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!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


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.  

       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


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