Friday, December 27, 2013

Sober Life: The Christmas Special




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Morning:

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

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

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

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

Christmas noon:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me:  "Who are you calling?"

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

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

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

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

Later....

Oldest son:  "It's 3:15 pm."

Me:  "I know."

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

I try to call second son.

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

4:00 pm:

The phone rings.

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

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

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

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

Second son:  "Merry Christmas, Mom."

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

We file into the house.

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

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

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

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

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

Oldest Son: "Thanks, Man."

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

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

Me: "Sure, dude."

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

Me:  "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

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

Merry Sober Christmas from My Family To Yours!

(Thank God for Playstation.)






Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 Tribute to You

 

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

Thank you for holding my hand and not letting go.

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Those That Go Before Us

Two years ago almost to this day, I wrote a blog about my brother Pat who went before me on the road to sobriety.  In Shining Examples, I talked about how I watched him from the sidelines for almost twenty-five years while I waited until it was my time to embark on that peril fraught journey.

Today I want to tell you another story of one whom I watched from the sidelines.

I met my friend, Pattie, ten years ago.  A few short months before I met her, she died.  She had  esophageal varices that silently bled into her stomach until she bled to death.  They pumped new blood into her and they performed CPR and they brought her back.  She told me once that she wished they hadn't.  She'd wanted to stay where she'd gone but she had to come back and take care of someone. Bob, her husband.

They told her if she ever drank again, she would die.

I met her when I was living on a boat and drinking and she was living in a mansion and not drinking.  I never knew why she liked me.  People that loved her called her the Dutchess, people that didn't, called her something else.

I loved her.

I watched her go out in the middle of the night, in the middle of a hurricane to refill a generator so that she could continue to post hurricane updates and health and welfare statuses over her VHF radio.  She wore a floral raincoat with nothing underneath, except her pearls.

I watched her get up in the middle of the night to come out into her living room, where all of us hurricane bound drunks were strewn, and walk over to Bob's chair and pick up his drink, sniff it, and proceed to carry it over to the sink and throw it out.

I watched her as Bob's health declined and his drinking increased.  She didn't drink.

I watched her regally maintain her dignity, while those around her tossed the ragged remnants of their own into the wind, like confetti at a death march.  She never touched a drop.

I watched her after Bob had a stroke and sometimes didn't remember who she was.  She was tired and she talked to her doctor about just having one glass of wine a night to help her relax and sleep.  He gave his reluctant assent.

Bob died a few months later.

I wrote her earlier this year and told her that I had quit drinking and how I had watched her, years ago, as she stood so strong while her husband and all of us who surrounded her drank with no regard to how it affected her.  I told her that now, as I struggle with the drinking that surrounds me. while I cling with a tenuous grip to my sobriety, I think of her.

She wrote back and said that she had stayed sober for eight years to take care of Bob, but now she was having fun.

She died two weeks ago. Her stepson's blog Natural Causes says she bled to death from  ruptured esophageal varices.

She's finally made it back to the place she didn't want to leave.

P.S.  I struggled about whether to write this blog, Pattie was the epitome of class, and it is hard for me to reconcile the person I know with the means of her death.  But Pattie was a woman who, while I knew her, found her purpose in helping others.  I think she would want her story to help others.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Green Up!




A woman hired a contractor to repaint the interior of her house. The woman walked the man through the second floor of her home and told him what colors she wanted for each room. As they walked through the first room, the woman said, "I think I would like this room in a cream color."

The contractor wrote on his clipboard, walked to the window, opened it and yelled out, "Green up!" He then closed the window and continued following the woman to the next room. The woman looked confused, but proceeded with her tour. "In this room, I was thinking of an off blue."

Again, the contractor wrote this down, went to the window, opened it and yelled out, "Green up!"

This baffled the woman, but she was hesitant to say anything. In the next room, the woman said she would like it painted in a light rose color. And once more, the contractor opened the window and yelled, "Green up!"

Struck with curiosity, the woman mustered up the nerve to ask, "Why do you keep yelling 'Green  up' out my window every time I tell you the color I would like the room?"

The contractor replied, "Because I have a crew of blondes laying sod across the street." 


Update:  I was belly aching, again, at mmabsers chat the other night, bitching that my pink cloud had floated off and that sobriety had become...mundane. Stretch, yawn stretch.  Which is just ludicrous in light of my last post.

One of my fellow mmabsers said, "There is a saying in AA about keeping it green." (Do you see an obsession with AA developing here?)

That hit home.  I've been wandering around, looking for my pink cloud, but I was doing nothing to bring it back.  I wasn't blogging, I wasn't reading blogs, I wasn't participating on the message boards, instead I was just like the drinker I used to be, pouring booze down my throat, knowing that it was making me miserable, but being too damn ambivalent to do anything about it.

"You have to work the program."  Uh-oh, there it is again.

I ran into the lady that I mentioned in my last blog, the one that reached out to me through a friend. We were both at another fundraiser and I did my best to avoid her.  Why did I do that?  Was I afraid that she was going to run up to me and grab me in a choke hold and start shoving the big blue book down my throat, page by page.  I had just complained to my friend that I feel like such an outsider these days, that people were either alternately avoiding me or else they couldn't wait to tell me how much they'd been, or not been, drinking lately.  It makes me sad that people are afraid of me and avoid me, and here I was doing the same thing.  But to be truthful, she seemed to be trying to avoid me too, as if she was regretting the advance she had made.

Anyway, I felt bad about being so ungrateful so I decided to act like a normal adult and respond to her kind offer of support the way grown up people do these days, I contacted her on facebook.

She wrote back this morning and said she was glad that I had wrote, that she and another woman were forming an AA group in Progreso, (a short 6 mile hop instead of the 40 minute trek to Merida) and she'd love for me to attend.  I wrote back and said, "I'd be happy to."

"Green Up!"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Voids



Sorry for my disappearance.  I'm back in Mexico and, as usual, that takes some adjustment for me.  I can no longer hide out in my backwoods mountain cabin and avoid the drunken crowds.  They surround me.  Everywhere.  I have probably come the closest to drinking again in the last three weeks than I ever have in my sobriety.  And once again, it would have been to punish someone or to get them to change their ways, not because "I" wanted a drink.

Which is just fucked up thinking and the last time I drank to try to change someone else I almost killed myself and it still didn't work

But things are different now than they were almost 2.5 years ago when I did that.  Back then I wasn't strong enough to escape, at least I didn't think I was.  But now I am and I know it and while I may have felt so unhappy in the last few weeks to think about drinking again, I knew I wouldn't.  I knew I was stronger than that.

That being said, I was miserable and I don't function well when I'm miserable, in fact, I don't function at all which explains the void in this blog.  It gets very tiring doing this on my own and since you guys know I'm always looking for signs, I'll tell you about one that keeps hitting me over my head.
As my friend, cp, says, "Ding Dong."

Sign 1:  I picked up one of my fellow elves to go do some Christmas shopping for the ninos a couple of weeks ago.  She hadn't been in the car five minutes when she said, "Hey, Christine ________ told me to tell you to contact her.  She says if you want to go to an AA meeting or need someone to talk to to call her.

See what happens when you tell the whole world you're an alcoholic?  I had no idea that Christine was an AA'er.  In fact, I thought she was a drinker because I see her at all the same functions I go to, which involve drinking.

Sign 2:  I was at another fundraiser, because when you hold fundraisers for your own cause you are then obligated to go to every fundraiser under the sun, whether it be for the street dogs, computers for the school, or knitting ponchos for cats.  A man I know and I started talking, he has been sober for six years and I already knew this.  He said, "You and I should go to an AA meeting in Merida, it would be a hoot!"

An AA meeting a "hoot"?

Signs 3:  The cap'n and I were driving back from our little project house in Dzilam de Bravo one day and there were signs everywhere.  No, I didn't see the AA triangle in amorphous cloud formations, or spelled out in fallen, decaying palm fronds, instead I saw it painted in peeling paint on the sides of crumbling buildings in almost village we passed through.

I have driven through these villages dozen of times and never noticed an AA sign.

On another day, a group of us went to the fair on the outskirts of Merida  and as I looked over to the side of the road, there was a compound of white building and at the gate stood a bust of a man, carved in the concrete below, "Dr. Bob" and the AA symbol.

Am I looking for signs pointing me towards AA or are they just appearing?  I don't know.  I don't think I'm ready yet but I have a feeling, some day soon, I will be.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spirit Sisters

Finally, my first sober jewelry.  Thank you, Kathy. I love you!
I read a post on the mmabsers board this morning in which the member asked, "Who was the hardest person to tell that you were giving up drinking."  I thought about this and I thought back to how ashamed I was when I first started this journey, how I hid my first steps.  I lurked on the message boards, I cruised the sober blogs (I did this for years before I ever took my first step, or maybe that was my first step) always looking over my shoulder to make sure that the cap'n couldn't see what I was doing.  
There was another post on another message board the other day in which the member posted, "I don't want to be an alcoholic. Is that wrong?"  I had to laugh a little, this is what I replied to that post.

There's a funny metamorphosis that happens as you recover, at first you come in all ashamed, lurking on the message boards, afraid to post, hiding what you're doing on the computer from your SO, acting like your drinking when you're not around friends, ordering fancy fake NA drinks so nobody knows that you're confronting your problems.  Then as you get stronger, the shame slinks away and all of a sudden you are so proud of what you've accomplished, because it's a big f'ing deal, that you find yourself wanting to tell the carry-out boy at the grocery store that you're a recovering alcoholic.  Alcoholism is a disease or an addiction, not a badge of shame, depends on what you do about it.
Shame is one more barrier that alcohol throws up to keep us in its prison.  Break through! Break through!  You will be amazed at the number of people that are holding sledgehammers on the other side ready to help you and fight for you.  Ready to be so damn proud of you.
This is a letter I received from my sister, Kathy, the day before yesterday.
Sometimes I think about you and I cry---like right now, because I'm sitting here thinking how I admire your warrior spirit towards all your personal causes.
I think you're strong because you are kind and generous.  I think you are strong because of your gentle soul.
You are unique, brave witty and a gift.  I'm grateful to be your sister.  Although we do not call one another best friends, we are sisters.
I often mourn my absence from your life over the years and not being there for you in dark times.  I hope you know it was never intentional.  It has been my great loss.
You have told your stories in such a brave way and made me want to be brave even when I think I no longer can or want to be.
Enclosed is a necklace that I wear to remind me of you and the sister who truly embodies its message.  I hope when you wear it, you will think of us as "spirit" sisters on the same path to getting to the other side of all our fears.
Much love...kathy.
Break through to find your spirit sister or brother waiting for you on the other side and holding out a hand to pull you through.
Love you, sis! 


Friday, October 25, 2013

I DID IT FOR THEM!










Several people have asked me how I managed to quit drinking and I always tell them that I had to find something or someone that I loved more than drinking.  These are my someone's.  Four years ago, I was asked to take charge of the Chelem Toy Drive and I knew  I couldn't do it and still drink.  I wish I could say I quit right away, I didn't but eventually my love for these kids, my love for my own kids and my renewed love for myself gave me the impetus to quit and stay quit.  I love them!  This is what I'll be busy doing until December 25.  I'll be busy begging for money, begging for raffle prizes, begging for toys.  And I love every minute of it.  If you want to keep up with the Chelem Christmas Dreams Toy Drive check out our Chelem Christmas Toy Drive Facebook Page and our Chelem Christmas Dreams Blog.

P.S. If you'd like to spend a couple days laying on the beach check out the raffle page on our blog.  Sorry, but I'm shameless when it comes to these kids.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Trade-offs


The cap'n took me to a Moody Blues concert last week and I have to tell you, it did more to make me feel young than a facelift could.  I told the cap'n, "You know the lines in the bathroom aren't near as long when most the people in the audience are wearing Depends."  Even Graeme Edge, the drummer, said, "I can remember when all I could smell wafting up from the audience was grass, now all I smell is Ben-Gay."  He should talk, he's 72.  OMG!!

Seriously, it wasn't quite what I remember concerts being like.  There were no drunks passed out before the show began.  No stoned topless girls weaving around on someone's shoulders, although there were some Medicare enrollees still out there doing their best to re-live the 60's.

It was all a little bit...sad.

It's funny how our minds get nostalgic about things like that.  Things like getting drunk and stoned and making a fool of ourselves.  Funny how we look back and rank those times as the best times of our lives.

I'll admit I was pissed off the whole day before just thinking about the concert.  Not the fact that it was the Moody Blues and I can only think of two of their songs that I like (If I never hear Nights in White Satin again, I will rejoice.) No, it wasn't the band that pissed me off.  I was pissed off because I couldn't drink.

There are trade-offs to this sober lifestyle.  One of them, for me, is that I'm never again going to "feel" the music as I did when I was drinking.  I'm never going to again say, "Oh my God, I looove this song.  This is my favorite song ever."  Over and over to every song that comes up on the playlist.

I miss that.  I really, really do.  And when I go to a concert, I want to feel that.  I want to drink.  But I can't.  Some people would say, "Don't go to concerts then."  Really?  

I have to keep in mind those trade-offs.  They add up to a whole lot more than getting drunk.  Here are some of the trade-offs to attending the concert sober last week.

1. The music was great and I really could appreciate it.
2. I know I wasn't one of those wild haired, tie-dyed weirdos bobbing and weaving and refusing to sit down like the Janis Joplin wannabe in front of me.  (Now I really sound like a bore.)
3. I was able to stroll the 16th street Mall in Denver afterwards because I wasn't so drunk that I needed to get back to the hotel to pass out.
4. I had a lovely memorable meal after the concert.
5. I felt great the next morning and was able to enjoy a fall day in downtown Denver without a hangover.

Tomorrow night I'm going to see Jimmy Buffet, time to check that item off of my bucket list.  I'm not worried, I know the trade-off's to staying sober, payoff is a more apt term, will be far greater than getting drunk.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Letting The Other Voices Speak



Last night I couldn't find the can opener.  I had looked in every utensil drawer, the dishwasher and tunneled to the bottom of the dirty dishes in the sink.  The cap'n has been gone for two weeks and the dirty dishes are out numbering the clean ones 3-1.  I finally opened every drawer in my tiny kitchen and found the can opener nestled among the dish towels.  Then I finished fixing my drink
and put the bowl of ice that I keep in the freezer on the floor in front of Mr. Stanley's dish.

Early dementia setting in? Quite possible.  Drinking again?  Hell, no!!!

It's these voices in my head that won't shut up and let me concentrate.

You see, I have this running monologue going on in my head whether I'm drunk or sober.  I guess everyone does.  You do, don't you? It's not just me that can't quit listening to my own self speak, is it?

These last few weeks, up here all alone in my cabin, it's the characters in my book that occupy my head.  Yeah, I'm still writing a book, but at least it's the same book and not another abandoned pile of scribbled notes to add to the piles of fledgling manuscripts I have stuffed in every drawer and cranny around here.

It is so refreshing to have other voices occupying my brain space these days, voices that have new things to say.  Good things to say.

For too long, an embarrassment of years, I had the same voices saying the same things, over and over and over and.....

"God, why did I do this again?" "Never again." Okay, just one."  Okay, just one more."  What the fuck, who cares?"....

I'll stop there, but I was just getting started on the  deafening monologue that played out day after day.  Most of you know that song by heart and can sing along.

Then, for awhile, there was a siege of different voices saying, "You can't do this."  "Just have one." "You can handle it this time." "You don't really want to live a life without booze, do you?" "What kind of life is that?" "Boring!"  "You don't want to turn into one of those people, do you?" "Come on, just have one."  "No one will ever know."  Blahdee, Blahdee, Blah, Blah.....

Then other voices started speaking up, they'd been there all along and now that the booze manifested voices were dying a slow, albeit lingering, death, this was their chance to say what they'd been waiting to say.

They said things like.  "Wow, look at that sunrise. Thank you, God." "You're strong enough to do this."  "You're amazing." "Look at you!"  "I'm so proud of you."  "OMG! I love those shoes."  "I think next fall I'll visit France." (I'm really going to do this one.) "Life's too short."  "I want to do it all." "I can do this." "You could be the next Danielle Steele." (Cringe.)

The new voices speak of possibilities and promise, chances to be taken and things to be discovered.

Finally there is room in my head for them. 

That's why I'm now able to hear the hero of my story, Blade, explain to the heroine, Sassy,  that he's sorry that he slept with her twin sister, Ilean, the one who'd lost a leg in a tragic mud wrestling accident years earlier. 

"I thought it was you," Blade swore on the family trailer park, but he had to admit, he could tell there was something missing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Voice



No, this isn't about Cee-Lo, Blake, Christina, and Adam, although I just started watching "The Voice" and I love it.  I have to say, "Adam is HOT!"

But instead I'm going to talk about the voice that swayed me off of the MM Moderation message board over to mmabsers and sobriety.  Colonel Parker, cp as he is commonly known on the boards, was a constant peaceful and serene voice amidst the chaos of counting drinks and planning abs days and moderation days and all the mindfucking that went on in my head when I was trying to learn to control that thing that had been controlling my life since my first drink.

He made it sobriety sound so...calm.  As it is.

Here is at what he recently shared about Joy.  I love it, I hope you do too.

One of the things that was discussed in Abs Chat this week was
happiness. Several of us talked about how we felt that was our
purpose. Two of the biggest benefits I have gotten from quitting
drinking are peace and joy. It's worth noting that is not what I expected
to happen particularly on the joy front.
Part of the problem that I have had is that I confused joy or happiness
with exuberance or ecstasy. I associated the buzz I got from drinking with
a happy feeling. I like happiness. A lot. So I chased it. Tried to hold it.
Each time it slipped away like mercury. The tighter I tried to grasp it the more
elusive it became.
When I quit drinking I fully expected a drab, boring, dry (haha) existence.
I was sure that my happiness had come to an end.
But something very unexpected happened. After going through withdrawal
and beginning to heal I began to experience a lifting of depression and
the fading of anxiety. I didn't trust it. I felt like it would only be a short
matter of time before the other shoe dropped and I was overcome by
depression,anxiety, sadness and would go rushing to a bottle. But it didn't
happen. Instead my joy increased. Beyond what I had ever experienced
before.
One of the things that happened besides just the sheer physicality of
quitting was that I had to put in place certain changes in my perceptions
and thought and actions in order to remain sober. But each of these things
not only strengthened my sobriety but increased my joy.
My drinking was characterized by self-indulgence. My thinking was always
what's in it for me. That for me is poison. Instead I began to counteract that
by practicing joy. It arose out of letting go of selfishness and becoming
generous. I felt joy at others success and release of stress. I stopped thinking
of me so much and started thinking of others. Again, I didn't expect the
result. Drinking had caused me to collapse in on myself. Now my world became
more open, free, spacious.
Joy can be cultivated. It is not the buzzy, heady leap of getting what I want
nor is it dependent on nothing going wrong. It doesn't matter. It is natural
that both will occur. Joy is letting go of all that and just being satisfied.
My thoughts .
I like what Nagarjuna had to say about joy.

If there is a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for despondency?
And if there is no help for it,
What is the use of being sad?

So come what may, I'll never harm
My cheery happiness of mind.
Depression never brings me what I want;
My virtue will be warped and marred by it.
Nagarjuna

P.S.  If anyone is interested in joining us for abs chat tonight send me a pm at karymayhickey@gmail.com and I'll give you details on how to get there.  Also, someone pm'd me that they were unable to comment on my blog from the Safari Browser and since I haven't been able to comment on my own blog from IE for years, I think I need to fix this glitch.  If you're having problems commenting, could you drop me a line at the above gmail account.  Thanks.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Apology

To a friend out there:
That would have been like someone coming up to me and saying, "Why don't you just quit drinking?"  Yeah, right like I hadn't thought of that.  Neither helpful nor compassionate.  Lo siento, amiga.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

We Are A Village



“Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter. The one of us who finds the strength to get up first, must help the other.”
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Sometimes I don't  have the right words, sometimes I don't reach everyone I'd like to, and sometimes, hey, people just don't jive with what I'm saying.  That's why I'm so thankful that I have this whole community of bloggers out there to turn to and to rely on.  One of us is going to be able to say what needs to be said in a way that gets through, when others can't.  Yesterday I shared Christy's Word's for the Weekend, not just here, but on my fb page and also on several message boards that I am active on.  I had a message back this morning from one of the members that said, "Thanks Kary, this post literally got me through a white knuckle moment."  Yay!

Then.....I have a friend that I love but he too holds great affection for all things alcoholic, just like me.  He's been confronting it and I'm so proud that he has turned to AA for help and even though he hasn't found complete success yet (does anybody know of anyone that was able to succeed the first time they quit?  I'm curious.) he keeps at it.  We all know that's what is important.  I had contacted him a few weeks ago on fb chat but hadn't heard back and the first thought I had, as usual, was "Did I do something to piss him off?"  That's my fall back first reaction, a relic of my drinking past.  Then I remembered how I was whenever I "relapsed" and was ashamed to face others in the recovery community.  I just didn't want to hear it.  I already had a constant thrum of "loser, loser, loser, sounding in my brain.  Anyone's kind display of concern was just going to make it worse.  Yesterday I saw that my nephew was on fb chat and I thought, "What the hell. Ruth, my mom, is gonna be pissed at me if I don't reach out."  So I typed in, "Hey you, what's up?"  Then I got up to do something and while I was putzing I decided,  Ok, I'll just ask, "Did I do something to piss you off?"  I just can't let go of that.  But when I got back to the computer, my nephew had replied with a request that I call him.

So, of course, I did.  We had a great conversation.   He's back in AA and in the course of our conversation we both talked about how we had dodged the DUI bullet, and we'd always thought it was just waiting for us around the corner.  I hung up and was reading the blogs and "Whammy" there was Paul's blog The Verdict describing in great detail the nightmare my friend and I had just been discussing.  The "yet" we knew was waiting for us if we kept drinking.  So, of course, I sent the link to him.  Another great phone conversation followed.

Then...last night I'm on fb again.  No, I don't live on it as the cap'n claims,  I just check it a couple million times a day.  A woman that I met briefly years ago had seen my link on fb to the article on the Sober Nation Facebook Page and she'd been reading my blog.  Could she call me?  I have to admit, I hesitated, not because I don't want to talk to her, but because I'm afraid I won't have the right words.  I can only share my experience and that may not be the one that touches her, the one that gives her the foundation to build her own new life on.

That's where you step in, amigos.  I know that if I don't have the words, one of you will.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Some More Fellow Travelers

I never miss checking out my friend Christy's Word's for the Weekend blogs on her Running on Sober Site. They are always profound and cool, but this weekend's quotes and music blew me away.  Just more proof that we are not alone out there, in our persons, in our thoughts or in our hearts.  Check it out.  And no, I'm not shirking my duties to write a blog, if I could think of anything more meaningful than what these people have already said, I would.  But I can't. 

Thank you Christy for doing this every weekend.

Words for the Weekend: Squeeky Clean and Sober Edition

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tomorrow: Whaddaya Gonna Do About It?



We must always look to the future. Tomorrow - the time that gives a man just one more chance - is one of the many things that I feel are wonderful in life. So's a good horse under you. Or the only campfire for miles around. Or a quiet night and a nice soft hunk of ground to sleep on. A mother meeting her first-born. The sound of a kid calling you dad for the first time. There's a lot of things great about life. But I think tomorrow is the most important thing. Comes in to us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.  ---John Wayne

That's the Big Man talking up there.  God, my dad loved him.  He's right you know, every day we have a new chance.  What are we going to do with this brand spankin' new day?  How many more tomorrows are we going to waste?


A lone campfire for miles is a wonderful thing, he's right about that, too.  It's snowing up here today and I've got a fire going and I hope it doesn't let up for days.  I hope I don't see anyone for days.  Used to be, I'd drink those days away, but now I think I'll just savor the quiet and calm and beauty.

Of course, we're never really alone these days, with our cell phones and internet.  I came out of the closet about this blog the other day when I put a link to that article I wrote for sober nation on my "real" facebook page.  It was scary.  I'd already "come out" on fb on my two year soberversary, but my blog was my one piece of anonymity I was holding on to.  No more.

There was a major influx of hits on this blog the day the article was published and there was a flurry of well wishes and pats on the back on my facebook page but all of that has already died down.  That's ok. 

That's not why I wrote the article. 

A couple of people commented on my fb post that the article resonated with them, there were a couple of pm's from people asking that I pray for them, and I've gained a couple of more followers to my blog.

That's why I wrote the article.  In the hope that just one more person would gain the courage to reach out and realize they didn't have to do it on their own.

There's a whole bunch of campfires out there.   Welcome.

Damn, the sun just came out.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Depression, Booze, and Second Chances



 I apologize for the length of this blog, I had just made a vow to myself to write shorter blogs but I've sung that tune before, haven't I? I am reading a fascinating book right now written by Howard Storm titled, My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance At Life. In the book, Mr. Storm describes how he, an atheist, fell very ill and then "died," and it details his experiences on the other side, but also the changes in his life since he "came back." I'm finding the material of the book exciting on many different levels and I think it is important reading even for those of you who don't believe in life after death, maybe even more important. I thought some of you guys might find what he had to say about his drinking and how it changed after his "after death" experience interesting.

I was very weak for seven months following the surgery. When I eventually returned to work in January 1986, teaching my art classes exhausted me. During this time of recovery, I thought, studied, and prayed. My life had been lost and given back. Physically and spiritually I was born again. This rocked the foundations of all that I had previously believed, demanding that my entire life be rebuilt. I had a myriad of critical questions that I needed to answer, such as: What had really happened to me? Why me? What was I going to do? How did I know it was not a dream or hallucination? Was it real? All my life I had had dreams, but this experience was not a dream. When I had a nightmare, I would wake up. The experience in hell was far worse than any nightmare, but there I never woke up. My dreams had always had a sense of the surreal, but what I’d experienced after my “death” seemed more real than being awake.
Rather than surreal, it was super-real. During that experience, my senses increased from above-normal to levels of sensation that are beyond explanation. I was more alive in every meaning of the word than I had been before or have been since the experience. There is no comparison between any dream state I know and my Near-Death Experience. Could this have been a psychotic episode brought about by the extreme physical trauma of dying? I became obsessed with this question until it was resolved by several facts that collectively refute the explanation of trauma-induced hallucination. Before the experience, anxiety and depression had spoiled my life. I justified my melancholia by convincing myself that this was the only state of mind a realist could have. I had believed there was no God, no heaven, no hell, no Christ, no angels, no miracles, no life after death, and no ultimate meaning to life. One is born into an utterly random universe; one struggles for survival and pleasure, then one dies. What was the point of living? There is none. Why not die? Too afraid to die, I kept on living. Many times I had considered ending my life, but I always chickened out before I did it. Driving down the highway at ninety miles per hour late at night, thinking: just head into the bridge piers and it will all be over in a second, oblivion! I could never quite do it. Maybe one day I would have the courage. There was very little joy in my life. In order to be happy I drank alcohol. At every social occasion, drinking was the means to a good time. The more you drink, the better you feel. The more you drink, the more you need to drink to get that high. Booze was happiness and lack of booze was melancholy. Alcohol use is encouraged in our society. In the circles that I ran in, one was expected to drink at social occasions. A party, going out for the evening, getting together at someone’s home, going on vacation, visiting relatives, having dinner, sporting events, and other occasions were all accompanied by drinking. The only time one was supposed to not drink was at work. After my experience, I quit drinking. The primary reason was I was happy and knew that alcohol would rob me of my happiness. Alcohol is a depressant that depressed people take to anesthetize themselves from their depression. I don’t need it because I have a joy in my life that I want to keep. Alcohol degrades that sense of well-being with a counterfeit sense of well-being leading to depression in a vicious cycle. My experience didn’t frighten me out of drinking. It removed the need to drink. What kind of hallucination heals the soul?

Storm, Howard (2005-02-15). My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life (Kindle Locations 1411-1420). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


I have always considered myself very fortunate to have never suffered from clinical depression, and I know some of my sober friends still struggle with the horrible disease, even after years of sobriety, so I know quitting drinking doesn't end all depression.  But I am active on several message boards where people who are still drinking frequently post about their struggle with depression and I remember very well a night in a bar a couple of years ago where I sat listening to a couple of friends of mine as they talked about their antidepressants meds at the same time that they downed bottles of beer.  Alcohol is a depressant, we all know that, we all continued to drink when we knew what it was doing to us.  I guess I am just here to give a testimonial.  I have never been diagnosed with clinical depression but I regularly ingested a depressant for 30 years.  How could I not have been depressed?  I was, but didn't know it.  It didn't take long after I quit drinking, I'm talking days, before I started to feel better, happier, calmer, more joyful.  Those feelings have only increased as the two years have gone by.  I can't believe I walked around in that fugue state for years.  I didn't know I was.  Not until I quit drinking.

So if you're drinking and you're depressed, stop drinking.  At least for a little while.  Give yourself a chance to get back to normal and then see how you feel.  If you're still depressed, at least your medications will have a better chance of working.

Drinking is not worth it.

It really isn't.

I didn't have to have a near death experience to find joy,  neither do you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Flowing

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”
Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot

I have never been able to anticipate any event, no matter how small, without some trepidation.  "How should I act?"  "What should I say?"  "What does everyone expect of me?"  "Who do they expect me to be?"  It happened every time I met someone new, walked into a bar, or even just passed someone on the street.

Alcohol smoothed that awkwardness, it ironed out all of my wrinkles. When I quit drinking, I found myself, once again, feeling like I was walking around wearing last season's outfit, pulled in haste from the dirty clothes bin.

Words no longer trip off my tongue, I no longer dazzle people with my snappy comebacks or my witty repertoire.  

The old fears still haunt me, but now all I have to offer the crowds, the strangers, and the old friends is me. Wrinkled, rumpled, and worn.

I told Riversurfer yesterday in a comment on her blog Me, My Voice and I , I can't believe how much energy it took to try and be who I thought everyone else thought I was.

Now I'm just me. Going with the flow.  It is effortless.

It feels....wonderful.


 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Messengers


The first time I met her, she had just wrested the spatula out of the hands of one of my fellow elves who was turning out sub-standard pancakes at our Christmas Toy Drive's First (and last) Annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser. I saw her giving the pale runny discs on my griddle the evil eye.

I soon found myself out of the kitchen and waiting tables.

Message received.

This was on one of my rare good days when I was neither hung-over or drunk.

The next time I met her was during one of our toy drive's bingo nights and I was drunk and in charge of making change for the players.  A drunk gringo trying to make change in pesos is not a good combination.  Once again, I felt her hawk eyes on me and I was soon relieved of my responsibilities.

Again, message received.

The next fall, when I was  back in the states, I received a message about her from a fellow elf.  She'd had a terrible fall and was in the hospital.  And, "Oh by the way, you know she is an alcoholic, don't you?"

No, I didn't.

This was about two months into my "recovery" so I sent her a message.  I said:

"I am like you.  I am an alcoholic."

I didn't know how my message would be received.

She replied:

"I am a binge drinker.  I was once sober for 6 years and then one day I had a bad day at work and I decided to have a drink.  I've never been able to get back for long."

We met up when I returned to Mexico.  I was a newborn in my recovery, all enthusiastic and shooting rainbows out my ass.  She was fresh out of the hospital, barely able to walk, sparse gray hairs sprouting from the wounds on her scalp.  Her eyes were ringed with dark shadows, their depths dark and bottomless.  We both swore we'd learned our lessons, we'd never drink again.  I looked for the spark I felt in those blackhole eyes and couldn't find even a glimmer.

The message was drowning in those fathomless depths.

But we kept meeting, she gave me her 90 Day AA chip and I promised to give it back to her when she reached 90 again.  Slowly she got stronger, slowly I saw the fire return to her eyes.  Once again she brooked no argument.

Message retrieved.

But then the messages fell off, my phone calls went unanswered.  When I did manage to catch up with her, she was wearing an outfit I recognized.  She had wrapped that cloak back over her shoulders, the one that we alcoholics think others can't see through.  A cape made of the shoddy material of flimsy excuses and threadbare lies.

Last year we sent a few emails back and forth, a few telephone calls promising to get together, but we never did.  But I heard from a few people that ran into her that she looked great, better than ever, smiling more than they'd ever seen her.  There were rumors of a man in her life.


This summer I saw a message on fb from her daughter that her mother had returned to the states and that all of her things, including her beloved sewing machine were for sale.

I wondered if I should send a message, but I didn't.

Last night I received a personal message from her daughter, her mother has stage 4 colon cancer and had a stroke last night.  Would I pray for her?

I sent a message back.  Would she please tell her mother that I remember what she said?  That I still carry her message with me.  That she is still helping me.  The message?

"I was sober once for 6 years, then I took a drink and I have never been able to get back."

Message passed.

I've often asked my Co-Writer why he put her in my life if we couldn't save each other.  I now know why, she is a messenger.

Please pray for my messenger.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hoppy Hoppy Day

Today marks two years of sobriety for me and as I sat down with my rosary this morning I said thank you for the gifts I've been given in the last two years, a different gift for every bead. 54 in all and I could have kept going.  I won't bore you with the whole list, instead I'll just name one gift for each year of sobriety.

STRENGTH:
Remember that was my word for this year?  Today on my fb page I announced to the world, my world that is, that I have been sober for two years.  Funny how something that was so shameful has become such a source of pride for me. (The return of self-Pride was another gift I thanked the heavens for this morning, but I promised I wouldn't go on and on about all the gifts sobriety has handed me.  Again.)  I've received over 30 responses to my fb post this morning and 60-some likes.  I'm not bragging, but the fact that so many people took the time to say congratulations blew me away...and made me cry.  A few of them posted about how strong I am, one guy that I've known since grade school said, "That a girl! Congratulations, but it's not really surprising, you've always been able to achieve anything you set your mind to."

See, that's what I just couldn't understand all those years, it's what so many people don't understand..  I'd always been able to do what I needed to do, I'd always been the strong one that other people relied on.  Why the hell couldn't I control my drinking? I just wasn't trying hard enough.  I was weak.  And then I prayed for strength and it came when I had nothing left.  My own strength was never enough.  So thank you, God, and everyone else up there who pooled enough strength together to get me sober.  I owe you. I promise I won't waste it.

On to the next gift:

 I remember a day  four years ago when I had just moved to Chelem.  I thought Chelem was going to be the answer, my new life.  I was off the damn boat and nobody knew me, I could start all over.  But on this day, I found myself, yet again, wretched and hungover and so thoroughly disgusted with myself that I couldn't show my face.  My new housekeeper, Gabi and her father Felix, were at our house that day working, tip-toeing and speaking in hushed voices, I'm sure about their new employer who was laying out on the porch and couldn't even come in and talk to them.  "Who is this woman?", I imagined them asking each other. "Just another drunk gringo who thinks she is too good to talk to us?"   I wanted to tell them, "No, I'm not like that, this isn't the real me."  But it was.

Since then Gabi and I have grown to be very close friends and confidants, she knows all about my drinking and, now, my not drinking.  Felix, however, has remained reserved.  He meets us at our casa every time we return from up north and he always gives me a stiff and awkward hug, but he never gives me the kiss on the cheek that is customary down here.

Until last weekend.

Last weekend, the cap'n and I wandered across the highway to the little tienda that our neighbor Nancy runs.  Felix and his wife, Christina, were sitting on the verandah having a beer with Nancy and they asked the cap'n and I to join them.  The three of them had obviously had one or two already and were wearing the happy countenances of people that were finished with their work week and were enjoying a couple of beers with good friends.  We were honored that they asked us to sit down.  I sat sipping my coke-lite, as we all communicated via broken shards of language and hand gestures and laughter.  At one point, Christina, Felix's wife and Gabi's mother, turned to Nancy and said something about me.  I could catch that she was telling Nancy something that Gabi had said about me.  I look at Nancy, who was doing a comical job of playing translator for our little group, I haven't understood a word of her English in five years, and she said, "Christina say, that Gabi say, that Mary esta always..".at this point she took the index fingers of each of her hands and drew the corners of her lips up in a smile, "Hoppy! Hoppy!"

So Hoppiness and Strength are the two greatest gifts that sobriety has given me.

What more can a girl ask for?

P.S. Felix kissed me on both cheeks when I left that night. Just the icing on the cake.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Scaling The Sublime


Sublime:
 
1. Characterized by nobility; majestic.
2.a. Of high spiritual, moral, or intellectual worth.
b. Not to be excelled; supreme.
3. Inspiring awe; impressive.
4. Archaic Raised aloft; set high.
 
My work stint is done for the time being and, as if I haven't whined enough about it, I feel the need to describe the experience to you yet again.  Like some whiny kid who got sent off to camp for the summer when she'd rather stayed home and played with her friends.

But truly, for the past four months, since I knew I was taking this job, I've felt like a wimpy kid that was being sent off to one of those wilderness camps to toughen him up.  I was terrified every single day, and when I say terrified, I mean terrified.  I've come to realize that my biggest fear is looking stupid.  That fear has held me back from so much, and I'm sure it had more than a little bit to do with my drinking.

I woke up every morning this summer terrified that I would make a fool of myself, and I did.  I was clumsy, I was out of practice, I heard stupid questions coming out of my mouth that I wanted to gobble back down as soon as I heard them escape my lips and saw the look of incredulity that crossed the person's face that I was talking to.  

And I had nothing to combat this stupidity and fear with except getting up every morning and facing it again so I'd get less stupid and less fearful day by day.

But every day was a new opportunity to display my lack of knowledge, and boy, did I.
 
With nothing in my own power to abate my terror and embarrassment, I turned to my Co-Writer and I got up thirty minutes early every morning and said a rosary, some mornings that meant getting up at 4:30 am.  I didn't pray for him to make it easier on me, well, not every day, instead I prayed for strength to get through the day.  

I prayed that he would give me the strength to be the person he needed me to be that day and I prayed to Mary to lend me a measure of her grace and kindness. So at least when the day was finished, my co-workers might look at each other and say, "Well, she might be thick as a post, but she sure is nice." lol

With four days left on my contract, no one had said anything about extending, which didn't surprise me.  Besides, I'd already decided even if they begged me to stay, I wasn't going to,  God didn't mean for me to be this unhappy.  This was a sign that I needed to move on from the nursing profession.

Then they asked me to stay.

I worked another two weeks and on my last day, Friday, one co-worker pulled me out of a patient's room to hug me goodbye and say that he wished I would stay and that some of the others would go.  Another co-worker said she would miss my smile, my laughter and my disposition. Another that he had never heard me complain or criticize and he had worked with traveling nurses for ten years and that just didn't happen.  My charge nurse said she wasn't going to let me go.

I got my morning prayers answered.
 
In spite of my terror-filled summer, I had so many sublime moments.  Moments when everything was right in my world.  Where I was right in my world.  Even when I felt the stupidest and most scared, I loved myself and I was proud of myself.

I never had that when I was drinking.

And you can't reach sublime until you do.

P.S.  I'm glad to be back, I missed you guys.
 
 
 
 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Just LIving Life






Ok, I guess I better check in, if I must, do I have to ?

My work assignment finished up on July 20th and I have been living a very self-indulgent life since then.

Last week my two oldest grandsons, they're cousins, came to stay with me.  Just me and them with no Gameboys, no Xbox, no Playstation, hell, the DVD player didn't even work!  Boy, did we have fun!  I have to admit that I did lose my patience a couple of times though.  One night as we were playing Pictionary the younger of the two kept switching what he was supposed to be drawing in the middle of his turn.

Now I don't think I'm that hard core when it comes to playing friendly board games, but at one point the older cousin turned to the younger one and said, "Whoa! Don't get her so frustrated that she starts cussing again." ( I let a couple GD's  slip this week after one boot down the river incident and one ball-kicking incident. I'm not talking soccer or footballs, I'm talking gonads.)

I never laughed so hard in my life.  I told them they were more fun than a bunch of drunks.

This week, I have been completely on my own up here, (don't worry, the cap'n is still in the picture, he's just working.).  I can't even begin to explain how wonderful it has been. I get up in the morning, I piddle, I'm not talking about that kind of piddle but I do that too, and I write.  I eat lunch, btw I've gone back to an old diet site I used to follow Dr. Gourmet, the recipes are great, even though I have to admit I cheat a little bit on the no-salt and no-fat mayo and sour cream dictates.  I've lost a little weight but the best thing is, I feel healthier and the sugar cravings seemed to have abated.  A little bit.

Anyway, I eat, I procrastinate, I write a little more, I read about writing, I think about writing, I check my fb page, Mr. Stan decides he has to go out and piddle.... Let me tell you, this business of writing the world's greatest, most life-changing American novel is time consuming, hard shit.

So there you have it, an idyllic, extraordinarily, ordinary life.  I'd be lying if I said that old asshole liquor doesn't whisper my name sometimes. It does, some days more than others.  Some days it tries to convince me that I've learned my lesson, I'd know better next time. I'd be able to stop.

Fucking liar!

I just gently remind myself, that some people can drink and have the life described above.

But I can't!

But my little hermit world is about to come to an end, the cap'n returns home tomorrow then I leave on Sunday to go back to work at the same hospital where I was working before this short "stay-cation."  They actually want me back, can you believe it?  They must be desperate! LOL

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mountains

Last night my brother, sister-in-law,  nephew and I were returning from the cancelled fireworks show in our little mountain town.  The windshield wipers were slapping at the rain and my sister-in-law and I were singing along to "Chapel of Love" on the radio as we turned onto the "bumpety" washboard road up to our cabin.  It was full dark but you could see the hulk of the dark mountains in the night cloud mist.

I thought of those settlers that had lived in the group of log cabins up the road from our place more than one hundred years ago.  I thought of how those mountains had stopped them in their tracks and kept them from getting to where they wanted to go.  The promised land of California or Oregon or Washington, where the soil wasn't stingy and full of boulders, where the winters didn't last most of the year, where people could hang onto the promise of spring.  I thought of how even in the dark, you can feel those mountains looming over you, threatening at any moment to crush you, both physically and spiritually.

And I thought, I can't believe I'm singing along aloud to the radio with other people listening and I haven't been drinking.  And I can't believe that I my brother and sister-in-law brought my nephew back to see me after their last visit.  The visit that spurred this blog and my recovery, you can read about that catastrophe here in my very first blog Forgive Unto Thyself .

To give you a short synopsis, that visit started with me giddily drunk and playing ballerina across the stream, breaking my toe while trying to rescue an escaped flip-flop.  Somewhere in the middle of the visit my sister-in-law threatened to hide my bottle from me, I just smiled woozily at her and then promptly puked up the dinner she had just fixed as she sat beside me on the couch (nice, huh?).  The last three days of the visit I was in withdrawal and couldn't get myself out of my bed in the loft of our cabin while they tip-toed down below.  Did I mention that my six year old grandson was also visiting?

Suffice it to say, that I wouldn't have blamed them if they never came back.  But they did come back. Because, since that last visit I have climbed me some mountains and I've moved or torn down the ones that were standing in my way. 

 Mountains don't scare me anymore. I am no longer trapped in the dark, waiting for that crushing blow to come. 

I know how to climb.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Russell Brand on heroin, abstinence and addiction » The Spectator

I have to say I'm not a fan of Russell Brand's acting or humor, he should have been a writer because he can sure as hell write.  I'm not a heroin addict, but I can taste the envy he has for his former addicted self because I have felt it myself lately, that misguided sick yearning for the way things used to be,  right down to the middle of the night lonely sips of wine, right to the boozy lethargic ambivalence.

The escape at all cost, that's what it is.  It makes no sense at all to yearn for that misery but when booze or drugs has always been our go-to-guy for avoidance of all things bad and uncomfortable, it only makes sense that we would miss that instant sweet relief and dwell upon it when things are falling to shit around us, turning a blind eye to the piles of shit that booze and drugs wrought in our lives.

Don't get worried about me, I'm not gazing with longing at every liquor store or bar I pass, I'm just going through a stressful growth period and I know I'll come out the other side stronger. Because in the end all I have to do and the only thing I can do, as Russell says, is not drink. Period.

Russell Brand on heroin, abstinence and addiction » The Spectator

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah



Can I come home now?

I went to camp twice in my life and I hated it both times.  I was never the kid that was picked first for the tug-o-war, or the girl that the thirteen year old boy with a mustache and side-burns wanted to sneak into the woods with, or even the girl who got short-sheeted by all the mean girls.  Instead, I was the girl, whom, when everyone looks back at their old camp photos, everyone will have this to say about.

"I don't remember her."

I spent the whole long week at camp, both times, trying my best to be invisible.

Which is exactly how I feel right now.  Only, I'm fifty-one years old now and it's pretty ridiculous to feel like a twelve year old back at camp trying to escape notice.

Don't get me wrong, I'm going into work every day and busting my ass, and doing my best, and whistling while I work, but....I don't know.  I just don't want to be here.

I'm counting down the days until I can go home.

Here's the thing, I had a long run when I was the "cool" kid, the girl always picked to be the captain, the one who everyone else wanted to "hang" with.

And you know why?  Because I drank.  Because I was the life of the party.  And right now, I know, that if I was still drinking, if I got together with the rest of the gang after work for a couple of beers or glasses of wine, my experience here would be a totally different one. A warmer one.  I would belong.

I know, I know, I can still go out with the gang and not drink, and I have, but it's just not the same.  And the fact is, I  really don't want to. As I said on one of the message boards the other day, I'm too damn old to waste an evening doing something I don't want to do just to try to fit in.

I'm just ambivalent about this whole damn work thing, I'm not ambivalent about the work, I'll never be that, but it doesn't set me on fire anymore like it used to.   I no longer need to be the wittiest person in the operating suite, or the one that all the docs like, why was that ever important anyway?  I just want to go in and get my work done and then go home. 

And I hate that.

Boy, I do sound  like some whiny kid writing home from camp, but the thing is I miss you guys and I miss having the time to be a part of all this and my message boards and my toy drive and my flowerbeds and, of course, the cap'n and Stanley, the blind killer bichon.

The good news is that the panic has abated and been replaced by this ambivalence, but I'm not sure which is worse.  I have to admit that I have missed drinking, but I haven't wanted to drink, there's a big difference, but I have missed having that crutch or, more accurately, I have felt its absence more acutely. No more instant nerve soother, confidence booster, friend-maker, witty repartee tumbling off the tongue generator ready at the finger tips.

That's okay, I like the real me better anyway.  And if "they" don't, it just doesn't matter.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Leave Of Absence

Hey guys,
I'm back at work and my stress and anxiety level are at volcanic levels, so I'm going to put this poor little blog even further back on the stove until I get a little equilibrium back. This too shall pass. K

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Much Needed, Much Appreciated Good News

Apparently the "something" that the radiologist saw on the daughter-in-law's scans were her ovaries.  He had assumed that they had been removed when they did her hysterectomy (For the record, I think they should have been removed, get everything out of the war zone you can!) and he thought he was seeing a mass that shouldn't have been there.  So the scans were all clear after all!!

Thank you Jeezus!

Now she will be following up often, often, often and developing a very close relationship with her dr. for the next seven years which I'm sure will become a big pain in the butt.  But a very appreciated pain in the butt because she's going to survive every single one of those seven years and she'll be around for her kids to terrorize in their teens.

She's a lucky girl!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Moore Prayers

Life asked Death,
Why do people love me,
But hate you?

Death replied,
Because you are a beautiful lie,
And I am a painful truth.

One day when I was in kindergarten, I walked home from school to find a huge, gaping hole in our backyard.  My dad had decided to dig a storm cellar because my older sister was deathly afraid of storms and went into hysterics every time the tornado sirens would howl.  He thought having that hole under our back porch would calm her fears.  It did better than that, it scared off all the tornadoes.  Never in all the following years did we ever have to seek shelter from a tornado in that cellar. When I was young, I'd head down there with all my favorite stuffed toys, and some cheese and crackers every time the tornado watch ticker came across the bottom of the tv screen.  It was a lark.

I no longer consider tornadoes a lark.
 
 Not after Hoisington, Greensburg, Joplin, Moore x 2....
 
Not after I think of scared little kids who were counting down the hours until summer vacation, thinking of swimming pools and barbecues and tee-ball, huddled shoulder to shaking shoulder in a hallway.
 
I can't think of that without bursting into tears.  A few more days and school would have been out.  
 
Why?

My daughter-in-law went in for her scans today.  They saw something.
 
Why?

Tonight I want to be in a bar with a bunch of others, our eyes peeled to the TV watching news reports of the tornadoes and motioning to the bartender to keep them coming until we forget why we're there.  I want to drink until I no longer care why.  I really do.

But God and I decided two years ago that now was the time I needed to be sober, I needed to be STRONGER.

I don't know why.  I am afraid of what may be coming. 

But I will stay strong and I will stay sober.

Because.