Monday, December 28, 2015

Praying Big


I was blessed to spend sometime, however short, with my siblings this Christmas. At one point in the evening, my sister whipped out her phone and started scrolling through her pictures. We all know this is inevitable, in fact,  we often see this as permission to whip out our own phone and start scrolling through the pics of our grandkids and, kids as we regal our victims with their accomplishments. The twenty first century's version of the dreaded yearly Christmas letter.

My sister has no children or grandchildren.

"This is the ring, I'm going to get," she said. "And here is my coat. And this is my new house."

I tried to nod appreciatively but I'm sure she noticed the judgmental glint in my eye.

"I pray big," she said unabashedly.

I bit off my urge to inform her that she was praying for the wrong things. You're supposed to put others' needs before your own, Kathleen Ann. You should pray for peace or an end to hunger, not 5 carat rings and six car garages.

I was also blessed this Christmas to spend time with all of my own kids and grandkids. At one point, my three year old granddaughter twirled into the kitchen of my oldest son's house where I'd been imprisoned for four days.

"Grandma," she chirped. "Come play with me."

"I will Attie-bug, as soon as I'm done here," I assured her, as I scrubbed or stirred yet another pot.

She stuck out her lower lip and I refrained from informing her a rooster was going to come shit on it, as her great-grandmother Davis would have warned her.

"But I want you to come play now," she wheedled.

"Atalie-Jolene Davis, the world does not revolve around you," I informed her instead.

"Oh yes, it does," she assured me as she twirled back out of the room.

I shook my head. She'd learn soon enough, I thought. But then I thought, I hope she doesn't and why should she?  Her world should revolve around her.  She should always be the sun that lights up the world of all the other beings that wonder into her orbit. She should never rely on other people or other things to provide the light in her life

My world should revolve around me, too, I realized. It always should have. Instead I let others needs and booze and my own belief that I shouldn't outshine others suck up all the fire I had in me until there was nothing left but ash. Or so it seemed. But underneath all that gray ash an ember burned and once the ash was swept away and it was exposed and allowed to breathe in again, it alighted.  And once more there was light in my life. My light. 

It's up to me to keep it lit and be deserving of all the good things that venture into my orbit. Whether they be twirling granddaughters, grandsons that still like to hug their grandma, sons that think I'm humorous as all hell and the best cook in the world, a husband that thinks his world revolves around me (and it does), or five carat rings and winning lottery tickets.

So I sat down this morning to pray big, too. But then I realized my biggest prayers had been answered already. I am sober. I have my family back the way I want them. I am loved. I love myself.

 I can now pray for smaller things, it is a luxury that sobriety has granted me. 

So I'm praying for a sprawling old cabin with a big trestle table in the middle of the main room, long, benches on each side and a big stone fireplace that takes up a whole wall of the room. I'm praying for rows of four poster beds with thread-bare, faded quilts piled on them and rag rugs strewn about the place, spaced just far enough apart that you have to hop a little in order to make it to the next one before your feet touch the cold planks of the wood floor. 

I'm dreaming of generations of twirling, twinkling stars circling around the sun that I am once more.





Sunday, December 20, 2015

Falling Into Christmas



I subscribe to the WFS newletter and received this gem in my inbox this morning. I wished I would have received it earlier, before the madness of the holiday got in full swing, but it's not too late to salvage the most important and reverent days of this holiday. I think it interesting that Jean (Jean Kirkpatrick died in 2000 and this was taken from the WFS archives) says we should use our painful memories to bring us the joy that we sought so long while drinking. But it is so true, those painful, excruciating memories are so often the only things standing between me and a bottle of Jack Daniels. I love also that she describes herself as someone that fell into Christmas trees, she's my kind of gal.  If anyone of you would like information about how to subscribe to the WFS newletter, I'm your gal. 

Now, how about we quit making new painful memories and start repurposing those old ones? Love you guys!

Christmas Cheers?Christmas Blues?

Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

      This is the time of year for families, for relationships, for friendships to get together.  It is also a time of merriment.  But, most of all, it is a time of worship for a large part of the world.  Yet this is so often muted or forgotten in the mad pace of the Holiday Season.
      This is also the time of year when it seems as if the whole world is drinking.  Every time I turn around, someone is suggesting I have a drink.  Everywhere I go I see bottles of liquor, wine and beer.  Everyone seems to be drinking or talking about drinking.  Where was all of this free-flowing alcohol when I was drinking?  Did it flow as freely then and I missed it?  Or maybe I was the one drinking it without knowing it?  That’s possible!
      And all this leads me to ask, why do Americans celebrate this holiest of all periods with alcohol, alcohol, alcohol?
      Every Holiday Season I am reminded of those many terrible years when I put so many persons through hell, myself included.  I can remember, even now so many years later, the shakes, the hangovers, the remorse, the guilt, and the empty promises.  “No, I'll NEVER do it again.  I’m so sorry I ruined your Holiday,” I said, as I wondered where I’d get the money to get a drink to recover.  Or who I would visit to get the drinks I needed, and craved, and lied for.
      Oh, I thought it was so hilarious to help friends trim their Christmas trees and then fall into them accidentally because I was drunk.  That was funny... wasn’t it?  Now, all these years later, I feel disgust and pity for that drunken woman who was a disgrace to herself and to any who knew her.  I also feel great compassion, for there will be so many like her this year... next year... and all the years to follow.
      There is little humor connected to a drunken woman, yet I let myself be conned into thinking that I was the life of the party.  Never did I see that I was the fool of the party, that my actions were simply indefensible on any other grounds than that I was sick in body, mind, and spirit.  Yet that still did not, nor does not, take away the ill feeling, the sadness, the unhappiness I caused so many others.
      These musings of mine do not much help those of you who are still suffering during this Season.  I want to help you, for I feel great compassion toward, and for, those of you who wish the Holidays were over because of the temptations that surround you.  And I feel even more compassion for those of you who are unaware of the temptation that you might so innocently succumb to.  “Awe come on, just have one.  It won’t hurt you.  And, anyway, you can’t be the only one without a drink to toast the Season, can you?”  Oh, yes you can.
      Although this Season is tough for you, never let yourself be conned into believing there is nothing you can do.
      There is a great deal you can do.  There are symptoms we can observe and then take actions to counter them.  If we are edgy, or feel uneasy, or are ill-tempered, or angry often, or are depressed more than ever, or fatigued, or eating when not hungry, or very nervous, or generally out-of-sorts, now is the time to examine these emotions very carefully.  These feelings oftentimes mask our deeper subconscious feeling of wanting to drink.  We feel left out, not one of the crowd, sometimes we even feel rejected, but we don’t permit ourselves to know that we are reacting in sublimated ways.
      Early in the Holiday Season it is advisable for all of us to review our feelings about drinking and about all of the alcohol flowing around us.  Are we feeling good about ourselves or do we feel, that at any moment, we will ‘slip,’ let temptation overcome us?  Are we able to think clearly and realistically about our terrible days of drinking during other Holiday Seasons and now feeling true happiness for our sobriety and our good physical feelings, to say nothing about our mental and spiritual feelings?
      Oftentimes the most effective deterrent to our ever drinking again is the way we are able to remember the sad, and terrible, and awful, and unhappy, and sometimes, tragic times of years gone by.  These painful memories should help us to feel the happiness and joy we should be celebrating now.
      Those days of endless pain and constant recurring remorse are over, gone forever.  Now, this Season, we are able to feel good about ourselves.  We know that we are in charge of ourselves and our actions.  No one in this world can make any of us drink... only we can do that.  Now is the time to know, beyond any shadow of a lingering doubt, that we are alcoholic persons who cannot drink for physiological reasons.  We have a disease that is treatable and we are doing just that.
      Today, during this Holiday Season, we take charge of ourselves and know the truest joy and happiness in this Season.  We are confident about ourselves, and we know that we are truly blessed in our ability to handle ourselves.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Don't Lie


Okay, I haven't been posting, but I have been reading...some. I know that all of you newly sober and wanna be sober people are worrying yourself to death about all the upcoming Christmas parties and I have one solution.(Sorry, I'm too late for last night's party)

Don't lie to yourself!

Do not tell yourself this before the party:

 "I'm only going to have two, three at the most. I'll space them out. I'll drink water between. I'll be fine."

Instead, tell yourself this:

"If I drink, I am going drink until I am embarrassingly, flat-ass drunk. I am going to make a colossal fool of myself.. I'm going to sleep with someone I'll wish I hadn't. I'm going to make an inappropriate comment, probably lots of inappropriate comments to my co-workers and they will never again view me in the same light or with the same respect. I'm going to fight with my husband. I'm going to dread going into the office on Monday.  People are going to be talking about how I acted and laughing behind my back. (This is not a figment of your imagination.). I am going to think seriously about finding another job. I'm going to wish I'd never been born. I'm going to carry this feeling in my back pocket through out the holidays and on into the New Year and I'll pull it out again same time next year when the holidays roll around.  This feeling is going to crowd out other good feelings I have about myself. It is going to steal love from myself and foster hate in it's place.

Then tell yourself:

I am going to the party, but I will not drink and I am going to revel in that decision. I won't  need to fear what follows after the party, Instead, I can go on through my holidays with happiness and peace and a sense of well-being.

Merry Christmas, Amigos! I know you'll tell yourself the truth.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Excuses, excuses, excuses!

I could say I have been very busy lately, and that would be true. I could say, I needed to let one thing sit on the backburner for awhile or I was going to go crazy and that would be true to.

But here is what I've learned about letting my involvement with the sober blogging community and my forum family slide,

I miss you guys like crazy. You're my people.

You actually get what the world looks like from  my perspective. You know what it's like to move about in a world that is going to hell minute by minute, second by second, and not drink. You know how hard it is to long for an escape from the madness and watch while everyone else around you chooses booze as their escape route, leaving you standing as the only one "present and accountable."

I haven't fallen. Nor am I going to. Just writing this has given me fortification. But I've probably thought about succumbing more lately than I have in a long time. I've uttered the phrase, "I wish I could have a drink" more than I want to.

But I won't.

You and I, we are a special force in this world. We are stronger and better (Now we just need a secret handshake.) than those who drink. We are. We know that because we all tried so hard to convince ourselves for years that we were being the best we could be while we drank. Now, we know we couldn't.

For those of you still struggling to join us. Please don't give up. We need you. We need more of the strongest and the best in the world today. Now is the time for you to be the best that you can be.

May the force be with us!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My VACI


I always forget how busy this time of year is for me down here in Mexico. I'm running around like a crazy woman with the other "Elves" trying to make a lot of last minute jingle to buy toys for our kids down here. The toy drive was the first life line thrown to me when I was trying to get to shore while drowining in an ocean of booze.  It became my VACI, or Vital Absorbing Creative Interest as SMART Recovery calls it. I call it the first thing I fell in love with more than booze.  I wish I could say it happened on first sight and that the moment I was put in charge of providing a little Christmas joy to 800+ kids, I threw away the bottle, but it never happens that way. I stumbled through the first couple of years and a couple of drunk fiasco fundraisers before I finally chose the kids over the bottle. This Christmas will be my fifth sober Christmas.

An extra two hundred, or so, special needs kids landed in our laps a week ago and I've been scrambling to find funds for their toys. Luckily I had three secret Santas step forward immediately to cover the cost of their toys. It's funny down here. If someone stood up and said, "I hate kids" they'd get understanding nods even though most people don't hate kids. However, if I stood up and said, "I hate dogs!" I'd be stoned at the village square at midnight, then burned as a witch. Dogs win out over kids every time.

We spent yesterday down in the hot bowels of Centro Merida bargaining for toys in sweltering upstairs toy departments.  If you ever want proof that cold molecules are heavier than warm molecules, come to Merida and go upstairs in one of the cramped, clear a shelf every time you turn around with your wrecking ball of a purse, shop.  Then stay up there, slipping around on your own sweat, for three or four hours while the owner and his "elves" run around to the other fifty shops he owns trying to find five hundred identical toys because we've learned over the years that having a variety of toys can incite a riot among blood thirsty parents. Believe me, all the air conditioning stays downstairs.

Why do I continue to do it?  Our little village is definitely more prosperous than when I started coming here seven years ago and most parents can now buy toys for their kids because of the jobs that the growing expat community has brought. (BTW, before we get in a conversation that I've had way too often with the Grinches down here, Santa Claus had come to Mexico way before I got here, and our kids had to wonder why he was leaving them off his list.) But there are still a handful of kids that are very poor and it is that handful that I try to remember when I am so doggone sick of doing this.  I think of a little boy or girl that has waited and dreamed all year long for the night that they get a toy, just like every other kid in the village.

Oh yeah, it also keeps me sober.

So this started out as a whiny post about why I'm too friggin' drained to post lately, because we all know how strenuous lifting fingers up and down on a keyboard can be, but as usual, once I start complaining, I build momentum, like a fart with a ferocious tail-wind..

Abs Chat Tonight!

Abs Chat is focused on abstaining from alcohol—on a permanent basis,
long-term, or even for a shorter period of time (like a 30!).
Everyone is welcome to attend, and to participate, but we won't be
discussing moderation techniques or plans. For discussions of
moderate drinking, we invite you to participate in the Monday Night
Book Chat or the Tuesday Night Online Meeting.
So if you're abstaining, planning to, curious about it, wondering
whether it would be a good idea, or just want to hang out for sober
fun, stop by!
See you there! http://www.moderation. org/chat/

** PLEASE NOTE: Abs Chat will be held in the Abs Chatroom. When
logging in, use the drop-down box to select MM_Abs_Chat. If you wind
up in the wrong room, you can move between rooms by clicking on the
room list to the right of the chatroom screen. **

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Abs Chat Tonight: Stop By And Say "Howdy!"


Abs Chat Tonight! 

Abs Chat is focused on abstaining from alcohol—on a permanent basis,
long-term, or even for a shorter period of time (like a 30!).
Everyone is welcome to attend, and to participate, but we won't be
discussing moderation techniques or plans. For discussions of
moderate drinking, we invite you to participate in the Monday Night
Book Chat or the Tuesday Night Online Meeting.
So if you're abstaining, planning to, curious about it, wondering
whether it would be a good idea, or just want to hang out for sober
fun, stop by!
See you there! http://www.moderation. org/chat/

** PLEASE NOTE: Abs Chat will be held in the Abs Chatroom. When
logging in, use the drop-down box to select MM_Abs_Chat. If you wind
up in the wrong room, you can move between rooms by clicking on the
room list to the right of the chatroom screen. **

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Couldn't Help Myself!



I've been trying to ease the "f" word out of vocabulary. Just like drinking until I fell down started seeming more pathetic than cute when I hit 45, cussing like a sailor seems like another desperate ploy to hang on to my youth. Time to realize that the ship has sailed and it ain't coming back no matter how many F-bombs I toss out.  It just ain't who I'm aiming to fucking be these days. (I did say I was easing it out-slowly.)

But I'm giving myself a break from sanctity today, I need to staunch the blood flow from my nose that these lofty heights have brought about, and I couldn't help stealing this post from my friend, Jim, over at As Jim Sees It. He didn't post it on his blog, he posted it on facebook.  He is one of the most fucking funny guys I have ever heard and I read his posts daily just to laugh.

Here's a dose of Jim to prove my point and the good thing about this dose of Jim is that you won't have to follow it up with a round of antibiotics.  ;)

Jim, if you sue me for copyright infringement, you're going to be sorely disappointed in the rewards, the cap'n had been washing paper plates for years.
    "Dating is hard. Relationships are hard. Marriage is hard. Marriage is so hard Nelson Mandela got a divorce.
    Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in a South African prison getting tortured and beaten every day of his life for 27 years. He got out of jail, spent 6 months with his wife and said: "I can't take this shit!!!"

    "Instead of a condom, I keep a moist towlette in my wallet, because I run into buffalo wings a lot more often than sex."



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Funky



Skunk Ape:   a tall, hairy, upright-walking creature that smells like a black-striped funky-smelling creature and it appears to be coming out a little more often.  

I have been in a funk lately. There seem to be so many things I don't like about me and my life right now. Don't worry, I'm not going to list them.  Oh, how I miss the days when just waking up without a hangover seemed like a brand new resurrection every morning.

I think I need a day of indulgence. A day spent reading a book or binge watching Grey's Anatomy and eating potato chips and dip without guilt.  Anybody have any ideas on how to do that? I find myself telling myself all day long, "No, you can't do that, you need to do this." Being told "No" all the time is making me cranky and my inner six year old is throwing a tantrum and refusing to do what she's supposed to be doing anyway. So I'm stuck between not doing what I want and not doing what I need to do, which means I'm not doing anything.

This, too, shall pass.

I just need to move in one direction or another.

Wow! Such words of wisdom today. Hey, sobriety is not always profound. Sometimes it's funky.


I do have one ray of sunshine to pass on. A friend of mine over at Moderation Management has just started a blog, ModeratelySober.  If you're going for moderation instead of permanent abstinence from alcohol, check it out. The author has been successful moderating for a year now, so it can be done.

For some.

Not all.

How do you know if you're one of the Some?

I think the best way to tell is to try moderation under the guidelines and with the support of a group like MM.  This is not without risk. Just like those who choose permanent abstinence from alcohol, MM'ers are not immediately successful and tend to experience the same old waffling and shuffling and falling flat on their faces and rising up again that we all do in this sobriety game. That can be dangerous for those who are physically addicted to booze, like I was.

But, as stated above, the back and forth, and careening into trees happens when people head directly toward permanent abstinence without passing through Moderationville, too. I view my year attempting moderation as that same erratic time in early sobriety that is testified to by many bloggers who are pursuing abstinence.  A time of questioning of whether I really needed to stop.  I guess, for me, it seemed that if I had a guidebook in hand and a bunch of people telling me which way to go instead of just wondering around in the forest on my own, and I still couldn't find my way out of that f'ing forest, I needed to quit going in there before something large and hairy ate me.

The more insidious danger, of  attempting moderation for those that will not succeed, The Not All Gang, is getting trapped in that forest and thinking that because they've managed to survive and not get eaten by a big hairy sharp toothed creature, we should stay in the f'ing forest and keep trying.  Sometimes harm reduction keeps us from getting to the increase in good that is waiting for us outside of the forest in the sunlit meadow. We survive, but we don't thrive.

Oh yeah, the sunlit meadow. That's where I am.

Thank You, for reminding me.

P.S. Successful moderate drinkers can reach the sunlit meadow, too. The author of ModeratelySober is here.  But if you've been stuck in that f'ing forest so long that you're starting to grow moss in your fecund dewy parts, put down the drink and come enjoy the sun for awhile.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Abs Chat Tonight



Hi all,
I'll be hosting Abs Chat Tonight at the MM Chatroom. Abs Chat is for anyone who is absing for any amount of time, anyone who is curious about absing. Sorry, absing, is MM lingo for not drinking. Over at MM we believe that sobriety can also be reached by successful moderation for some.
But Wednesday nights are all about not drinking at the MM chatroom and no talk of moderation is allowed.
So if you want to chat. lurk or just hang out so you don't drink, stop by. Here's the info and link.

Abs Chat Tonight! 

Abs Chat is focused on abstaining from alcohol—on a permanent basis,
long-term, or even for a shorter period of time (like a 30!).
Everyone is welcome to attend, and to participate, but we won't be
discussing moderation techniques or plans. For discussions of
moderate drinking, we invite you to participate in the Monday Night
Book Chat or the Tuesday Night Online Meeting.
So if you're abstaining, planning to, curious about it, wondering
whether it would be a good idea, or just want to hang out for sober
fun, stop by!
See you there! http://www.moderation. org/chat/

** PLEASE NOTE: Abs Chat will be held in the Abs Chatroom. When
logging in, use the drop-down box to select MM_Abs_Chat. If you wind
up in the wrong room, you can move between rooms by clicking on the
room list to the right of the chatroom screen. **

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Possible Me


Okay, I admit it, when others post videos on their blogs or on the message boards I prowl, I usually skip right over them. But do yourself a favor, and watch this one. The name of it is Who We Are When We Are Not Addicted: The Possible Human, and it answered so many questions I had in my struggle to reach sobriety and so many questions I have right now.

I think the thing that hit me to the core is when Dr. Mate said that he is a firm supporter of twelve step programs, but he is uncomfortable when someone stands up and says, "Hi, my name is -----and I'm an alcoholic"  because that is not who that person is.

I identify myself as many things. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a nurse. And I am an alcoholic.  But that is not really who I am. Those are roles that I play or have played and they have contributed to who I am.  But they have not made me into those things. 

When I was drinking, I can remember, time and time again, holding my head in my hands and saying, "This is not who I am. This is not me."  It wasn't. And I didn't want what I was doing to myself  to deform who I was. But I kept drinking and it did deform or reform who I am.


Who am I?

I can tell you who I think I am right now, but that still is not me at my essence.

I am someone who is good. I am someone who wants to make life better, for me, for others, for nature, for God. But I am still someone who relies too much on others opinions of me and it suppresses the real me.  I am still someone who is attached too much to approval and reward even when I'm doing what I think is good and right.

I found this video today while doing my daily exercise in avoidance of doing what I think I should be doing. I'd gone to youtube to find the playlist that is supposed to make me feel positive and energetic, the one I listen to when I try to write.  I happened to see a Russell Brand video of when he is talking to some legislative body about why he is against the decriminalization of drugs and that held my attention for a bit.  Then I happened to see the link to this video and followed it. Usually, when I see any video that is an hour long, I pass right by it, but I was in serious avoidance mode.

I'm glad I did. It validated so many of the things that I have found to be true in sobriety. That it does no good to reason with your addicted brain, that you have to tap into that inner you, the one that you know is there and screaming, "This isn't me!" That alcohol and addiction is just another veil we put up between us and the world. That we don't want to grow up and deal with the world. 

That the biggest loss in our life comes not from our parents not loving us enough or abusing us but the fact that we suppressed our inner selves, those selves that they did not love, so they would love us.

My parents loved me. I've never blamed them for my drinking. I blame the fact that I was a shy, awkward, smart kid that grew to be a shy, awkward, smart adolescent and we all know that our society does not honor this. We are expected to be outgoing and vibrant and witty. For awhile I did a pretty good job at acting like I was all those things, but it was an act. Then I found booze. Instant exuberance elixir.

And I stayed stuck right there at awkward and ungainly in my mind's eye, unless I was drinking, until I got sober.

Then the real me took a deep breath and stepped out onto the stage. I was terrified that no one would like me. That I wouldn't like myself. And you know what? There are things I don't like about myself. But I can't explain the ease of life and the rightness of it, now that I am living it as myself. 

I wish I was at the Possible Me. Someone who saw herself  as someone that has something to offer that no one else has. And that something is beautiful and shining just as it is. That it is just as good as what anyone else has to offer. That it  does not need someone else's approval or admiration to make it shine. 

That something is me!

This video gave me a lot of courage to become the possible me and the insight that if I don't allow myself to be the possible me, in the fullest most unbridled sense possible, I am depriving the world.

I'm obviously not there yet, because I really think I should go back and delete  the last five words of the last sentence.

But I'm not going to. So there.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag

As some of you know, for the last two months I have been in the process of writing a book. No, not that old book, a brand new one.  This one is a Guide to online recovery communities.  It includes the blogging community and I have contacted several of you when I have read one of your blogs that I thought spoke to a certain population of the community and asked if I could include it along with your own description of how blogging has helped you in your journey to sobriety.  It is my goal with this book to not only allow the reader to hear my own voice but to provide a selection of voices so they can find the one they most relate to.  I am including blogs from bloggers who moderate, bloggers in early sobriety (1-3 months),  6 months,  a year, three years, and beyond.  I am also including bloggers who have relied on other programs along with their blog, including AA, rehab, or outpatient therapy. I wish I could include all of the wonderful blogs that I follow, but I have limited space.  Many of the bloggers that I have contacted have graciously agreed to join me in my endeavor, but I am still looking for bloggers who are in early recovery and bloggers who have used out patient therapy or rehab.  Also, if you have used another means of therapy or have a unique perception of recovery, I'd love to include you also.  If I cannot use your entire blog, I will try to use your insight in another section of the guide and, of course, provide a live link back to your blog.  I am also planning a future book called "Keeper," which will include snippets and quotes of wisdom that I've gathered from the blogosphere and message boards if you have any favorite quotes or words of wisdom that you would like to share to help others on this trek..

**My only rule for submissions is that they cannot criticize or be derogatory of other means of recovery.

***If you would like to contribute, please email me at karymayhickey@gmail.com. I would like to have submissions by the end of this month for my current book.

Online recovery websites and forums are a very important part of my journey so, of course, they are included in my book also.  I am reviewing several websites that offer a full range of services such as forums or discussion boards, chatrooms and other unique amenities.  Several of the websites have offered support and have provided additional info.

The working title of the book is Neighbor Kary May's Homebody Travel Guide to Sobriety.  That's a mouthful, I know, (I'm up for suggestions) but I want to emphasize that most of us try by ourselves for a long time before we realize that we need "neighbors" to help us out and that we can find those neighbors without ever leaving our houses.  Some of you were able to take yourselves to meetings or therapy, but I wasn't, and there are many others like me out there.  That doesn't mean we don't want it bad enough. For some of us online communities will be enough, but for others, online "neighbors" will open the doors to more traditional programs.  Sobriety is the most monumental journey of our life and the book outlines what to pack for the trip and what to leave behind and suggestions for the reader's toolboxes.  It also outlines what to expect along the way, that is where the different blogs from different periods of sobriety come in.

If any of you want to share an insight that you thought made a significant difference in your own journey, I can't wait to hear about it and share it with others.

Thanks,
Kary

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throw Back Thursday: It

As I read through the blogs in the last week, I tried to remember when I knew that "this time was the last time" so I went back to read my posts four years ago when I decided that I was DONE!

Here is the post I wrote the day after I declared that I was no longer going to try to moderate.  I relapsed once after that, but that's a whole 'nother fucked up story.

IT

Day 12
Someone on the Moderation Management List asked me to write more about why I decided to permanently abs instead of continuing to try my hand at moderating. I've been putting off writing this blog all morning because the commitment I made yesterday still scares me and I have moments where I wish I could take it back and because the reasons are so many and some of them are so hard to put into words. But I'll try. Here goes.
It just doesn't make any sense anymore. As I said on the WFS (Women for Sobriety) message board yesterday. I'm a smart woman but I have continued to let alcohol fool me. "It's" good at it. For a long time, "it" masqueraded as my best friend. "It" was always there when I need "It". If I was lonely, "It" kept me company. If I was sad, "It" made me laugh. When I felt awkward, "It" gave me confidence and when I doubted myself, "It" reassured me. When I was afraid, "It" gave me courage. "It" was there through the good and the bad times. 
Then "It" turned on me. "It" made me lonely. "It "made me sad. " It" made me awkward. "It" made me doubt myself. "It" made me afraid. "It" physically and emotionally abused me. But like the abusive spouse to which "It" is often compared, "It" kept drawing me back with the promise that "It" would stop hurting me and it would be good between us again. "It" never lived up to its promise. The abuse got worse and "It" told me I couldn't live without "It", that nobody wanted me or liked me without "It". I found out "It" was wrong. I opened the door to the prison in which "It" held me and saw another world out there waiting for me. I got brave enough to step outside a time or two but something would always scare me, or make me sad, or lonely, or unsure, or sad and I would run back inside to "It". But it was too late. I'd had a glimpse of that other world I wanted to see more of it. I kept sneaking through the door and I started going further and further. I still got sad, and scared, and lonely and unsure but not as much  as when I lived with "It". I found out that others still liked me and wanted me and I started liking myself again. When I used to be in one of my recovery modes, half of me praying that I didn't die and the other half hoping that I would, my husband would say, "I want my wife back." I want her back too. So I've closed the door and I've left my key behind. It's time to move.

When I was driving around this morning trying to pinpoint the main reason that I feel this time is "the time" for me my Co-Writer nudged me and said,

"I have a purpose for you and it sure as hell isn't living your life as a drunk."

I started crying and I knew that was the main reason that I'm not going to risk my life again.

So today I'm out there doing my best to fulfill my purpose and live up to my potential.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Art Of Crash Landing



   I just finished reading the book,   The Art Of Crash Landing  .  It is a fun and heartwarming story about the daughter of an alcoholic.  Fun and heartwarming story about a mother who is alcoholic?  I know. We don't see many of those hit the bookshelf.  The book was written by my friend, Melissa DeCarlo and although she illustrates well the resentments the adult daughter holds on to regarding her mother's drinking, she also shows how perfectly imperfect and loveable beings are formed from imperfect love.

The protagonist, Mattie, is strong and smart and uproariously funny.  Just like so many members of the sober community, a lot of us products of alcoholic parents ourselves.

Read it.  When you fall in love with Mattie, you just might fall in love with yourself.  When Mattie forgives her mother, you might just forgive yourself.

Here is the review I wrote of the book:

Melissa DeCarlo's "The Art of Crash Landing" is like a ride on The Twister at the State Fair, complete with quirky side-show characters that you keep wanting to sneak more peeks at. There's just enough speed and twists to leave you gasping and giddy with laughter, but it never makes you so dizzy you wish you could yell at the carnie to stop the ride and let you off. In fact, when it ends, you wish you had another ticket to make the ride last a little longer.

The main character, Mattie, has survived, admittedly, a "douchebaggy" childhood, but DeCarlo's novel illustrates that from imperfect love, perfectly imperfect and loveable beings are formed. That is what Mattie is, perfectly imperfect and infinitely more loveable because of it. With her knack for saying the perfectly wrong thing at the perfectly wrong time, with perfect panache, she's a gal you want to hang out with but at the same time, you want to take her shoulders and just shake, shake, shake some sense into her.

When she sets off, with her musician boyfriend's beloved "collectors-item-near-mint-condition-brown-leather-guitar-strap-signed-by-Jimmy-Page-and-Jeff-Beck, and his not so beloved baby in her belly, on yet another misguided, not-so-well-thought-out trip to Gandy, Oklahoma to claim her grandmother, Tilda's inheritance, Mattie never realizes that in Gandy, OK, she will meet her match in perfectly imperfect people. A half dozen or so of them. And they are the ones that hold all the secrets to her past.

The author's wit steps forward from the first paragraph and just keeps marching through the pages, but she never forgets that smart retorts and sass often has pain hiding behind it. Her characters are not only likeable, they are loveable, with enough sad history stored in each one of them to make them poignant. Everyone should have a Queeg in their life, by the way.

Anyone looking for a lighthearted and fun read with characters you wished lived right next door will want to jump on this ride.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Four Years Of Breathtaking Normalcy


I am one of those dumbasses who waited until alcohol had painted such a bleak picture that normal life took on the shimmer and light of a Thomas Kinkade painting, so full of effusive light spilling out of windows and glistening every day life that it made my chest ache with longing.  I wanted that so bad but I thought it was a fairy tale.

And it was.

Real life doesn't glisten.  There aren't mittened skaters holding hands and doing loop-de-loops out on frozen ponds around every corner in the winter. Sometimes winter is just cold and bitter. Summer days can be endless and sweaty.  And those rose smothered thatch roofed cottages that Kinkade paints so well would have to have wasps' nests under the eaves. And I'm still lazier and rounder in the middle than I want to be.

Welcome to Sobriety, the Normal Life edition.

The other day I drove to Colorado Springs to look at a dog. (Yes, I'm getting the itch.)  I headed home dogless but on the way back I spotted a side road that lead along a stream.  It's fall here and the colors are starting to change and the light is so amazingly clear...so I took the road.  I drove for about twenty minutes along this sparkling stream and it hit me, I had become so accustomed to this, this freedom, that I've come to think of  it as normal.  Nothing special.  Run of the mill.

I had to remind myself that four years ago, the thought of driving into town for groceries almost sent me into a panic attack.  I would have probably had to have had a couple of glasses or more of wine before I had calmed or revived myself enough to go.

Talk about bleak..

Now, here I was driving along a back road without a speck of panic in my veins, without the constant weariness I had come to think of as normal, without the itch to get home or reach for the bottle under the seat. Instead the window was rolled down, the radio was blasting and I was at ease. I had all the time in the world.

It took my breath away.

Yesterday, the cap'n and I donned waders and got out in our stream above to toss around boulders to build the cascade you see upriver.  For a little while we forgot we were old and any slip on the slippery riverbed could result in fractures of very necessary bones and we splashed and stomped and whooped it up and grabbed onto each other to keep from falling.

Until we were breathless.

Then we sat back and admired our work and the music the water made as it tumbled over the rocks.

Last night we lit a fire in the fire pit and watched the flames dance and the sparks erupt while the stars peeked down from above.  There were no bleak thoughts or worries that the morning would demand payment, except for aching backs and shoulders from all that boulder tossing.

Kind of sounds like a fairy tale doesn't it?

But it isn't.

It's just normal life. The Sober Edition.

P.S. You know I actually started out writing this post with the intention of passing on the news that sober life isn't all glitter and gold, but that normal has it's own reward.  As is usual, my Co-Writer had other ideas and I guess he took this opportunity to remind me to take more notice.

Sobriety does glisten.

Hey you, up there, thanks for reminding me.

P.P.S. One of my friends on the MM forum reminded me that Thomas Kinkade died of acute alcohol and valium intoxication.  As I read more about his death at 54 I found out he had apparently had been arrested and served ten days in jail on a DUI charge eighteen months before his death. Two months before his death, he was found unconscious and spent days in a coma and was told if he didn't get help, he would die.
There but for the Grace of God...

Hey you, up there, thanks again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Birdhouses


For years I've wanted to get all of my grandkids to paint birdhouses for me.  I had this vision that we'd hang them on scattered trees throughout our property, each with their name and date painted in a childish scrawl on the bottom.  I could see us walking hand in hand through the forest every year looking for their particular birdhouse to see if some lucky bird had made it a home.  I saw generations of  those tiny birdhouses everywhere, I practiced gazing with appropriate wonder-filled eyes at every artful avian domain presented to me by pudgy paint spattered hands.  I linked a lineage of marshmallow and Hershey bar sticky fingers with  mine as we traipsed around mapping the colorful mini domiciles.

"Your daddy painted that one when he was your age," I imagined myself saying.

That was my dream.

This year I had the chance to start building that dream when two of my grandsons came to stay.  I was giddy as I strolled the aisles at Hobby Lobby picking out paint and cute little wood appliques.
Finally the big day came, the sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky.  I spread a big square of plastic sheeting on the ground under the trees,  arranged all the little pots of paint and found some old t-shirts for my grandsons to wear. The lucky birds swooped overhead to oversee the process.

 I settled in next to my grandsons to share in their delight as they lost themselves in creative abandon.

"Go crazy," I said, fluttering my hands.  "Use as many colors as you want."

Five minutes later:

"I'm done," the seven year old said, as he threw his paint brush down. "I'm going to go throw rocks in the river."

I looked at his birdhouse.  I tried to summon up my wonder-filled eyes.  It was green.  All green.  No cute little flowers or butterflies painted in florescent pinks and purples or Jackson Pollack-like explosions of paint.  Just green.

"Don't you want to add some more color?" I asked.  "We won't even be able to find this among the trees."

"Nope," he said. "I like green."'

"I done, too," the three year old said. "Let's go throw rocks."

At least his was two colors.  Orange and green.

Those were the ugliest damn birdhouses I'd ever seen.  I thought about adding some little flowers and butterflies of my own, but that would have defeated the purpose.  I didn't want to walk through the forest in ten years and say, "Look at that pretty little birdhouse I painted for you."  I wanted them to see what they had painted.  I wanted them to be proud of it. 

 I wanted them to remember this day with fond memories.

So I let them go throw rocks.  Maybe next time I'll let them shoot paint balls at their birdhouses.  Not my dream, but probably closer to theirs.

I wander through the blogs on a daily basis.  I read the comments, especially on the blogs written by bloggers caught in the struggles of early sobriety. I hear the "want this so bad for you " in the replys of all of us that have been there, that made it through.  We want so bad to paint their birdhouses for them. To paint neat rows of tulips and bees happily buzzing about.  We want to see a nest being built twig by twig and momma and daddy birds teaching their young to fly.  We want to walk with them a year or ten from now and look up and point and say, "See how far you've come?  We knew you could do it."

But we can't.

All we can do is let them keep throwing rocks in the stream.  All those endless rocks that make a big splash and then sink beneath the water.  All we can do is sit and wait for them to come back from  the bank of that tumbling river and settle underneath the trees with us and pick up their brushes and make their own beautiful life.

All we can do is keep making our life more beautiful day by day for them to see.   To pull them back from the river.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Workin' It!



I started my second week of couch potato to 5K and I still hate it.  In fact, I was in a bad mood all night last night just knowing that I was going to get to get up this morning and do it. (Note that I said "get to get up and do it" instead of "have to." I"m working hard at changing my mindset.  It ain't working.)  I was even grumpier this morning.  And I thought more than once about just saying screw it.

But I didn't.

I got out there and I panted and cussed through my one minute intervals and all the while I kept thinking, if I quit, I'm a fraud.  Every day I get up and I get on the computer and tell people that all their hard work and suffering is going to be so worth it.  That they have to look at the big picture and remember why they're doing this.

Then I thought and asked myself, "Why are you doing this?"

Because I hope to be around twenty years from now.  Because I hope to be healthier this time next year.  Because I hope to be stronger tomorrow than I am today.  Because I hope to reach that point  when I reap the rewards and the biggest reward will be the pride I have in myself.  Because I hope if I can do this one more thing for myself, I will be able to do other harder and more rewarding things.

Hope is important.  But Hope is not enough.

It reminds me of when I was quitting drinking,

To all of my amigas and amigos out there that are just starting out, remember that you are getting stronger with every day and every minute.  It will get easier.  It will be worth it.  Don't quit dreaming of the rewards, it is a gift that keeps on giving.  You will carry the knowledge of your accomplishment forever.  And you will be proud.  Forever.

If you can do this, you can do anything.

And you can do this.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Good, Just Pretty Damn Good!


"Good! Just pretty damn good!" was an expression of my dad's.  If you asked him how his steak tasted, if you asked him how the fishing was , if you asked him how he felt, as he lay in bed with tubes coming out of every orifice after bypass surgery, you knew that was going to be his response.

He was not a complainer, my dad.

I'm not complaining today either.  I'm on my second day of the couch potato to 5K program (I should have checked to see if they had a Couch Potato Plus program) and I went out and ran my prescribed 1 minute increments-Did I hear you say, "Oooooh! Ahhhhhh! Woooow!"-except for the last one, I only made it 30 seconds.  I hated every lung ripping moment of it, thank you.

But I came home and tore off my sweatshirt and stood there in the kitchen in my sports bra and sweats and grabbed the jug of milk out of the fridge, just like you see in the commercials, except in the commercials the actress doesn't have a doughy white midriff lapping over the waistband of her sweats.  I fixed myself a bowl of cereal and went outside and sat on the step and ate it.  Out in the morning sun.  In all my glory.

I felt Good! Pretty damn good!

Abs chat was great last night.  Several chatty chatters showed up which always makes it fun.  One of our guys is contemplating giving up 500+ days of abs to have some wine for his 25th anniversary in Hawaii.  I don't know if we talked him out of it or not, but at least he's got some other voices in his head other than his own.  How brave was that for him to even admit he was thinking about it, huh?

We had a couple of confessions, including one of my own.  It made me feel so good, I am driven to confess on here, too. I may have even already confessed on here, I don't really remember, because I wasn't really giving much weight to my transgressions.  So here goes.

I have taken sips of alcohol every now and then throughout my sobriety.  I'm a big girl, I know the difference between a drink and a sip.  I think the last ones were in January in San Miguel de Allende when the cap'n and I were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.  I took three sips of wine. I didn't feel the urge to drink more.  The ghosts of drinking past did not chase me through my days after that.  It was the same with the other sips I have taken in the last four years-not weekly, not even monthly.  Those sips did not talk me into jumping on the sled and riding it to the bottom of the slippery slope.

Those sips are not important to me.  The thing that is important to me, is that I have been sober for almost four years, those sips did not sacrifice my concept of sobriety.

But I know those sips are important to others.  I know they believe that I have indeed compromised my sobriety.

And that's okay.  They can believe what they believe.

I believe what I believe.

Those sips were not totally benign though, because once more I was carrying a secret because of alcohol.  I made a pledge in my very first post on here that I would be honest and by withholding this truth, I was being dishonest.  That is like rubbing a diamond in mud, or worse, shit.

So today, I'm cleaning that diamond back up.  I don't know if I will refrain from sipping in the future, but I will refrain from hiding it.

How do I feel after my confession?

Good! Pretty Damn Good!

P.S.  I took this post down last night because I really had to think about how I was going to respond to any negative comments about it, if I got any.  I worried that my other blogger friends would think I was a hypocrite, and I worried about the same thing myself. But I'm not a hypocrite, I post about being sober and I am sober.   I am okay, more than okay, with how I have treated my sobriety. The reason I posted this to begin with was so that anyone else that might be hiding something that they are afraid that everyone else will see as a reason for shame, a reason to start all over-we never start back at Day 1 on this journey, that doesn't even make sense-would know it is okay.  If you are happy with your sobriety, if you are at peace, that is what is important.

Thank you to the dear friend that gave me the sign I was looking for to put this back up.

All my best, Kary


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Abs Chat Tonight: Who's Bringing The Guacamole

If any of my blogger friends are craving some real time sober interaction, stop by. I'll mix up a pitcher of no-jitos! See ya there! Kary

9 PM Eastern, 8 Central, 7 Mountain, 6 Pacific

Abs Chat is focused on abstaining from alcohol—on a permanent basis,
long-term, or even for a shorter period of time (like a 30!).
Everyone is welcome to attend, and to participate, but we won't be
discussing moderation techniques or plans. For discussions of
moderate drinking, we invite you to participate in the Monday Night
Book Chat or the Tuesday Night Online Meeting.
So if you're abstaining, planning to, curious about it, wondering
whether it would be a good idea, or just want to hang out for sober
fun, stop by!
See you there! http://www.moderation.org/chat /
** PLEASE NOTE: Abs Chat will be held in the Abs Chatroom. When
logging in, use the drop-down box to select MM_Abs_Chat. If you wind
up in the wrong room, you can move between rooms by clicking on the
room list to the right of the chatroom screen

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Recollection, A Rant and an Apology


My mind is spinning in all directions today and I just can't quite decide whether I want this to be a blog about a fond recollection, a rant or an apology.  So I'm going to go off on all three tangents and try to tie them all together with one string.  Just pretend that you're the cap'n and you're trying to piece together the fragments of my random conversations and not say the wrong thing.

Recollection:  One Friday night when I was about 11 or 12, my godmother, Lucy, whose house was four doors down from ours (Poor Lucy didn't know when she agreed to stand up at my baptism that I was going to move in the next day, eat up all her ice cream and Hershey's syrup for eighteen years  and never go home until my wedding night.) came home from work with a bottle of wine and a new Roger Whittaker album.  Her daughter, Lisa, and I rolled our eyes and snorted.  Who did she think she was?  Some sophisticated jetsetter? (Yes, Whistling Roger Whittaker was considered high-brow for my neighborhood.  If you haven't heard of him, you'll have to youtube him.  I have few enough readers, I don't want to drive the rest of you off by posting a link.)  Lucy, recently divorced, when the word divorce was still whispered or spelled out, had always been our neighborhood's reluctant representative to the now archaic women's lib movement.  The first mother on our block to get a job.  The first divorcee.

And now she was drinking wine and listening to Roger Whittaker!

Little did we know, as Lisa and I snickered behind our cupped hands, that she was lifting a torch that we would so eagerly snatch up and run with into our womanhood.


(That's Lisa on the left and me on the right. I have no idea who the not-so-perky gal in the middle is, just some drunk that wandered by that we talked into becoming part of a threesome.  JUST KIDDING! I don't know any of these women.)

Rant:  I'm sure some of you have noticed the brilliant quotation at the top of this page  and sighed or exclaimed, "Really? I don't get enough of this shit on my facebook page?  Now, I'm being reminded of what an outcast I am on the sober blogs."  I hear ya!  I'm sick of the virtues of wine being forced down my throat.  I'm sick of seeing 50+ year old woman acting like twenty somethings, and calling themselves and their drinking biddies, uh, I mean buddies, by stupid little names like the "Sotted Sluts" or the "Bombed Out Barflies" (okay, I'm being mean, but you get my drift).  News alert ladies, you are not in high school anymore, this is not Grease, you are not a Pink Lady, and John Travolta isn't going to jump out of a car, swivel his hips and break into "Sandy."  Grow up.  Have a little more respect for yourself. (God, I hate how old that makes me sound.)  And quit trying to prove to me that your life is so much more exciting and colorful than mine.  I remember very well what good wine tastes like when it's hurling itself up from my bowels in techicolor pink and burgundy, thank you very much.

But what pisses me off more than anything else, is that I let these posts make me feel left out and sad.

Apology:  To my younger sisters-in-arms in this battle against booze, those in their thirties. I'm sorry, it was the women of my generation who made this mess you find yourself in.  See, we didn't grow up in a time when women took bottles of wine to baby showers, an iceberg of lime sherbet floating in a crystal punch bowl full of Hawaiian Punch was about as adventurous as our mothers got.  They didn't meet with the gals after work for a couple of shots or have Ladies' Nights Out.  They didn't even have bachelorette parties-they believed that at least one party of the wedding celebration should be dignified and sober.  That was the womans' role.

It was us, the women that came of drinking age in the late seventies and eighties, that thought we needed to breach one more male stronghold.  While our mothers made the first forays into the working world, we made the first forays into the drinking world.  Unlike our mothers, we didn't rush home from work to vacuum, put a load  of wash in and get supper started.  We headed for the bars. Then we came home, vacuumed, put a load of wash in and got supper started.  All this before we sat down, blurry-eyed and spent, to go through backpacks and help with homework.

Now we find ourselves, in the midst of our fifties and sixties, looking back and wondering where we lost ourselves.  Where the heck did  we put our dignity?

My younger sisters, you are so brave for tackling this in this day and age, but you can do it.  You've got to do it, for those that are following after you, your daughters.

Just like this blog, we've left a snarled mess behind us, and it's up to you to untangle it.

Stop the madness. Give us back our dignity.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Abs Chat Tonight

If any of you are interested in stepping away from the blogging desk tonight and would like a chance to chat with others going through the same struggles and TRIUMPHS you are, stop in.  I'll be there.  This is a chat sponsored by Moderation Management so some of the chatters will be people who have not chosen to abstain permanently but are absing for a period of time or are curious about permanent absing.  We do not talk about moderation at this chat.

Here's how to get there.

9 PM Eastern, 8 Central, 7 Mountain, 6 Pacific

Abs Chat is focused on abstaining from alcohol—on a permanent basis,
long-term, or even for a shorter period of time (like a 30!).
Everyone is welcome to attend, and to participate, but we won't be
discussing moderation techniques or plans. For discussions of
moderate drinking, we invite you to participate in the Monday Night
Book Chat or the Tuesday Night Online Meeting.
So if you're abstaining, planning to, curious about it, wondering
whether it would be a good idea, or just want to hang out for sober
fun, stop by!
See you there! http://www.moderation.org/chat /
** PLEASE NOTE: Abs Chat will be held in the Abs Chatroom. When
logging in, use the drop-down box to select MM_Abs_Chat. If you wind
up in the wrong room, you can move between rooms by clicking on the
room list to the right of the chatroom screen. **

****Also, as you are signing in, under the sign in box you will see to little circles with the words Flash or Mobile.  I chat from my computer, so I always select "Flash".  Some of the people that have been using their mobiles have been having a problem with getting kicked out of the chatroom now and then.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Too Brief A Moment In The Sun: A Tribute To Kaiser Carlile


I grew up in a small town where summer days were spent tearing through the streets on stingray bicycles, baseball cards flapping in the spokes until they were tatters. Coke bottles were hauled in rusty red wagons to the corner store to trade for  small coins which were then traded for penny candies, kept safe from sticky fingers behind the checkout counter that was tended by a bee-hived, soft-hearted, impossibly patient woman named Flo.

Evenings were spent under the bright lights of the Bee Jay field, where we cheered on our favorite players-we knew every one of their names-ran back and forth to the concession stand too many times too count, and cultivated school girl crushes on those golden boys of summer.

To us small town kids, those boys were larger than life.  To the young boys of our town, they were heroes to be emulated.  In the way they slung their curve balls, spat their chew, and winked at the girls. I realize, now, they were just boys themselves, but back then, they were the closest thing to gods as kids in Liberal, Kansas were ever likely to encounter.

Every local boy, including my brother, Mike, waited anxiously for their turn as batboy, their chance to rub shoulders with the big boys, to shine.  Their moment in the sun.

On Saturday, in Wichita, Kansas at the National Baseball Congress World Series-the "Big Show" for collegiate minor league teams- Kaiser Carlile's moments in the sun were tragically cut short.  The nine year old batboy was struck in the head-he was wearing a helmet-as he ran to retrieve a bat from the field.  He  later died.



I am heartbroken.  Heartbroken for two boys, both so excited to be where they were on that day, one  a young man thinking ahead to his moment at bat and the glories it could bring-the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the open mouthed awe of his teammates-the other, a bespectacled little boy, watching anxiously for his cue to run out on the field, in front of all those people-his mom and dad, grandparents, jealous pals, big brother teammates-oblivious to everything  but the quick beat of his bursting heart.

I am heartbroken for a crowd that watched as an angel crumpled to the ground.  I am heartbroken for the Bee Jays organization-the Carlile family has been the mainstay of support behind the scenes for generations.

I am heartbroken for my hometown who lost one of its golden boys.

I am, of course, most of all, heartbroken for his parents and siblings and grandparents and aunts and uncles, cousins, whose moments in the sun will from here on out be shaded with unimaginable loss. They will forever bear a wariness of bright days, a jaundiced view of perfect moments.

Finally I am heartbroken because of all of those bright sunny days, the crisp autumn afternoons, the frosty winter evenings, and the hope-filled spring mornings of my own golden boys, my sons' childhood I chose to cloud with alcohol.

In honor of Kaiser, don't drink today. Grab your kids and hug them hard.  Today. Tomorrow. Every Day.

They are our moments in the sun.

Liberal Loses Beloved Batboy

Thursday, July 30, 2015

MIssed This More: Life After Recovery




I spend most of my Wednesday nights in the Moderation Management (MM) Chatroom, Wednesday night is Abs Chat night.  Many of the people that visit on Wednesday night are not people who have chosen permanent abstinence from alcohol, they are people who are going through a temporary period of abs, as prescribed by MM, or people who are curious or considering permanent abs for themselves.  (In MM we used the term "sobriety" to describe both successful moderation and permanent abstinence.)

One of the most common questions is, "Do you miss it?"

And my answer is always, "Yes."

Now most of the time one or more of my fellow absers will vehemently reply with something to the tune of, "No, I don't miss it one bit.  Does someone miss cancer after they survive it?"

And I kind of shrink back in my virtual folding chair and think, "Is there something wrong with me?  Am I doing something wrong?  Am I not doing enough?"  Because I do miss it.  Sometimes every day.  Sometimes all day long.  Sometimes not very often.  Sometimes not very much.  

But I do miss it.

Last night, same conversation, same questions.  "Why do you miss it?"  "Do you think you miss the fantasy of it, rather than the reality?"  "What do you miss about it?"

My answer, "I don't know."  "It's hard to explain."

If some magical genie popped out of the lamp right now and said to me, "Abracadabra! You will now be able to drink moderately for the rest of your life."

I just might.  Drink.

But there ain't no friggin' lamp.  Ain't there sure ain't no friggin' Genie.

So last night after chat, I took my bath, ate my ice cream and crawled into bed to finish reading "Beautiful Ruins."  It's a good read, light and easy.  A fiction story about an actress who had an affair with Richard Burton in the 60's and ended up pregnant.  Suffice it to say, I didn't really relate to the characters in the story.

Except one.

The child that resulted from the union of this actress and Dickie-poo ends up as a drug addict.  At the end of the story he is recovered.  This is a quote from the book that describes his life post-recovery.


"In Sandpoint, Idaho, Pat Bender wakes at four, makes the first of three pots of coffee, and fills the predawn hours with chores around the cabin.  He likes starting work before he's had a chance to really wake up; it gives the day some momentum, keeps him moving forward.  As long as he has something to do, he feels good, so he clears brush or splits wood or he strips, sands, and stains the front deck, or the back deck, or the outbuildings, or he starts the whole process again on the front deck: strip, sand, stain.  Ten years ago, he would've thought this some kind of Sisyphean torture, but now he can't wait to  slide into his work boots, make coffee, and step into the dark morning; he likes the world best when he is alone in it, that dark, predawn quiet.

Further down the page...

"And on those days when Lydia, the lake, his coffee, his woodworking, and the Richard Burton film library aren't nearly enough, on those evenings when he craves-fucking craves-the old noise and a girl on his lap and a line on the table...-on those days when he imagines getting just a wee bit higher (See: every day), Pat Bender concentrates on the steps.  He recalls his mother's faith in him, and what she told him that night he found out about his father (Don't let this change anything), the night he forgave her and thanked her-and Pat works: he strips, he sands, he stains-strips, sands, and stains, as if his life depended on it, which, of course, it does.  And in the dark morning, he always rises clear again, resolute; ...

No matter my urges, no matter my 'missing", I don't drink.  And every morning I get up, I feed my birds, I pull my chair up on the deck and say my rosary.  Watch the birds.  Say, "Thank You."
This morning, I mixed a bowl of dough, I kneaded it, I watched it rise.  Twice.  Then I formed cinnamon rolls and watched them rise too before I baked them.  My oldest is coming home tonight. There's a pan of lasagna baking in the oven.  Fresh cinnamon rolls on the counter.

As much as I miss drinking some days, when I was drinking, I missed this life more.