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 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.


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.


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 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


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.