kiss of cool dawn sea breeze on my cheek and the warmth of the rising sun on my shoulders.

Yes, it is enough.

Thank you.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Broken Trust






I think I told you all about my trip to the fancy hacienda about a month ago, the one that ended with us having to pull the van over to let a woman get out and get sick after a few margaritas.  While I relished telling you her story, I kind of forgot to tell you about my own faux paux.  That's the truth, I really did forget.

But I remember now.   The whole group was sitting out on the back terrace with the owner, we had been told that we would have lunch at 11:30 but now it was almost 2:30 and we still hadn't eaten, and worse, there had been no water offered since we arrived there two hours earlier.  Walking around a bamboo hacienda under the Yucatecan sun is thirsty work and it was no wonder that when the group was finally served something to drink, they guzzled it down, and it's no wonder, with nothing to eat or drink since early that morning, that they caught quite a quick buzz.

Me, with my rumless punch in hand, did not suffer these consequences.  An older man was sitting next to me and after two margaritas he decided it was necessito that he find the bano.  To get there, he had to work his way through the narrow passage between the couch we were sitting on and the table that held a wine glass that was precariously positioned on the corner of the table under which lay a big black lab that the man also had to step over.  It was quite an obstacle course, and the older man was probably not all that steady on his feet when he wasn't drinking, after two killer margaritas he was positively wobbly. I held my breath as I watched him make his way past the wine glass.

Whew! He made it. He even bent down to scratch the dog's head.

Now it was my turn because my own rumless punches had found their way to my 50 year old bladder and I was a little afraid that one of the drunks might do something to make me giggle and we know what happens to 50 year old bladders when we giggle.  They don't hold.

I gingerly made my way down the narrow passage and over the dog, I thought I was in the clear, so I swung to the left in the direction of the banos.  Crash!  The damn wine glass crashes to the stone floor and breaks into a million little pieces (Thank you James Frey).

My damn bag caught it when I swung left.

I was so embarrassed, but the owner quickly reassured me that it happened all the time and not to worry and, hell, he owns a freakin' hacienda, he sure wasn't going to miss one little wine glass.  He told me to forget it and I did.

If I had been one of my fellow guests who had had a couple of magaritas, I'd still be carrying the memory of that broken glass with me and it's jagged little pieces would still be cutting me every time I thought about that trip. That trip would have become all about that broken wine glass.

But because I wasn't drinking, I could let it go.  It was an accident.

I only remembered that incident today because I broke something much more fragile, something irreplaceable.  I broke someone's trust.  Just like that broken wine glass, it was a total accident, a momentary lapse of thought.  Absence of thought.  I didn't take the care I should have, I didn't protect it as I should have.

My one small comfort is that I wasn't drinking.

This is the season when many relationships are fractured, some are destroyed.  All it takes is a careless word swung the wrong way.  We think that booze makes us braver, smarter, wittier but all it does is take away our control.  It causes lapses. Lapses of judgement.  Lapses of thought. Lapses of care. I'd like to take up SoberMomRock's call, Just Put Down The Glass, for this season, give yourself the peace of knowing that nothing or no one was broken or destroyed because you were drinking.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chasing My Own Tail



This video reminds me of me when I was drinking, especially the warning at the end about keeping "the girl" away from hard objects. LOL


I'm busy chasing my ass these days trying to wind up the toy drive and get ready for Santa's visit to Chelem so I'm going to cheat on my blog and post some responses that I have posted on the message boards in the last couple of days. They pretty much sum up my life these days.  This first one is to a woman who posted on the mmabsers board about her discomfort in social situations while not drinking.  In her posts she said, "I'm not like Kary May who can go out with her drinking friends and still have fun."

Maggie, I'd like to clarify or re-evaluate my position on going out and having "fun" with the drinking buds.

I think in my first year of sobriety I was so focused on getting through everything without drinking and trying to prove to myself and everybody else that I could do it and that I hadn't changed, I was still the same "fun and frolic" Kary May that I'd always been. When I made it through those situations, I thought, "Wow, I made it through, my life hasn't really changed, I just don't drink anymore."


I was still trying to be "on" all the time.


Now that I'm in my second year of sobriety the focus has shifted and it's not just about getting through life without drinking. The novelty of me not drinking has worn off for both me and my friends. I'm no longer Kary May who used to be a drunk, now I'm just a person who doesn't drink. I am finding most social events awkward and I feel stiff and boring when it comes to meeting new people. I know that the "drinkers" I meet are going to think the same of me. That still bothers me a little. I still like hanging out with my friends but I know that when they are in the mood to really hang one on, I'm not their first choice to hang with and I still feel left out. Plus, I have the cap'n to deal with who wants to stay and really hang one on with them when I'm ready to go home.

I've always known that I prefer solitude and I drank to overcome that, I can't do that anymore so maybe it's time to quit trying to convince myself that I still need to be the social butterfly I used to be.
My previous 30 years were all about drinking, last year was all about not drinking and this year and the rest of my life is all about figuring out how I want to live my life. It's not all sh$#s and grins, but it's life.
This is the second response I wrote to a post from a member on the Moderation Management message board who was trying to complete a "30", but was having difficulty with a business partner and wanted to blow her "30" and head to the liquor store.  For those of you who didn't attempt moderation on your way to sobriety, a "30" is 30 days of abstaining from drinking in an attempt to reset your drinking attitude and reintroduce you to a life without drinking.  My many unsuccessful attempts at a "30" were what convinced me that permanent abs was the life for me.

I am exactly where you are. Once more I have bitten off more than I can chew and I only have myself to blame. I am very involved in a toy drive down here in Mexico, ok, to put it bluntly, I'm the head MF in charge because no one else will step up to the plate. This weekend we are having a home tour and, of course, I put my home on the list to be toured and I am about to pull my hair out. Just had some construction done and we ordered tile that was supposed to be in 5 weeks ago, every week it has been, "Saturday the truck will be here." Yesterday I checked again and "Hallelujah, the tile is here!" But it's the wrong tile!!!!! I'm so sick of hearing, "This is Mexico, get used to it."
***Paragraph deleted due to excessive bitching.
I have wanted a drink more this week than I have since the first weeks I quit drinking. But I can't have one and that is all there is to it. No arguing and no bargaining or pleading, no "just this once" or "I'll do my 30 next month". That's the difference between moderating and absing. You chose to abs this month, you have to take drinking off the bargaining table. Next month or the month after that is not going to be any easier.
I have to keep reminding myself that my problems are "1st world" problems (I stole that term from my friend SoberMomRocks) and down here I live among people that can't even dream of having 1st world problems, they're too busy trying to survive.
I also have to remind myself how thankful I am to have these problems, three years ago I didn't have them.  I was too busy drinking my life away. 
We can do this!

**** Sorry for the shitty cut and paste job on the earlier blog, hopefully it makes a little more sense now.  I think I've caught my tail and managed to shove my head up my ass. LOL!
 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgivings







My dad loved this picture, it hung in his dining room for years.  He liked the simpleness of the man, the flannel work shirt, the furrowed brow, the work roughened hands and the simple meal.  Dad liked to point out that as little as the man seemed to have he still took the time to be thankful.

I get your message, Dad.

Thanksgiving Day is almost done and I'm tired but I think it would be remiss of me to not come here and try to express my gratitude on this day, it's the least I can do, unlike the man in the picture, I have so much.  But having more does not make my gratefulness a more splendid thing, gratitude is worth more when you have less because it is a pure thankfulness, it's not borne by worldly things or possessions, it is borne by grace.

It is a thankfulness for just being given one more day, one more meal, one more chance to do good, to do better, to do more, to become closer to God.

Thank you God, for another chance to hear the soft dawn birdsong as a pink blush steals over the lavender shadows of my garden wall, and thank you also for the cacophony of the grackles that rises from barren branches of winter trees at dusk.

Thank you for the softness of my granddaughter's curls as I bury my nose in the baby powder scent them, and the way my grandson ducks his head away when I try to do the same to him. "Ah, Grandma cut it out, I'm too big for that."  But then he lays his head on my shoulder as I read to him and I'm able to rub my cheeks against his bristly burr cut and just for a little bit longer he's not too big.

Thank you for the look of pride in my husband's eyes when he tells others, "I don't know what I'd do without her." and the sincerity in my son's voice when he says, "I miss you."

Thank you for the ability to once again answer a friends plea, "I need you."

Thank you for giving me back me.

Mine is a thankfulness borne by my sobriety. Without it, I have nothing.

Happy Thanksgiving My Friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pammie?

Does anybody know if Pammie of Sobriety Is Exhausting is okay?  She was the first blog I found oh so many years ago when I first started looking for answers to my drinking problem.  It was a long time before I did anything about it, but I still read her blog.  She's been sick but she hasn't posted in several weeks.  I know that some of her other long time followers must know something because they aren't on her blog nagging for news like I am.

If you read this and you know something can you just say she is okay, no details necessary.

Thanks,
Kary

Friday, November 16, 2012

Looking Into The Gift Horse's Mouth

Anybody else having problems uploading pics to blogspot?  Grrr!

Oh well.

I stopped in at our little church here in Chelem, as I usually do when I take my morning walk down to the mercado.  I don't know how long I sat there contemplating my little complicated universe, but all of a sudden I noticed that Mary was missing.  If you know anything about Catholicism, you know that we hold the mother of Jesus in high regard and there is usually a special place of honor for her in any church.  Here in Mexico, there's usually more than one, in fact, and this might be considered sacrilege, I think the Mexicans may rank Guadalupe even higher on the old totem pole.  After all she is the madre and he is only the mijo.

In our little church one of the Mary's resides in a little glass enclosed alcove directly under the crucifix and this morning she was gone.  Vanisho! (I know that's not a word, but I still have the gringo habit of putting an "o" at the end of English words to make them Spanish.)  I hope that someone has taken her out of her home to clean her or give her a new wardrobe of pintura, I would hate to think that some banditos absconded with her.

But it reminded me of a story I once heard of a little boy who was writing a letter about the shiny new bike he wanted for Christmas.  He was too old to believe in Santa Claus, and even if he hadn't been, this bike was too important to him to plead his case to some fly-by-night salesman in a tacky red jacket and a boozers nose. 

No, he was cutting out the middle man and going straight to the top.  Jesus!

So he sat up in his room at his desk pondering and erasing, pondering and erasing, trying to come up with the most convincing letter he could compose.  One that would convince Jesus how necessary this bike was to him.

After many lackluster attempts, he hit upon an idea.  He jumped up from his seat and he padded down the stairs to the little shrine that his mother always kept for the Virgin Mary.

He looked both ways and then he grabbed Mary and ran up the stairs.

When he got upstairs he sat back down at his desk and he sat the statue of the Virgin Mary in front of him. He picked up his pencil and he wrote.....

      Dear Jesus,
      If you ever want to see your mother again......

That little story pretty well describes what I've been doing and where I'm at.

As most of you know, this time of year my time is consumed with obtaining over 800 toys for the ninos de Chelem for Christmas, and trying not to step on anyone's toes or piss someone off while doing it.  You wouldn't think getting toys for kids would piss people off, but believe me, it does.

I know this is getting long but hold on just a little while longer, it will be worth it.

Right before I left the states I wrote a letter to a major merchandise company asking them to donate an item for one of the raffles that we hold to raise money for the toys we give away.  Notice that I didn't ask for toys, that is because we've already ordered our toys for this year, now we need the money to pay for them. (Don't worry, we have most of it).

I didn't hear anything for weeks and had forgotten all about my letter (it was an actual letter, not an email) then one day I opened my email and there were two emails from this company asking for my phone number.  I no sooner pressed send and RRRRIIINNNNGGG!

Somehow the letter that I had sent to this company in California had ended up in the hands of the woman in charge of distributorship of all of Mexico and somehow this woman is from Merida and harbors an undying affection for the Yucatan.

But she regrets to inform me that they cannot donate the outdoor furniture, bbq grill, or red scooter (Yes, I was that specific) for my rifa (raffle) but they'd still like to help us somehow. 

They want to give us the Freaking Toys!!!

Okay, but we already have toys sitting in a warehouse waiting for us to pay for them and of course the warehouse belongs to this company's arch rival and they have been working with us all year and are promising us a substantial discount.

As they say in Mexico, "Tranquillo"  Don't worry, we'll figure out something to do with all these freaking toys.  I'm certainly not going to turn them down.

So yesterday the manager of marketing in the Merida store calls and says, "We have all your toys ready. We have X number of toy cars, we have X  number of Disney Princess Dolls...all we need is your recibo de deducible puestos and they're yours.

Our what?

I knew there had to be a catch.  We are not a Mexican recognized charity, there is no way we can get one of those recibo things anytime soon.  Fart!!!

But there's no way in hell those toys were given to us to be taken away.  So here's my plan.  I have emailed a "real" charitable organization in Merida that is affiliated with the United Nations that helps children with cerebral palsy.  Basically I sent them a letter much akin to the one the little boy in the above story wrote.

   "I'll share my toys but you gotta share your recibo.  Or else Fuhgeddaboudit!

If they can't partner with us, we'll go to one of the orphanages down here.  Either way we'll find someone to help us and a lot more kids will be getting toys for Christmas. Ain't it funny how things turn out?

 That's what I've been up to.

And You?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9

Day 9 of Gratitude that is!  Did I scare anybody?  Ja ja ja ! (That's how we say Ha Ha Ha down here in Mexico since the j sounds like an h)

I'm not planning on listing what I'm grateful for everyday but I had to share this one.

Today I'm grateful for this blog and all the other sober blogs out there.  Yesterday I went back through my earlier posts looking for something that I'd written that would comfort, help, say "I've been there" for someone that had relapsed on one of the message boards I follow.  As I read through those earlier posts of mine I was touched by the amount of thought and feeling I put into those posts and this morning as I was taking my walk on the beach I started asking myself if I was still taking the time to put meaning in my posts, to ask myself what I had to offer that might be what someone else needed to hear or was I just writing a blog because I felt obligated to write something.

If so, maybe it was time to quit.

But you know what?  In the last two days I have gone back to spending my usual amount of time on the blogsites and the message boards and I felt as if I found what I've been missing for the last few weeks, I found the support and comfort I've gotten so used to.  I didn't know I needed it so much.  But I do.

Yesterday I started reading a blog that SoberMom recommended to me,  The Act Of Returning To Normal , and once more I've found someone that is a kindred soul, another woman that seems to be living in my head and in my heart.  I know that I am going to learn things from this blog that are going to make a difference in my life and that are going to help me cope with the struggles I am going through right now with the capn's drinking.

Just about the time I think I don't have enough time to read another blog, my Co-Writer says, "Oh yes you do.

Thank you God, thank you me, and thank you guys.  These blogs have meaning and these blogs are life-changing for us and the people that read them.

Love you guys!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mary, Full Of Grace

This is my Mary here in the Yucatan.

The title above is kind of a half-truth.  I am Mary (Come on, surely by now you've figured out that my real name is Mary), but I'm still working on the full of grace part.

I removed my previous "negative ad" but I want to thank all of you for your very caring and concerned comments.  It means a lot.  I want to assure everyone that I have had no urge to drink, if anything the exact opposite, witnessing the effects of alcohol on others and seeing a person you love transform on a daily basis into someone that you cannot tolerate, does a pretty convincing job of proving to me that booze is the last thing I want these days.  
 I'm grateful for that.

It seems for the last two weeks all I've been able to concentrate on, waste my energy on, sacrifice my joy for is the one negative aspect of my life right now.  I need to shift my focus to those things that are good in my life. 

There are so many.

I've noticed that a lot of people are doing the daily gratitude thing for the month of November and I think I need to catch up.  Today is November 8 so here are 8 things I am grateful for.

1.  I am grateful for my sobriety, which is like a new gift I get to open every morning and which          without I would be having a hard time coming up with 8 things to be grateful for this afternoon and not a single one of them would be possible, they'd still be desperate prayers.

2.  I am grateful for a husband who if I turned to him right now and said, "I think I'd like to become an astronaut" he'd say, "Go for it.  You can do it.  What do you need from me?"
3.  I am grateful for a phone call from my youngest son who says he can't wait to see me at Christmas.  He misses me.  
4.  I am grateful that once again people have confidence in me, and more importantly, that I have confidence in myself.
5.  I am grateful for friends and family that have loved me through my lost years and still love me.
6.  I am grateful that once again I have something to give others that is valuable and that I am proud of.  Myself.
7.  I am grateful for my parents that gave me a strong faith in God and love, I wouldn't have made it through without it or them.
8.  I am grateful for those that went before me, those that walk along side me, and those that follow me on this tortuous journey, you keep me on the path.

Love you guys,
A very Grateful, but not entirely graceful, Kary/Mary


Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Mexico

 I thought you'd like to see what my part of Mexico looked like.  This is a video that a couple of my friends made.

It ain't Cancun or Cozumel.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Heading South

I'm actually going to keep this short this morning because the cap'n is pacing, he's been pacing all morning.  Is anybody else married to someone the incrementally shortens the time you have to get ready as time passes?  An hour ago I had an hour and a half to get ready, thirty minutes ago I had an hour to get ready, now I have ten minutes.  Arrgh!!  Anyway since I never know what my interenet capabilities are going to be when I get down there, the provider may have gone out of business, the bandits may have stolen all the copper wire to my electricity, my deposit on my internet may have run out and nobody picked up the notice that the company threw over the gate into the yard (they refuse to use the mailbox for some reason).  I will post as soon as I can.

Here's the cap'n again so I'm going to paste what I said on a message board this morning.

I am leaving for Mexico this morning, I'll be there for the winter, just like I have for the last 4 winters and last night I was sitting in this hotel room thinking, "Where's the celebration? How do I celebrate without drinking?" I have been perm abs for 400+ days and I'm still asking these questions. I hope in a year or two that maybe I'll forget I was ever a drinker. But the fact is, sobriety is life without the "fix" of alcohol. I have to feel sad and bored and angry and nervous and disappointed...and I don't get to temporarily "fix" it with alcohol. But I do get to feel contentment, joy, pride and peace and I no longer got to feel those things, even temporarily, when I was drinking. So it's worth it, but still there are times I think I'm missing something. Of course there are. That's life.
Vaya Con Dios, Mi Amigos!
Kary

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Winning!


Yesterday I went to buy lottery tickets, the cap'n and I argued back and forth about it being a waste of money but you can't win if you don't play and somebody has to win and this is the last time we'll have a chance to win since we're heading to Mexico on Tuesday.

So we decided to try our luck one more time, but we decided to cutback on our wager a little and only spend $20.00, $10.00 for Lotto and $10.00 for Powerball, instead of the $30.00 we'd been spending since the price of Powerball doubled. 

First, I had to cash in our winning ticket from Wednesday night. $4.00 Woo-Hoo!  And then I told the cashier I wanted 10 on Lotto and 10 on Powerball.  Well, the girl heard 10 "of" Powerball and gave me $20 worth of numbers.  Of course, this is a sign and if I correct the girl and tell her to redo the numbers, she'll keep these numbers or dig them out of the trash later and they'll be the winning numbers and she'll be able to quit her job and spend her days buying things off of QVC, instead of me.

If I keep the tickets, I'll still lose but she won't win.  So I kept the tickets.

Today I was filling up my bathtub, I'm loading up on baths because I don't get to take them in Mexico.  I have a bathtub down there which is about the size of the city kiddy pool I used to go to when I was little but I only have a 5 gallon hot water heater.  What's up with that?  Mexicans aren't real big on hot water.  I'm not sure they even sell 40 or 50 gallon water heaters down there.  Just like belle was talking about in her blog today on Tired of Thinking About Drinking, when you live in a foreign place you start thinking of ways to make it "better" which usually means you're trying to make it just like the place you just "escaped from."  If I were to open a little gringo emporium down in Mexico, I would stock it with 50 gallon water heaters, crunchy taco shells and Yankee Candles.

Once more I have wandered off and stalwartly (I need to look this word up, it could mean to go about without personal regard for pungent toe fungus or mutant belly button hairs, for all I know.) ignored any rules of punctuation.

Ahem.  Today I was filling up my bathtub and adding my watery, cheap bubble bath and I thought, "If I win the lottery I'm going to buy me some really nice bubble bath, no more Suave or Western Family (that's our local store brand), I'm going to really splurge and buy Calgon.

Then I let my lofty dreams really "take me away."

If I win the lottery I'll build a big Frank Loyd Wright kind of  house up on the rise to the side of this house but I'll keep this one just for the grandkids to hang out in and I'll connect it with all kinds of stone and wood walkways like Nora Roberts' house that I saw on Sunday Morning a couple of weeks ago.

Then I'll buy shiny new bikes for all the kids in our little village in Mexico for Christmas.  If you guys haven't been following my blog for long you probably don't know that I turn into an elf when I head down to Mexico.  I'm very involved with the toy drive for our village and this is the time of year I have to go around and beg for money and I hate it.  So I'd just buy the bikes myself and be done with it.  BTW, if you notice an elf leaving comments on your blogs, that means I'm signed into the wrong account.

Then I'll build me a traditional Bahamian house with views of both the Sea of Abaco and the Atlantic Ocean in Hope Town, Abacos, Bahamas because that's where I belong, I just can't afford to live there.

And of course, my kids and grandkids will be set-up in grand style.  That goes without saying.

But you know what?  While I was dreaming all these dreams I had the thought, "If I won the lottery and I had all of this and I was still drinking, I'd still be miserable."

I'd rather be sober and happy.

And win the lottery.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

For The Most Part



I just took a big step and shared this on my facebook page with the comment "400 Days".  I don't know why I think it's such a big step, most everybody that has been around me in the last year already knows that I no longer drink, and most of those know how bad I drank before.  It will be old news for them.  As far as the people it will be new news for?  Does it really matter to me if someone I haven't seen since high school finds out I'm an alcoholic and haven't drank in 400 day? How about the friends that knew me when I was living on the boat?  They are all probably very skeptical, but that doesn't matter to me either.

But it might matter to one of them.  One of them may say, "OMG! If Kary May can quit drinking, than I can quit. 

So that's why I posted it.

I won't be surprised if I don't get any comments, let's face it, "they" really don't know how to react to such a proclamation.  Are they supposed to congratulate you on being an alcoholic?

And on that score, let's talk about Crying Out Now 's recent post about changing the word alcoholic from "bad" to "brave."  For the most part, I agree with everything that is stated in the article.  It is time to put a new face on the face of alcoholism.  If Brad Pitt can be the new face of Chanel 5 maybe we could get George Clooney to sell sobriety.  Hell, I'll buy anything that man is selling.  Of course, we may have a hard time getting George to drink the kool-aid.

Or maybe we should just put our own faces out there because they are the real faces of alcoholism.  And they're beautiful like those faces in the above video.

Now for the part I didn't agree with.  I don't agree with the statement "I don't think that one can stay sober long term completely online."  I don't believe that's true.  I believe that right now is just the advent of people finding support for their various recoveries from their various addictions through the internet and I believe the numbers are going to grow.  And has been the case in other areas of internet support whether it be banking, shopping or filing taxes the ease and convenience and, especially in the case of recovery services, the anonymity is going to attract people away from traditional f2f programs and it's going to attract those that would never consider a traditional 12 step, face to face program, whatever their reasons or biases be.

 It's the future.

 Is this a better way?

 I don' know, but it's another way.

And I believe we all have to find our own way.

There will always be a need for the traditional 12 step, face-to-face programs for some.

But now there are other ways for others.

I believe we should celebrate all of our different and converging roads to sobriety and I believe we should  help others find their own paths instead of insisting that they follow ours.  Sometimes it is impossible for someone else to follow in our footsteps, does that mean they should not be allowed to take the journey?

Is there something missing in a program that does not provide physical contact with a live human being?  I think we have to acknowledge that, yes, of course there is.  An internet connection can't take the place of a hug or a shoulder to cry on.  However, is it possible to find sobriety without the support of another breathing human being to lean on?  Of course. People have being getting sober on their own since way before AA was formed, perhaps now these people  have a means of viable support.  Nobody has to go it alone anymore.

Maybe the new face of a recovery programs is a face in front of a computer screen sharing her story with hundreds of people on various message boards or blogs.  Maybe the new face of sponsorship is someone answering a text from someone across the globe that says, "Help!"

Let's all respect our respective paths to sobriety.

Monday, October 15, 2012

One Step In Front Of The Other



From the book:  The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Controlling Versus Trust:  October 14

There was a time in my life when I felt so afraid of and overwhelmed by the very act of living that I actually wanted to make out a schedule for each day of my life for the next five years.  I wanted to include all the chores I had to do, when I would do them, even when I would schedule relaxation.  I wanted to get some order into what felt overwhelming.  I wanted to feel like I was in control.  
------Anonymous

       Controlling is a direct response to our fear, panic, and sense of hopelessness.  It is a direct response to feeling overwhelmed, and to distrust.

     We may not trust ourselves, our Higher Power, the Plan, the Universe, or the process of life.  Instead of trusting, we revert to control.

     We can approach this need to control by dealing with our fear.  We deal with fear by trusting--ourselves, our Higher Power, the love and support of the Universe, the Plan, and this process we call life and recovery.  

     We can trust that when things don't work out the way we want, God has something better planned.

     We can trust ourselves to get where we need to go, say what we need to say, do what we need to do, know what we need to know, be who we need to be, and become all we can become,  when we are intended to do that, when we are ready, and when the time is right..

     We can trust our Higher Power and the Universe to give us all the direction we need.

     We can trust ourselves to listen, and respond, accordingly.

      We can trust that all we need on this journey shall come to us.  We will not get all we need for the entire journey today.  We shall receive today's supplies today, and tomorrow's supplies tomorrow.  We were never intended to carry supplies for the entire journey.  The burden would be too heavy, and the way was intended to be light.

      Trust in yourself.  We do not have to plan, control and schedule all things.  The schedule and plan have been written.  All we need to do is show up.

     The way will become clear and the supplies will be amply and clearly provided, one day at a time.

     Trust, my friend, in today.

    Today, I will trust that I will receive all I need to get me through today.  I will trust that the same shall happen tomorrow.

Okay, it's me Kary back at the helm.  Two years ago the reading above would have been so much bullshit to me, it would have been overwhelmingly overwhelming  and depressing for me to read, I was so far from being able to grasp even a particle of control, much less try to take control over anything.

There is a hallway in my cabin, it is about 25 feet long. In the height of my multi-hangover/withdrawals it was all I could do to get up and walk down that hallway and back to the couch.  Believe me, just making it through the day was overwhelming to me.

I am never going back there.  I am not going to turn around.

I am on this path, and I may not be able to see what is around the bend in front of me, but it is enough for me to know that I'm on the right path.









 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Playing Hookie, Hooky?


A year ago sometime off from writing this blog would have definitely signaled a relapse (cue card: round mouth horror from the audience), but not this time.  Nope, just feeling lazy and not receiving any transmissions from my Co-writer (cue card: collective looks of skepticism) so I'm taking the rest of the week off.  So mark my blog off of your "to-read" list for the next few days (cue card: collective sighs of relief).  But don't worry, if I get any awesome inspiring revelations (cue card: collective eye rolling), I'll be sure and let you know.

Enjoy the rest of this week.  Kary

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fluffy Stuff


There's the view from the ridge off to the side of my cabin this morning and that's about how my head feels, all kinds of fluffy winter wool has gathered there but it melts away before I can get my hands around it.  I'm left sitting here at 11:30 am in my nightclothes and bed hair, scrubbing my hands over my face trying to form a snowball of a thought.

It wasn't that way yesterday, yesterday my head was brimming with valuable tidbits to share, but of course, yesterday I didn't have time to write a blog, so I jotted down some notes about the snowflakes that were whirling around in my brain yesterday.  I never do this, jot things down, that is, because usually by the time I sit down to write a blog, all the blogs that have formed in my head throughout the day or week before seem pointless and sometimes downright ridiculous.

But since this morning's fluff is not abating, I'll try to conjure something up from yesterday's scribbles.

Here's the first one:

"Feeling Mystical"  You've got to be fucking kidding me.  Okay, if I recall this one came about when I knocked a little wooden sailboat off of its perch where I had placed it 8 years ago when the cap'n and I were still holding onto the lines of our sailboat, where we had lived for 12 years, and trying to keep that dream afloat while also admitting that maybe it was time to let it go.  That's when we bought this cabin.  We continued to split our time between here and the boat until we bought the house in Mexico and we put the boat on the market.  It's still there.  On the market.  Four years later. So yesterday when that tiny sailboat fell from it's shelf I was hoping it was a message from beyond that the f'ing boat (our pet name )had finally been sold and we were going to be able to let go of it completely, finally.  Or it could mean that the f'ing boat fell off its jacks and has extensive damage for which we no longer carry insurance.

"Perfume for Attie" Ah, I like this one.  My daughter-in-law is visiting her mother in Denver and she has my granddaughter, Atalie Jolene, with her.  We made arrangements to meet for lunch yesterday and that is why I didn't have time to write a blog.  As I was getting ready, I spritzed on my perfume.  I only wear one perfume and it is Giorgio's Beverly Hills.  I started wearing it more than 25 years ago when my mother gave me a bottle that someone had bought for her.  "It doesn't smell good on me," she said.  Through the years I've had several people ask me "what are you wearing" and when I reply that it's Giorgio's they always say, "I tried that and it didn't smell good on me."  One time when I walked into a shop in Key West the shopkeeper said, "My God, what are you wearing? You smell dee-vine."  When a gay guy tells you, you smell dee-vine, you better keep wearing what you're wearing.  I hope whenever my granddaughter smells Giorgio's, remember smell is the biggest trigger for memories, it brings back happy memories of me.

"Jodi Piccoult-the dream"  I had my first drinking dream in a long time the other night, actually it was more of a hangover dream.  I actually dreamed what a hangover feels like.  Ugh, thanks for the memory.  When I mentioned the dream during mmabsers chat the other night, someone asked me if I thought this meant anything.  I immediately got defensive and said, "No, I'm not having any urges or anything."  But when I was laying in the tub yesterday re-reading a Jodi Piccoult book there was this line, "When we're awake, we see what we need to see.  When we're asleep, we see what's really there."  Maybe that dream was a warning, maybe I'm getting too complacent, maybe I need to keep doing the work, maybe I need to work harder.  Maybe I needed to revisit my past to remind myself not to forget how lost I was.

"Puzzle Pieces"  This is the thought that struck me as really inspired yesterday.  Today? Mmm, not so much.  I was actually thinking of you, my fellow bloggers, and my fellow members of the message boards I am involved in and I was thinking that sometimes we may get discouraged and others may seem to say what we want to say so much better and so much more succinctly than us, but then I had this thought that sobriety (and life, for that matter) is like a big jigsaw puzzle and we are each holding a piece of the puzzle and someone out there is looking for that exact piece that we are holding to make their puzzle complete, or at least enable them to see more fully what the whole picture is going to look like so they can go look for that next piece.  So don't get discouraged, someone's looking for what you have to offer.  Someone needs to hear what you have to say.

"The Rosary" My brother reminded me that October is the month of Mary and the Rosary so I've been saying a rosary everyday this month. My brother says he remembers our mom, Ruth, corralling all of us Hickey kids into the living room every night of October to say the rosary, he said it was like herding cats.  I don't remember saying the rosary every night, but I do remember kneeling in front of the green crushed velvet rocker that was my designated kneeling station and making pretty shapes out of my rosary beads.

  Clearer in my mind are the terrifying nights of withdrawal when I counted out the Hail Mary's on my fingers and begged for help, as my brother says, in one word, holymarymotherofGodprayforussinnersnowandatthehourofourdeathamen.

It is so much better to sit in my old cherrywood rocker, pulled up to the front door so I can see the birds squabble over their breakfast, and run those familiar comforting beads through my fingers.

So thankful that she listened.



Monday, October 1, 2012

Mike






A couple of years ago, I was sitting in a bar down in Mexico, imagine that, it was our usual Friday afternoon crowd and we were starting to get our loud on.  I was already starting to try and "manage" my drinking, hell, I'd been trying to manage it since I started.  Sitting smack dab in the middle of the empty Modelo cans and full ashtrays sat this man, Mike, quietly sipping his Diet Pepsi and laughing with good nature about the ribbing he was getting for providing some extra, um...chum on a recent fishing trip. I knew of this man, I'd never met him, but you know how we are when we are at that point in our drinking, so sick of ourselves, so desperate for any message of hope, constantly looking for someone to throw us a  lifeline.  Someone must have whispered in my ear once, "You know he's an alcoholic. Bad.  Real big in AA." I know now that Mike would never have wanted someone whispering those things in my ear, he would have wanted them to holler those words loud enough for the whole bar to hear.  He repeated those same words to me just a few minutes later, when I'd worked up enough courage and had enough bourbon in me to wiggle my way into a seat across from him.  He told me about his drinking, how bad it was, he told me about going to the hospital with severe pancreatitis and telling the doctor there, "You know I drink" and she said, "I know" and he said, "I drink a lot." and she said, "I know." He told me about going to rehab and he told me about his life in AA.

He told me he'd been sober 18 years.  He told me about how damn good his life is.  The joy and the disbelief in his good fortune radiated in his quiet smile and in every word he spoke.

He told me about Hope.

Mike passed away about a week ago and I wrote his wife, Lynette.  I'd already told her about mine and Mike's conversation in that bar and what it had meant to me, on my one year sober anniversary, Mike was in the hospital and I asked her to tell him, "Thank you."  The day before yesterday, I wrote her and told her how I had always looked at her and Mike's marriage as one of those star-struck lucky ones.  That she was blessed.  This is the lovely and hope-filled message she wrote me back.


You are such a sweetheart for sending me this note. You have no idea how much it means to me.
Mike and I used to talk about that other kind of marriage, the same-space forced-proximity too-financially-tangled-up-to-escape kind. We were so, so lucky. No, I would never have wanted to miss out on 20 years of my sweetheart to escape the tough times in those two decades, or heartbreak in the end. I am glad that you have found that kind of love too. We are blessed, Kary.
This is something that I wrote for Mike's funeral. It was such a good service, lots of AA people there, and no preaching. The man who led the thing was one of Mike's oldest friends in AA and he shared personal stories about Mike's impact on others that were just lovely.
If you have to have a funeral, it was a great one.

"Mike and I went to a poker game together after a Friday night AA meeting, the night before our first real date. Close to midnight, he dealt the last hand of five card draw. I picked up my cards to find my first ever royal flush ~ in hearts. The odds of that are about one in a million. When I raked in the biggest pot of the night, Mike looked at me across the table with that beautiful smile, and said "alright, babe!" I took a big chunk of his money that night, and he laughed about it. Something about his happiness in my good fortune made me think at that moment that he was the one.

And he was. Mike and I were perfect together from the start. We had a one-in-a-million, royal flush kind of life together. He made me laugh every single day and his warmth and love were as constant as the sun and the waves of that green ocean he loved, even in the hardest times.One of the last things Mike said to a friend, just after he'd awakened in ICU, a week before he died, was this: "I am blessed." He was blessed and he knew it. And I was blessed to have 20 years with him. Though people tell me life goes on,

It's impossible to imagine a life without my sweetheart, without that smart, funny, happy, man to share the days with. I will miss him the rest of my life."One day at a time, Kary. I know there's a next life coming up and I can't imagine what it will hold. It will be different, I know that. And I wish he were here, but I know that he is now healthy and free of illness and ... well, I'd say peaceful and happy, but no matter how sick he became, he was always peaceful and happy. :-)smile

In the ICU, he saw something incredible over my left shoulder, something that lit up his face and stunned him. What was it? I don't know, but next he said "The door closed," and three days later he was out on the regular floor at the hospital when he said, very matter-of-factly, I'm going to die. He knew. He also saw what was coming for a moment, and it thrilled him. He spent the next day with this amazing smile on his face saying over and over again "wow!" He was just recovering his verbal ability at that point. I wish he could have told me more about what he saw, but things work out the way they're supposed to. He's in a good place and I am grateful for that

.and now I've just yakked your ear off!! Thank you again for writing. What a gift you gave me this morning. hugs, lynette

Mike, buddy, you're still sending me messages of Hope.  Thank you.  Kary

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tonight I'm Having Brussel Sprouts


Okay, I think I should get the award for blogger that spends the most time dicking around on the internet when she's supposed to be blogging.  No kidding, I sat down at 8:00 am this morning to write this blog and now it is 2:00 pm.  There's always one more thing I need to check, or voice my opinion about, or read about what somebody thought about my opinion and then the sun is shining so I better get a walk in before it clouds up and maybe I should have some lunch, this shirt is too scratchy, I should change it, I should light a candle and make it smell good in here, where's my gum? I wonder if anyone has responded to my post on fb yet, I'll just check it one more time.....

I am in awe of you bloggers that post everyday while you have real jobs and family to take care of, I don't know how you find the time, obviously a lot less dicking around than I do.

Anyway, on one of my "breaks" today I took Stanley, the blind killer bichon out for some exercise.  He's probably 18 years old and I think he needs to get out and use what he's got left so he doesn't lose it, even if he bumps into things and his back legs kind of go caddywompus on him these days.  I was talking about Stanley to some of my co-workers a couple of weeks ago and one of them (my ex-sister-in-law, if you can imagine) said, "If he's that bad off, why don't you just put him down?"  I spluttered and sputtered, hopefully some of it landed on her, and replied, "He's been blind so long, he doesn't even remember what it's like to see. Other than that he's fine."

Today, whilst dicking around, I was reading posts on the Moderation Management List and the topic came up again about what to do with all that time we used to fill with drinking and I was reminded of my conversation about Stanley, it's as if alcohol put a blindfold on us or those things that racehorses wear so that we can't see anything out there but the booze and after awhile we forget that there were other things out there.

Here is my reply to the post: (Wait a minute, I've got to go back to the list and get it and who knows what I'll find over there that demands my attention or opinion and there will probably be a little notification number on my fb tab and I'll have to go check who just won some stupid ass totally make believe prize in Slingo Slotfest because I keep getting notifications even though I've blocked all content from that user.)  BRB

Ah, here it is,

Oh Jann
This just says it all. It echoes a post that was on the mmabsers board a few days ago in which Pepper said she felt like a 6th grader again with a new found level of interest and joy. I replied, Enthusiasm, I missed you.
In the short term, filling those hours that we used to spend drinking seems impossible, we all refer to it as a void, but what we don't realize is that it's not the absence of drinking that creates that void, it was our drinking that created it, our drinking that took over all of that space that used to be filled with such worthwhile things.
So when you quit or slow down, your looking at this big hole that you have to fill, but if you just hang on, your heart and your brain starts to heal and they start reminding you of what you used to love to do, or they goad you into doing what you always wanted to do. If you let them, if you don't sit around just staring into that f'ing hole thinking the only thing that will fill it up is booze.
I replied on a blog with the same message about new found interests (we can't all be making this up), I said,
I want to be a ballerina, neurosurgeon, children's author who dabbles in watercolors and is a gourmet cook.

Why the heck not?

Ok, maybe I'll skip the ballerina gig, my knees are shot.
 
You just gotta start throwing some things into that hole.
 
All my best, Kary
 
So my hole is overflowing at the moment. (Yes, I know how that sounds, but it made me laugh so I'm keeping it.).  I know I've said it a million times, so this will be a million and one, I was such a sick, quivering hopeless blob a couple of years ago, that this life of mine is a miracle.  
 
For those of you that are reading that were smart enough to stop and do something about your drinking before you got to that point, I am forever in awe of you and so grateful on your behalf. 
 
For those of you that resemble that sick, hopeless, scared, lost blob (that's just a nice way of saying pile of shit) you don't have to feel that way anymore, you really don't.

Now about those Brussel Sprouts!  The cap'n hates them so I"m fixing them while he's gone (there are advantages to sleeping alone) and I've only had them maybe twice, so what's the best way to fix them?  I need suggestions, and please nothing creamed, Julia just about has me creamed out this week, and that says something coming from the daughter of a German housewife who didn't know how to cook without cream and butter.  I await your counsel.

Monday, September 24, 2012

September Collage


Sweet little rock 'n' roller, sweet little rock 'n' roller
Her daddy doesn't have to scold her
Her partner can't hardly hold her
Because she never gets any older
Sweet little rock 'n' roller
-------Sweet Little Rock'n'Roller: Rod Stewart

My last day of work was Friday.  I cried.  I've left that place a dozen times before and I've never cried.  My co-workers said they'd miss me....and they meant it.  None of them know what this summer has meant to me with all the shifting and changing reasons for me to be back there.  None of them, the ones that knew me before or the newbies, would not have recognized me a year ago.  My boss said, "Thank you." and I said, "No, thank you.  You'll never know how much I needed this."  He knows a little bit because I told him.  He's known me thirty years, he wouldn't have recognized me a year ago either.

I hit the mountains just as the sun was going down and home was still two hours away, the cap'n wanted me to get a hotel and wait until morning to make the twisty-scarey drive instead of doing it in the dark but I wanted to get home.  Our cabin is an old simple A-frame and our bedroom is in the loft. From our bed you can look out at the mountains and I was determined to wake up in my own bed and see my mountains first thing in the morning.  The cap'n conceded reluctantly, he knows how strong-willed I am.  That's new, that strong-will, well maybe not but it's been cowering in the back of the liquor cabinet for a few years.  Too many years.

I white knuckle it up the twisty-terrifying road at 40 mph, I can see the dark mountain looming over me, I keep my eyes glued to the white line on the side of the road, a deer stares at me from the side of the road, I hope he doesn't decide to play chicken and run out in front of me because I'll have heart attack out here in the middle of nowhere.  But hey, my BAC will be zero! 

The deer displayed uncommon good sense and stayed put on the side of the road until I made it past.  I made it home safe and sound.

I woke up in the morning as the sun was lighting up the aspens on my mountain.

Saturday was a glorious sunny day.  My poor flowerbeds bore the proof of my summer abandonment, my delphiniums and poppy's are stunted little scraggly things where they've even bothered to come up but the native bushes that the cap'n and I transplanted are bursting forth in their short-lived riotous fall colors and the unruly brave little pansies have sprouted up among the gravel in the driveway.  The cap' made fun of me at the beginning of the summer when I dug a few up and put them in my flower boxes and covered the soil with gravel to retain what scarce water they would get. They're thriving and he's incredulous.  Look who's laughing now, buddy.

Taking advantage of being apart from the cap'n and his somewhat limited movie interests this summer, I watched Julie and Julia one afternoon and, of course, had to order the cookbook, Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, and, of course, the total amount was 2 cents short of the amount needed to get free shipping so I ordered the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking also.  I made Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Cream, and Porcini Mushrooms.       AAAAAMAZING!

The cap'n was getting a little tipsy and I said, "You might want to think about slowing down.  I only have three nights with you and I want to enjoy them."  He said, "Okay, I'll just top this off with soda.  And he did.  AAAAAMAZING!

Sunday I decided to hook my laptop up to our less than mediocre, down-right pitiful oxygen deprived internet up here and, of course, it didn't work.  Lots of fiddle-farting around on my own trying to fix it, a little bit of snarling at the cap'n when he timidly offers helpful suggestions, lots of time on hold to various techie support services, and finally after a little bit of helpful advice (remove the battery, turn off the modem and let the computer reset itself), it worked, in its mediocre, down-right pitiful oxygen deprived way.  I told the cap'n, "I need a drink.  I think this might have triggered a relapse." He said, "No, you don't."  I was joking, making light, that's what I do, that's a Hickey thing, to make light of the heavy stuff, to laugh at our weaknesses.  I am a stoic, smart-ass, always ready with the wise-crack out the side of my mouth, Hickey, even when I'm quaking in my boots.

In some random conversation we were having, I made the comment to the cap'n, "Nobody's perfect."
He looked at me and said, "You are."
My breath caught.  Once more, if even for just a moment, he thinks I'm perfect.  Once more.

Today the cap'n left for another two weeks of work and I'll be alone up here on the mountain, which means really alone.  I know one soul that I can call if I have a problem up here, this is my hermitage, my Walden Pond, and while I'm a little intimidated by all that alone time, I'm, at the same time, relishing it.  It's been a strange summer for the me and the cap'n, we've lived in each others' pockets for so long, but I think it's been for the good.

So there's a handful of my weekend memories, just like those handfuls of fall leaves we used to collect for collages when we were kids, some of them have been held onto too tightly and may be a little bruised, and some of the brittle edges may have crumbled but when you throw them all together it's a beautiful brilliant thing.

So now I'm sitting here in my cabin, there's a fire in the woodstove, a from-scratch Bolognese sauce is simmering on the stove and I'm blasting Rod Stewart. Not that old fart stuff he's been singing in the last few years, nope I'm belting out the good stuff, Young Turks, Maggie May, Down Town Train...

Time to get off my sweet little rock'n'roller ass and dance!

Update:  The cap'n just called me on his way to the airport and told me how proud he was of me, how wonderful it was not to have to worry about me 24/7.  He said, "You have no idea."

Oh, yes I do.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

WARNING!!! THERE'S STILL DANGER AHEAD

 

I want to thank you guys for your extremely kind accolades on my making it one year in sobriety and I promise I will take the time to address each of them tomorrow but first I want to thank you for pulling me back from the cliff this weekend. 

 "Whhaat?"

As I said in my last post, the cap'n and I were meeting up for a romantic interlude (under the guise of a Stanley, the blind killer bichon, exchange) this weekend.  There is this sweet little mountain village in the Southeast corner of Colorado called Cuchara and it is the only advantage I can think of to living in the Southwest corner of the state of Kansas as opposed to the Northeast corner of Kansas, we are closer to Cuchara.  My parents used to take me there as a kid and back then it was one block long consisting of a general store, a cafe, and a smattering of rustic log cabins surrounding it, now it is still one block long with three cafe/bars, a couple of  stores, a hotel, lots of realty offices and quite a few swanky model log homes cluttering up the mountainside.

There is a bar there called "The Dog Bar" which allows dogs in, it even has AA meeting times posted for the dogs of Cuchara.  And yes, of course, I have been drunk there before, a smattering of times.  The only two things I remember about the last time was that I had an argument with a fellow bar patron about a Jerry Jeff song and the hellacious, hangover plagued, six hour drive home to Kansas the next day.  That must have been before I started drinking myself well in the mornings after.

None of this was on my mind as I was driving up Friday afternoon, I was too busy basking in the golden glow of the aspens and the accomplishment of this year, but as I drove closer to the cabin I felt a little pang when I remembered there wouldn't be a drink waiting for me at the end of the drive.

We went to the Dog Bar for a hamburger that evening and all the locals (I don't think there are any real locals in Cuchara, I don't think anyone is actually from there, I think they all wandered in from Kansas and Texas and some of them just refused to go home) were starting to get  their Friday night loud on.  The band was tuning their guitars and one leggy blue-jeaned, down-vested blonde chick at the bar kept "Woo-Hooing" every time someone strummed a chord. Man, that bitch got on my nerves, couldn't be because she reminded me of someone I used to be, could it?

The band didn't seem to be in a hurry to get through their warm-up and the cap'n and I were exhausted so we payed our tab and headed back to our little rental cabin.

The cabin was perfection.  Just a tiny little thing with an iron bed loaded down with blankets and flannel sheets and a big picture window looking over a meadow pond and the snow dusted peaks in the distance.  We put our stockinged feet up on the coffee table and counted the stars reflecting on the pond from the comfort of the couch in the front room.

The next day we drove the mountain roads, oohing and ahhing at the autumn colors, like everyone else and all the while I was thinking of other autumn roadtrips and missing that cold beer in my hand.  At about two o'clock in the afternoon the cap'n asked me where I wanted to go next and I told him I'd be happy to sit on the deck of the cabin with a good book so we headed back.

The sun was shining and the dusting of snow had already melted off the peaks, I settled in with my Kindle and the cap'n went into fix himself a drink.  I was hit with a tsunami of nostalgia.  All the warm sun-filled afternoons of sitting with drinks in our hands, happy to be alive and congratulating ourselves on our lot in life, came rushing back and I was filled with such longing. I was homesick for the little arguments over whose turn it was to fix drinks, the delight and promise of a freshly made drink in my hand.  All so much bullshit, I know, I know.  But still.

When the cap'n drove over to the office to settle up with the manager that hadn't been there when we pulled in the night before, I picked up his drink and I thought, "Just a sip."

And I took one.

And I put the glass down and picked up my Kindle.

Then I looked at his glass again and thought, "Maybe after a year, I've learned my lesson.  Surely now I would recognize if I was getting into trouble and I could stop."

And I picked up the glass and took another sip.

And I put the glass back down.

I looked over to where the capn's vehicle was still parked over at the office and the thoughts started running together in my head, "It probably wouldn't take much to get a little high, just a little buzz, I don't want to get drunk, I just want a little buzz, maybe one more sip would do it."

And I hurriedly picked up the glass and took another sip.

And I put the glass back down.

But I didn't feel a buzz so I reached for the glass again and I thought, "What can I think of that will make me put this glass down?"

And I thought of all the kind things you guys had said about me on my one year soberversary and the faith you have in me.

And I didn't take a sip.

And I put the glass down.

And I didn't pick it back up.

When I got home this afternoon, I checked my email (there had been no internet at the cabin) and there was an email from my brother who had found sobriety almost 30 years ago through AA  (Shining Examples) and he congratulated me on my year and once more hinted that I should try AA.

"You know, honey, you can't keep it if you don't give it away." he admonished.

I am so thankful that all of you gave it away to me this week.  I will do my utmost best to return the favor.  I know I am guilty of sometimes of reading other blogs and thinking I have nothing to say that hasn't been said or that I can't relate to what the writer has written or even in a pique of adolescent petulance thought, "This blogger never comments on my blog, I'm not going to comment on hers." but really just saying you have faith in the person to get through whatever issues they are dealing with and to stay sober makes such a difference.  It did for me. 

P.S. Now about those sips, I'm choosing to put the emphasis on the fact that I stopped rather then the fact that I started.  I'm not going to let those three little sips take anything away from what I have accomplished, instead I'm going to acknowledge them as reminders that the wolf is still at the door and he's going to keep huffing and puffing, trying to blow my house down, and I've got to keep building my house stronger by, yes, writing this blog, participating on the message boards, reading and commenting on other blogs and giving it away every chance I get.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Year


 (The gang from mmabsers will get this pic.  My apologies to shutterstock for stealing this but it was too perfect)

Days of Sobriety: 363, One Year.  Hallelujah! I want MORE!

This morning I'm reminded of the very first mornings I wrote this blog, I've been finding all kinds of distractions and things I "needed" to do before I sat down to type this out.  As usual, I've asked my Co-writer to chime in and let me know what he wants me to say but it seems he's letting me throw my own party today.

Why am I putting this off, why, of all mornings, is this so difficult? "(I know, I know", my six year old self is waving her hand in the back of the room, "Pick me! Pick me")

I'm putting this off because I know it is impossible to put into words what this year has meant to me.  But I'll try my best.

I am sitting here looking out the front door of this shitty little apartment at this rainy, blustery, almost fall day, I have a cup of hot tea at my elbow and I can smell it's cinnamon apple sweetness, and I am content.  Once more a warm cup of tea brings an appreciative smile to my face.  Once more a cold autumn day entices me with dreams of a long hot bath, a roast cooking in the oven, a soft throw a good book and socks on cold feet.  This is enough.  This is everything.  I couldn't ask for more.

In my quest of avoidance, I traipsed through a few of my favorite blogs,  Patty wrote about passing her nursing exams, Riversurfer wrote of being in love, and SoberMom wrote of paths taken and I read all of them with tears of many colors prickling behind my eyelids waiting to overflow as my heart is overflowing with such humble gratitude this morning.  Okay, a few of those tears couldn't wait any longer.  Once more my life is overflowing with the graceful loveliness of friendship and being cared for and being able to care for.  That is so much more than I could have dreamed of.  More than I thought I'd ever deserve again. Thank you guys, I wish I could fully express my gratitude but there are not enough words.

In another delay tactic this morning, I sorted through a couple of bags of goodies I have squirreled away for the grandkids and sat them out on the bed so I could mail them later.  I picked up a soft pink flannel blanket trimmed in wide satin ribbon with a little kitten and puppy embroidered in simple X's in one of the corners.  I made this blanket thirty-two years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest son, back then you didn't know what you were having until the baby arrived.  It wasn't until this year that I finally got a little girl to send it to, my granddaughter Atalie.  As I rubbed the satin ribbon against my cheek this morning, I was so relieved and proud to know that she would only have memories of a sober grandma.  That when I hug her and nuzzle my nose in her sweet, sweet neck, making her giggle, that I'll want to linger and hold on to that moment instead of being distracted wondering where my drink is, as I was with her big brother.  That someday she might be proud to have me at her wedding, that she will never have the worry that I might shame her.  Once more, I have faith in myself.  Once more, I am proud. Once more I have self-worth and that is priceless.

Later today I'll do some laundry and pack a bag for my trip to Colorado this weekend.  I'm not going home yet, the hospital has asked me to stay on for a couple more weeks (another little deposit into my self-worth account) so the cap'n and I are meeting up for another conjugal visit (waggly eyebrows) at a rustic little cabin by a lake.  I bought a few little enticements a few weeks ago that I'll throw in there. Once more the feel of something new and sexy sliding over my body makes me giddy.  ( Okay, I know the visuals of a 50 year old menopausal woman and her 64 year old love interest getting it on are probably making you of the younger crowd a little nauseous. Get over it.) I'm not sure what this summer apart has meant for the cap'n and me and what adjustments will have to be made when we are back to co-habitating, but I do know it has been a demonstration of his faith in me and his devotion to me and what is best for me.  He vehemently didn't want to live apart for three months but he supported me.  Which is what he has done throughout this tortuous journey, which is what he has always unflaggingly done, held me up.  Once more I feel worthy.  Once more I feel I am carrying my load in this marriage, instead of being carried.  Once more, he has is wife back.  And I am so fortunate.

So tomorrow starts another year.  Bring it on, once more I am ready.