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!