Monday, June 26, 2017


A family I have known all my life-I went to school and church with them, my kids went to school and church with them, my son's best friend is part of this family-was hit by tragedy last week. On an early summer Wednesday evening two of the boys, 16 and 14, cousins and best friends set out in an ATV, This family is a farm family and ATV's and horses are a routine part of their day. The sixteen year old was driving. They hit some loose dirt and the ATV rolled and the 14 year old who was not wearing a seatbelt was thrown from the vehicle and the vehicle rolled over him. After many frantic phone calls the 16 year old finally got hold of his uncle, my son's best friend, and he and the 16 year old's father rushed to the scene of the accident to find the boy cradling his 14 year old cousin who was dead.

This tragedy is multiplied so many times. Two childhoods lost, that of both the child who died and the child who survived. Great grandparents who lost a great grandchild and who have another great-grandchild severely affected, who are grieving not only for those children but for their children and grandchildren. And on down the line. Grandparents, parents, siblings.

Life is too short not to grab on and hold on to every moment we have with both hands. Too short not to wrap ourselves as tight as we can around every moment with the ones we love. No matter what we tell ourselves, we can't do this if alcohol is stealing parts of our lives from us, if alcohol is stealing parts of us from others.

We have now, who are we in this moment? Are we who we want to be right now if in another minute life forces us to become someone else? Our life will change, that goes without saying. How many moments of perfect serenity will we sacrifice if we don't grab what we can right now?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Willpower? I called and you didn't pick up.

I think I'm getting old. I'm salivating more over that little muffin with the icing on top than the stud muffin holding it! Sorry, The Rock, you're just no competition, sigh.

Well, blew the diet yesterday. I tried, I really did. I used a whole lot of "tools" before I gave in, I walked the dog, I ate some sunflower seeds, a healthy lunch of stir-fry, finished cleaning the house, scoured the tub, then I dived in. I didn't stop at the chips and dip, I went totally bacchanal. Ice cream with Heath topping, popcorn and butter!

Oh well, today is a new day and yesterday doesn't erase every stride I'd made, it may have put those few pounds I'd lost back on in one swoop, but I still remember how good I felt when I was following through on my promises to myself. So, today is a new start, every day is. I'm going to do my best and realize that my best is sometimes more than I'm willing to put forth.

Speaking of keeping promises to myself, I'm taking the next couple of weeks to keep another promise to myself. The cap'n will be gone working and I am going to revel in it because I think this might be my last time to myself for a long, long time. So I'm going to dive deep into ME TIME! I'm going to get up before the sun comes up every morning and light candles and say my rosary. I'm going to feed my critters, the birds, the squirrels and Freddy the Total Shitz-Poo. Then I'm going to write, write, write. 

Oh yeah, And I'm going to fix a big pan of tuna casserole-the cap'n hates it and Mexican cream of mushroom soup is funky so I haven't had any in at least seven months-and gorge on it for three days. I guess this is in my DNA, my dad hated tuna casserole too so my mom would always fix it when he was out of town on a job. She'd also un-ground us-Mom always said grounding was more of a punishment for the parent than the child-and take us to the Ben Franklin Five and Dime to buy paper dolls and army men. So maybe, just maybe, tuna casserole is more to me than a can of tuna, cream of mushroom soup and noodles, maybe it's an infusion of mom and childhood. I need some of dat.

How the Heck Ya'll Doin'?


Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Need A Hangover Day!

I want a hangover day! No, I don't want the hangover but I want a day that I just lay around binge watching TV and eating stuff that's really bad for me. Hangover days always served to compound the guilt I felt from getting drunk and a hangover day today would also make me feel guilty. But not as guilty. I've been eating healthy lately keeping my calories within limits, losing a few pounds and a self-indulgent day would erase a lot of that effort. 

I really want a big bowl of potato chips with a side bowl of dip right now. Don't know how this is going to end up. It's days like this that I remember how hard a time I had talking myself out of drinking, how all those good intentions and enthusiasm would just disappear at certain times and no matter how I tried to conjure them up they were no where to be found. How did I finally quit? I go back to my old mantra, "Don't you want to see what's going to happen?" It was the sense of promise, the air of reward beyond my imagination that would keep me from reaching for that bottle. I wanted a new life, I wanted to see that new life. I wanted to find me and I wasn't going to find me in that bottle of booze, that's where I'd lost me.

So how does that apply now? Am I at the bottom of that bowl of chips or am I outside walking Freddy, the wonder Shi-poodle? I guess it's time to put my shoes and socks on and go find out. The chips are safe for now, I want to find out what happens when I lose 10 or 15 pounds, I want to get to know the me that accomplishes another goal.

How The Heck Are You?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

School's Out!

The results of Carrie Fisher's toxicology tests have just thrown me for a loop this week. See, I'm one of those people who goes around saying every failure, every stumble, every relapse is part of the plan, in each one is hidden a vital lesson we have yet to learn in order to get to where we are meant to be. Obviously, if you quit drinking or drugging and then decide to try again, you had another lesson to learn. Right? That's what I used to think. But what one more lesson did Carrie need to learn? That addiction kills? That you shouldn't waste your chances? That those chances aren't without limit? That we know everything we need to know and we are wasting our lives waiting for that final magical lesson that is going to teach us something magical that will change the path of our life forever? That lesson doesn't exist and if you're waiting for it, you are wasting precious time.

So today I'm out there re-considering some things I once considered true. Sometimes we don't need to have anymore lessons, at some point we have to STOP looking for more education and spend the rest of our lives applying the lessons we have been taught.

The above meme could just as easily say, "Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have saved our life."

Sometimes I ponder drinking again, maybe in 10 years, maybe if I take a trip to Paris or Italy... but you know what? I've learned the "I can quit drinking and be happier than I ever was drinking" lesson, I don't need to re-learn it.

How The Heck Are You?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Recovered Garden

I'm good and I really don't have much to write about this morning. House cleaning and weed pulling is all I have in my plans for today, nothing monumental but a miracle still. Every day that I am sober is like a fertile garden waiting for me to plant something and watch it grow. Yes, there are weeds, but in their own way, they're beautiful too because they keep my hands and mind busy and while I'm out there ripping the little assholes out, I work out my aggression. It's all good.

How The Heck Are You?

Monday, June 19, 2017

How The Heck Are You 6/19/2017: Let's Face It, We're Pansies!

Sleep deprived this morning, I stayed up past midnight binge watching Orange is the New Black. Netflix has become my new addiction.

Beautiful weather weekend up here. We don't plant flowers here at 10,600 ft until Father's Day because it still gets down to freezing at night before that, so I spent the weekend outside finally planting. You'd think after 10 summers here and thousands of dollars in perennials, I wouldn't have any more room to plant, but the thin air and poor soil doesn't encourage plants to show up for return performances year after year. The funny thing is, pansies, the most delicate appearing flower of all, start  popping up through the snow in April and grow like weeds among the rocks and in the poorest soil. Just like us on this journey, neither rain, or snow, or the darkness of night, or stumbles, or hostile environment can keep us from rising up, no matter what the world throws at us, and raising our face up to the sun in defiance. Fuck you, Adversity, we're pansies and we're proud of it!

How The Heck Are You?

Friday, June 16, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/16: Falling In Love

I'm in a good mood this morning. The cap'n has really been trying to keep his drinking in check and hasn't been drinking in the morning. Baby steps are good enough for me at this point, trying is good enough. I'm back on track with my goals and following Pierre's lead in writing out my hard and soft goals every day, a simple thing that really does seem to work. I love checking those goals off.

Day before yesterday an acquaintance of mine in Mexico was killed by a hit and run driver while he was returning from his morning bike ride, Every morning I would see Lynn  ride his bike by our house, it was his passion and he participated in several bike races worldwide. He was 71 and he did what he loved daily. People often ask how I quit drinking and I tell them, "I was convinced I was going to die if I didn't quit." That's what it came down to for me, quit drinking or die. But what keeps me sober is the life I've created with my sobriety. I love it. Oh yeah, I gripe sometimes and I'm not always giddy-happy like I was in the beginning, but I f'ing love my life. That's the secret. That's why I can't stop trying to make it better and better, because the minute I fall out of love? Yeah.

My mother died 28 years ago today, she was 57 and I don't think she ever got a chance to do what she loved, I'm not sure she even knew what that was or that it was even a choice. That makes me very sad. I would give anything to spend one more day with her and ask her what it was she loved. To honor both of them today, I'm going to make sure and do something I love-besides eat ice cream.

How the Heck Are You?

P.S.  I read an encouraging blog this morning by the founder of ONYB (One Year No Beer). OYNB is a support community that encourages people to change their relationship with drinking in order to pursue a healthier more active lifestyle. 

While this recent article does seem to slant toward abstaining permanently: there is some great info on the alcohol industry's increasing efforts to offer more NA and low alcohol drinks and to reverse society's belief that you have to drink in order to be happy.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/15: Future Me

There were lots of different reactions on the MM Listserv to my post on Change yesterday, some people also have changes they want to make, some are happy where they are and some feel learning to accept who we are and where we are is more important than wanting to change.  They are all wonderful outlooks and I have enjoyed each of those prospects at different times in my life. I have changed internally greatly since I quit drinking, I now live a more honest life, I am no longer afraid all the time, I am definitely more peaceful but there are still other changes I would like to see. I'd like to become less judgmental, more compassionate, less greedy. I want to be more independent financially, I want to realize my life-long dream of making writing my vocation. I want to live a simpler life-one place I call home, lots of flowers growing outside my door, lots of warmth inside. A big vegetable garden and lots of room to roam. Home-made candles and soaps. Canned goods filling the shelves of the kitchen. Simple life. Simple needs.

So here's the mind picture:

A woman with a long white braid leans against the frame of the door of an old stone house. The door is either bright red, purple or a sun faded blue-I can't decide but I have few years to. She is tanned, her face is lined, but her eyes are clear and bright. Lavender bushes lines the walk up to the house, the porch is a clutter of pots full of herbs and flowers. There's a watering can by the door. The woman is wearing faded jeans with holes in at least one knee and probably one in the ass of jeans, an ever present rosary has worn a pattern in the left hip pocket. A blue chambray shirt tied at the waist. completes her daily uniform. She is in no hurry, whatever is waiting can wait a little longer. The sun is just coming up, waking up the lavender so it can exhale the scent it has been holding through the night.

Oh yeah, she's still sober. Because the dream would never be possible if she wasn't.

It's a dream but, for me, dreams are necessary to lift me out of my current self, to help me identify the roots of my discontent and to discover where my happiness is waiting for me. I may not get everything in that dream above, I may find out I hate canning because I don't have real fond memories of canning day when I was growing up-too much work. But, for me, that mind picture, gives me something to strive for, it makes me want to keep growing and exploring this life of mine.

Now, I'm going to go find some Home-made candle recipes-my Yankee Candle addiction is not going to be supportable in my future less materialistic, less income driven life.  Of course, I'm probably going to find out that it's more expensive to make my own. lol

How the Heck Are You This Morning?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How The Heck Are You Roster 6/14/2017: Change

Last night I had an epiphany, it wasn't anything I didn't already know, it was just something I haven't remembered for a while. I keep praying for certain things to change, doing things to try and make them change, and getting frustrated and disheartened because they are not changing. 

Last night I realized, once again, the only thing I can work on changing and rely on changing is myself. I haven't worked really hard on changing anything about myself since I quit drinking. Oh, I play at it. I make plans and I stick to them for a day or three or four, but then I fall right back into the ruts in this old wagon-worn trail called life. I haven't really committed to any real change. I haven't stopped to envision who I want to be five years from now. Oh, I've wished for her, I've dreamed of her, but I haven't sat down and drawn "her" out and mapped out the creation of "her." I haven't committed to "her."

I used this "tool" when I first did battle with the drink. I drew a mind picture of who I wanted to be and wrote it out in my blog so I'd remember it. I can still picture that woman I wanted to become, even though she never became a reality, but that was okay, because for a brief time I wanted bad enough to be her that she started me on the path to change. Change happened and while I didn't become that woman, I became a changed woman and that was the ultimate goal. And when I became that changed woman, other things in my life began to change for the better.

So today I am setting out resolutely on the path of change. I'm going to spend today constructing "her" in my mind . It's going to be fun. I'll introduce "her" to ya'll tomorrow. Then, down the line, we can all look back and see how close I got to my mark.

I'm excited.

How The Heck Are You?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Today would have been my mother's 85th birthday. Happy Birthday Ruth! If you read my book or if you've read my blog from the beginning, you know what effect my mother's death had on my drinking. (sly book promotion in case you didn't notice.) Mom was the steward of my guilt  and my moral compass, and while she was alive, I still drank too much but fear of my mother finding out kept it somewhat in check. When she died it was like someone left the barn door open and I was free to gallivant in the open pastures of drunkenness as wildly as I wanted. However, since I'm a big believer in the after life I knew Mom was still watching and guilt was still astraddle, no matter how hard I tried to throw it off. Gotta tell you, guilt is one fucking-oops! sorry, mom- expert horseman/horsewoman.
Today, I know my mother is proud of me and guilt is no longer hitching a ride. I can't begin to describe how light that feels.
How the Heck Are You?

Friday, June 9, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/9/2017: I'm Gonna Want This Back

Yesterday I drove the granddaugher back home and spent the evening with my son and daughter-in-law.  Before we left my cabin yesterday, the granddaughter and I did a tour of our favorite spots and said good-bye. Once more, I found myself rushing her through and I don't know why. It was a glorious morning, a perfect morning to take our time and there was no rush to get her home.

There's a country song  with the line, "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back," and I knew that yesterday when once more I urged, "Hurry up, Attie" while she nonchalantly took her time. 

I learned a lesson from my granddaughter this week, most the time there is no reason to rush, I am missing precious moments in my hurry through life. I don't know how much of it I have left, isn't it time to slow down and enjoy each one? It doesn't take a whole lot of soulful contemplation, all it takes is stopping to notice something good or beautiful and saying, "Thank you" to God, or the Universe.

This morning I'm thankful for two healthy grandchildren watching cartoons and their healthy parents who are out running. I looked around the toy strewn bedroom in my cabin yesterday and thought, "It won't be long until there won't be anyone who want's to play with these toys, I'm gonna miss this, I'm gonna want this back.

How the Heck Are You?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Future Ballerina/Conductor/Cowgirl

She explained how she's going to be all of these things. When she gets done with ballerina school, she'll go home and take care of her horses and cows, then she'll go conduct the symphony.

Today I salute all mothers of young children, and, thank you for very much, Micro, for the offer of the loan of your children this summer, I think I'll pass. The granddaugher goes home today, however, I'm going with her for another four days to watch 13 y/o grandson (that should be another eye opening experience as he sees how much more he can get away with around grandma than he can his parents) and two rambunctious springer spaniels that they keep inside.

I have to admit my patience is waning and I found myself getting extremely aggravated with her dawdling yesterday on our walk. I have forgotten how children will find a million things to distract them. How they'll stop to pick every flower even the ugly ones, how they can't resist the urge to run up and down every hill a dozen times or to climb up on every large rock, especially when they know you're in a hurry to get somewhere. I don't know why I was in such a hurry to get home. To watch the news? Or get on the computer? Or start dinner?

But when we finally got home, for the first time in a long time, I wanted a drink. I remembered that a drink would soothe my aggravation and give me that boost of flagging enthusiasm I needed. It would transform me back into "fun" grandma for just a little while longer. I've often noticed that many of the women in this recovery world are of a like age as me. Women whose children are gone and who are facing the second half of their life and maybe no longer need that escape and temporary transformation that alcohol provides. I know I've often urged young mothers to do as I say and not as I did when I implore that they give up drinking for their children's sake. I still implore you to do that, but today, I remember, I really do.

I'm ready for a big dose of solitude. I wish I was jumping on a plane all by myself to head to Prince Edward Island, like SkiCrazy. How the heck are you? Where do you wish you were right now?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Yesterday was a cloudy rainy day and the granddaughter decided we'd have a pajama day. She spent the whole day in her flannel footie pj's. We colored, we did puzzles and we played video games-I am now hopelessly addicted to Shopikins and couldn't wait for her to fall asleep last night so I could swipe my kindle from her and play, found myself cussing at the little demonic smiling fruit characters.

I ordered the Anne of Green Gables books to read to her before she got here but decided they were a little too advanced for her-so now I'm reading them! I never read them and I find myself enchanted with the simpler life of Prince Edward Island early 1900's.

I'm not sure I'm going to be ready to re-join the grown-up world in a few days. Why, oh why, were we so eager to leave childhood behind? I remember how in the first few months/years after I quit drinking, I felt like a child again. The world was a wonder I couldn't wait to wake up to each morning. I want to get that back and hold on to it. It's ironic that the most difficult time of recovery, is also the most enchanting, miraculous, amazing time if you make it so. It's not about deprivation and punishment, it's about exploration and discovery, like you're a kid on the first day of summer vacation.

How the Heck Are You? 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/6/2017: Trying is Success

To put it bluntly, I'm exhausted. The last five days have proven how out of shape I am, embarrassingly. Maybe I need to rent a 5 year old for the rest of the summer. One more imperfection. 

When do we finally accept that we're never going to be perfect? Is there a point where we finally relax and give ourselves a wink when we don't toe the line.  Am I ever going to not think that eating a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast sounds more inviting than a banana? Is procrastinating ever going to be a thing of the past? Not likely.

But then again, if we totally accept ourselves as we are, do we then quit trying, quit striving?  What does life become then? A chocolate chip breakfast wait until tomorrow existence? I don't want that either.

So I guess what I need to learn to accept is that I'm always going to be enticed by perfection, even though I probably won't strive hard enough to reach it. At least I'll strive. I can't let my acknowledgment of my imperfections keep me from trying.

So I guess I've effectively talked myself out of that chocolate chip cookie this morning. Maybe tomorrow.

"I try therefore I succeed."

How the Heck Are You?

Monday, June 5, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/5/2107: Life Expectancy

“Strange, how death had a way of turning a table upside down in an instant. It swept away all the dust that covered treasures, blew the fog from one’s view, knocked
away facades.” 
― Julianne MacLeanLove According to Lily

“Death is not a tragedy to the one who dies; to have wasted the life before that death, that is the tragedy.” 
― Orson Scott CardShadow of the Hegemon

(Sorry, couldn't choose this morning.)

The sun is shining in my eyes through the window this morning. It was an unseasonable warm weekend up here at 10,600 ft and we spent all day outside yesterday.  The granddaughter and I started out the day with a trip to a rummage sale in Breckenridge where she scored a box full of my little ponies, 2 unicorns, Anna and Elsa dolls, and a princess gown all for $8.00. Then we ate crepes sitting outside in the sunshine. Headed back home where she made a new friend down the road from us-a friend with horses! The mother is a riding instructor and Attie (my granddaughter) got her first riding lesson. We finished out the day with a fire in the fire pit and hot dogs and s'mores and then a  much needed bubble bath.

Perfect, huh? You would think I'd be satisfied but, no, at the end of the day, I still found fault in it, things that could have been better. Reasons to be unhappy.

Last Friday I found out that a cousin of mine just found out she has mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has a life expectancy of 12-21 months until you die. Only 9% of its victims survive longer than 5 years. My cousin is 52 years old. She is one of those people that I always looked at as having the perfect life. Perfect husband. Perfect kids. None of that matters now. I know she would trade places with me in my imperfect world in a minute given the chance. Neither of her children are married so the chances of my cousin enjoying a day like I was gifted with yesterday are pretty slim.

I've often wondered if I were to get a fatal diagnosis, would I use that as permission to drink the rest of my life away, or would I decide to live my days as fully and appreciatively as possible? I'd like to think my choice would be the latter. And then again-you knew this was coming-my cousin's life expectancy could be greater than mine. Today could be my last day on this earth, and I have a choice of whether I drink it away or live it fully,  or whether I diminish it by expecting perfection in every  moment rather than seeing the loveliness in spite of the its imperfections.

Today, I am going to try real hard to be grateful for nearly perfect, almost perfect, and far from perfect but still pretty damn good.

How The Heck Are You?

Friday, June 2, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/2/2017: Unconflicted

“It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.” 
― Jean-Paul SartreBeing and Nothingness

I'm good this morning, already a little overwhelmed by the thought that I'm not going to have a minute to myself for a week with the granddaughter here, but it will be worth it. I've worked really hard to make this place, our cabin, a place of special memories for the grandkids-both of my grandmothers died before I was 4 but I was lucky to have an aunt who didn't have any children who filled that role. My granddaughter has already tried to cram every one of our "routines" into her first day here. We've hiked, thrown rocks in the creek, gone to our secret place, cut out paper dolls, dragged out every toy even the ones she doesn't play with, made a tent, visited the statue of Mary on the other bank several times to touch her and get our power shot, zing-zing, had a tea party...Yes, I'm exhausted and I've created a monster. 

 Yesterday, as I drove back here, I passed several ranchers along the way, some of them were yanking hay out of the back of their trucks, but a few of them were just leaning on their fences looking out on their fields, as though they still couldn't believe "this" was all theirs. I had a sleeping granddaugher in the backseat, there is still snow on the peaks of the mountains, a storm was brewing over one range, the valley is just starting to show the arrival of spring with a hint of green in its fields, and I wasn't hungover, or thinking about drinking, or worrying about my drinking, or planning when I was going to drink. These are the moments that are perfection for me, simple moments, perfectly normal moments. These are when I realize most clearly how grateful I am to finally feel normal, un-conflicted by alcohol.  I'm just "being."

How the heck are you?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/1/2017: Reasons

Got my granddaughter curled up next to me with her thumb in her mouth watching cartoons. (Man, are her parents going to regret letting her suck her thumb this long, I see big orthodontic bills in their future-but my oldest sucked his until he started going to slumber parties, peer pressure is good for somethings.) I'd say I'm doing pretty good this morning.
One big impetus for me quitting drinking was my grandson, her big brother, I was getting scared to be alone with him and my drinking! It still bewilders me that I didn't quit drinking for my own children but I quit for my grandchildren. I think it was because I was becoming more incapacitated by drinking the older I got.

Whatever. The important thing is, I fixed it., and now I am enjoying the rewards of my hard work. Let me tell you, in case you're wondering, it's soooo worth it.  No regrets, not one, not one minute.

How the Heck Are You?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/31: Magic and Dark Spells

I'm enjoying a streak of happiness and I'm going to enjoy it for all it's worth while it lasts. Now, if I were to go back and look at my posts of a week ago, I would probably roll my eyes at my dramatics, but that's how quickly we can change and why we so often tell each other to hang on just one more day. So many things can change in a day or a week or a minute. We see this all the time in the recovery realm, people who feel completely hopeless one day, can become totally different people in the space of a week-it's magic and the magic is brought about by sobriety, whether you reach that sobriety by not drinking at all or by drinking within the limits you have set for yourself.

I had at least three different conversations yesterday with people who have struggled with their drinking for a long time, and the common thread was perplexity. These brilliant people just couldn't figure out why they drink when they don't want to, when they know they feel better and happier when they don't drink. We decided the most logical explanation is that alcohol casts a dark spell over us and ensnares us. (these were people who wanted to quit drinking completely). The only way to break the spell is to not drink. Duh. I guess the point is, we're probably never going to understand it, but, thank God, we don't have to understand it to break the spell.

And, on another note, I ran across some interesting websites yesterday I thought might give some food for thought. These sites may cause some controversy for those who have found or are finding sobriety through traditional methods but I'm a big believer that everyone has to find what works for them instead of trying to make something work for them.  I listened to Beej, our MM member who is a Harm Reduction and Mindful Meditation Coach-(podcast coming soon to the MM website) and she said if she could tell people who are looking for help one thing it would be to approach recovery with curiosity. Explore it. It's going to be the rest of your life, you need to make it what you want it to be.

And here's Beej's website:

How The Heck Are You?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/30/2017: Predictability is Under Appreciated

Just a gentle reminder

Good morning all! I seem to be in a serene period right now, God knows I needed it. Funny how that happens, how I can get pushed to my limit, to the point that I'm ready to give up, make a plan to give up, then everything smooths out and, once again, I feel like I can go on fighting.

Kind of like when I can't stand my hair any longer so I make a hair appointment and then the day of the appointment my hair looks better than it has in months. Kind of like when I was trying to figure out this drinking thing, I'd be ready to throw the towel  in (although I don't think you can ever do that once you start this fight), then I'd have one small victory, or more often, one more horrendous fallout from drinking and I'd decide I had more fight left in me. Those horrendous fallouts may have seemed like failures but usually they were the impetus I  needed to change...until I got enough sober rewards to stack up against them.

I think one reason things have seemed calmer in my world is that I'm back in a routine. This last winter in Mexico was somewhat chaotic, packing up and moving from place to place every few weeks. Now, I know I have months in front of me in which I don't plan on going anywhere. I can do my morning routine of saying my rosary and writing my morning pages, taking my bath, walking the dog... Routine grounds me and, for me, after years of the chaos of getting drunk every night and being hungover every morning, it is a privilege I never take for granted. Just last night I marveled, once again, at the fact that I actually have a bedtime routine.

Boy, I'm gabby this morning. Your turn, how the heck are you?

Monday, May 29, 2017

How The Heck Are You? Memorial Day 2017: Freedom

I've been whining a lot lately about being trapped and feeling helpless, but the fact is, I've never been trapped, I've always had the choice to stand up for myself, to fight! Sometimes I just chose not to. For many years, I convinced myself I was imprisoned by alcohol, but I never was, I just chose not to fight my way out of my prison. Then, when I finally decided to fight my way out, I surrendered, many times, and I convinced myself that I wasn't strong enough, that I'd never win, that the fight was hopeless, that I might as well give up, even that I didn't even really want to win. All so I could surrender and drink, because that was easier than fighting.

There was no enemy, no jailer, no locked door, no gun to my head keeping me in misery, I chose to keep myself imprisoned, I chose to not fight for myself. Oh, don't get me wrong, there were opponents, almost too many to count-addiction, habit, relationships, regrets,  fear, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-love, lack of commitment, ....if I wanted I could conjure up as many opponents necessary to convince myself that the battle was lost, I might as well just surrender and drink.

And, that's what I did over and over and it took sighting death in my very near future to finally stand up and truly fight for my life and to keep standing up and refusing to surrender. That's what it took for me to be a soldier for myself. I am in awe of you that fought your way to freedom earlier and I salute you. But in the end it doesn't matter who wins early and who wins late, because the battle is all our own, we are fighting alone. We aren't fighting for others and they can't fight for us, as much as we want them to, as much as we keep waiting for someone to step forward and pull us over the line to freedom, it's never going to happen because we have to cross that line all on our own. The soldiers on the field with us and the veterans on the other side can't fight our battles for us, they can't save us, unlike "real" soldiers on a battlefield, they can't throw themselves on a bomb to save us. We have to finally climb out of our foxholes and fight our way, all the way, without backing down and without going back. Freedom from drinking is an individual privilege, you have to earn it, but all you have to do is choose it. Every day. Over and over.

Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor soldiers who fight for freedom. I'm going to continue to fight for mine and I challenge you to stand up and fight for yours beside me. I can't fight your battle and you can't fight mine but we can keep reminding each other to keep fighting.

Today, I'm feeling courageous and grateful, how the heck are you?

Friday, May 26, 2017

How The Heck Are You Roster 5/26/2017: Home

These little boys are too-cool teenagers now.

I am so loving being back here at my cabin. Went for a walk yesterday and actually broke into tears when I saw a trout darting around in our little pond. So many memories of grandkids catching their first fish here and me wading into freezing water to rescue bobbers from the bobber-eating tree. For all my big talk of finding some place else to live, I don't know if I could.

Making plans to see the first batch of kids and grandkids over the weekend. That's the thing with marriages, they don't just involve two people. For today, I'm going to enjoy what I have and not focus about what I could have.

How the heck are you?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How The Heck Are You Roster 5/25: Bring It On!

Good morning all! Have been traveling back to the states in the last two days and today I will finally get home to my cabin in the woods. I can't wait, although I'm not sure how long I'll stay there. I'll be off to see the kids and grandkids, probably next week and then...well, I don't know. I have a few places I want to explore. Sunflower made the comment at Abs Chat last night that her husband-who has joined her in her abs quest, lucky girl-said, "We are starting a new chapter in our life." I'm ready for a new chapter and I'd love the cap'n to join me, but if he doesn't, I can't keep re-writing the same old chapter. I don't want to spend the rest of my life dealing with a drinking problem, his or mine.

I am excited and hopeful this morning, more than anything. Change is coming and putting it here in front of you guys helps me commit to that change. We are never stuck, no matter how how big the wall in front of us is, usually all it takes is removing one brick and the rest of the wall starts coming down, or at least it opens a window onto what's waiting for us on the other side.

How the heck are you?

P.S. Thanks to all of you who wrote and offered your support. I love you all. But, one thing this recovery journey keeps teaching us is that change is hard and scary as shit, but, boy, is it worth it!

Monday, May 22, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/22/17: Another One Of Those, "Life's Too Short" Posts

Can't really say how I am this morning, a little tired, a little depressed, but also hopeful and excited? I kind of remind myself of me when I decided to do something about my drinking problem-I feel beaten by my current circumstances and I am at the point I know I have to surrender this battle and I need to move onto battles I can win. Things have to change. "Have to" not, "should" or "I wish the would" they "have to" change. Without going into detail about what those circumstances are, I'll just say I am having more and more difficulty being happy, and I am one of those fortunate people that generally have a positive sunny outlook, so I need to go unearth that part of me again. So, we leave day after tomorrow to return to the states and I have made my mind up to embark on an exploration of how and where I actually want to live the rest of my life, or at least for the next year or two. Because life really is too short to live it unhappily.

I know this is very vague, but I'll keep you posted.

On that note, How The Heck Are You?

Friday, May 19, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/19: Regrets Revisited

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ” 
― Randy PauschThe Last Lecture

I've been thinking a lot about my How The Heck Are You post from yesterday, and questioning if I was being honest about my regrets. The thing about regrets, is once you start tracing them back, wishing you'd done something different, it never stops. If I'd never started drinking at all, I wouldn't be the person I am now and I finally like the person I am now. Would I like the person I would be if I hadn't struggled with drinking? Would I be as proud of myself? Would I choose not to fight as hard for things I want because I didn't know I was strong enough?

See what I mean?

I stumbled across the quote above this morning when I was looking for the daily MM facebook post and I guess I would have to say that I wish I hadn't spent as much time fighting to keep drinking. Because, while I might have lived more life in the 30+ years I drank, I've grown more in the 6 years since I quit. 

But, then again, I realize I needed every one of those struggles and battles to come to the decision I made to quit.

See what I mean?

 So...ok, one regret-I wish I would have reached out for help earlier, I wish I hadn't struggled so long on my own because it was the support of others reminding me to keep going that kept me on the path I needed to be on.

Thank you guys, I love you.

How The Heck Are You?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/18/2017: Demon Rum? Not The Way I Remember It

Some people who are vacationing down the beach from us stopped in for some drinks and conversation yesterday afternoon and stayed and stayed and stayed, so I got very little done that I had intended to get done. That's ok, because all the while they were drinking I was thinking, at least I won't be hungover tomorrow so I'll be able to catch up. Can't begin to tell you how much of a  difference that makes in the stress level. Of course, if I'd been drinking, I would have just told myself that getting drunk was worth it, because make no mistake I would have gotten drunk, then today I'd be full of self-disgust and in a panic because God knows how long the hangover would last-at the end of my drinking they could last a week-and I only have four days left to get everything ready to go back to the states...And, I can honestly say I didn't miss drinking for one second yesterday, never even thought about it even though it was going on all around me. I still find that a miracle after all these years.

The woman was a natural moderator-she had one glass of wine and got happy. I joked and told her, "You're who I wanted to be when i grew up" but the truth is I never wanted to be that kind of drinker, I wanted to be the gal who could drink with the big boys and tell raunchy jokes and shoot pool and scratch where it itches no matter who was looking-and I was very successful at all of that for many, many years-except shooting pool, I always sucked. There is a part of those years I regret-I now know that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't drink like I did and be as good a parent as I wanted-but other than that, which I agree is huge, I don't really regret the years I drank.  It was fun and I made a lot of good friends and i would have kept doing it if it would have remained fun, or for me, if drinking hadn't started trying to kill me.I have a problem with books or programs that demonize alcohol and tell us it has no role in life except as a destroyer of lives. I disagree. Some recovery organizations and recovered people spend so much time trying to convince us, people who love/loved drinking, that it's a horrible thing, alcohol, and all those years must have been horrible years no matter what they felt like when they were happening, after all that hell it should be easy to give up the demon drink, and we must recognize what a horrible presence it was in our lives. But that's the problem for most of us, we don't view all the time we spent drinking as horrible and destructive because it wasn't, not all of it, for some of us, not any of it was destructive but we recognize it might be heading that way.

Here is how I look at my relationship with drinking, we had a good time and when we no longer enjoyed being together and I recognized it was never going to get better, we were never going to be able to go back to what we were before, it was time to part ways. But I do have fond memories.

How The Heck Are You?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How The Heck Are You 5/17: Write It Down!

Pretty darn good. Yesterday, I stuck to Pierre's regimen of writing down my priorities and dividing them into 3 "hard" tasks (tasks at the top of my priorities) and 3 soft (tasks I wanted to get done but I could let slide for a day or two). I didn't accomplish everything on the list, but I completed the ones that were most important to me, which are also the ones that I have the hardest time facing. Not because I don't enjoy them, really, but because I don't think I'm up to the task. The hardest tasks are the ones in which I challenge myself. No surprise there.

It's amazing the power that writing a goal down has for me. So simple, yet for some reason, it grounds me and gives me a roadmap for the day, from the minute I write it, I know it's there, waiting for me to reach it.  Oh yeah sure, I used to write down "I will not drink today" over and over, day after day, and didn't reach it the majority of the time. But it was there waiting for me. Goading me. Reminding me I still wanted it.

Yesterday I reached my goal which makes reaching for it again today so much more possible which makes everything seem so much more possible. I find that to be true concerning just about everything, dieting, exercise, NOT DRINKING! If I can get one day under my belt, I'm off and running. The power of ONE DAY is amazing too. ONE DAY! That's all it takes to turn the direction of your life. I know it's schmaltzy and some people will say over simplified and over used in the recovery world but I'm calling bullshit on that. That which is necessary cannot be simplified too much or used too much. Today could be the ONE DAY that I'll look back and point at and say, "Right here, on May 17, that's the day everything began to change."

Today is one of those days when the world seems to be an open door and I just need to walk through. Tomorrow I might come up against some doors I have to push open or pick the lock on to get to where I want to go. Tomorrow I may not reach my goal, but I'll keep writing it down so I don't forget how much I want it.

How the Heck Are You?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How The Heck Are You? Roster 5/16//2017

I have been posting almost daily "How The Heck Are You?" reports on the various message boards I participate on and I thought, "What the heck? Why don't I just share them over on my blog at the same time and give some of my old friends over there a chance to chime in with how they're doing too? Kicks me out of the guilt cellar for neglecting my blog and gives me a chance to stay in touch with the first community I joined on this journey. So here goes:

Been down in the dumps for the last few days and can't really pinpoint why. I'm looking forward to getting back to Colorado and the states and kids and grandkids and good beef. I'm going to throw a roast in the oven the minute I walk in the door, we can find steaks down here in MX and hamburger but I've never found a roast. I love the smell of one cooking all day in the oven and it's always cool enough where we live in Colorado that the added heat from the oven will be welcome.

All my kids called on Mother's Day. i know that sounds like it's not that big of a deal, most mother's kids call on Mother's Day, but on Mother's Day seven years ago, I spent most the day convincing myself that it would be okay if my kids didn't call, that I understood, they were busy, I'm hard to get hold of....then, I finally asked myself, "When did I get to the point that I was accepting of the possibility of my kids not calling?" How had my relationship with my kids reached the point that they might not want to call me on Mother's Day? It was on that Mother's Day that I decided no matter what, by the next Mother's Day, I may not be assured that my kids would call, but I would be assured of the fact that I had done everything within my power to return my relationship with my children to the level at which it had once stood, before I let my drinking convince me that it was ok not to put my relationship with my kids first. It was that Mother's Day that I decided that, even if I had to go to AA, my drinking would no longer stand between me and the things I wanted most, one of them being a close relationship with my children. It was that Mother's Day that I took my first "step." I wasn't sober by the next Mother's Day, but I had spent that year wrestling with my drinking problem with all my might and learning and repairing myself. It wasn't pretty, not at all. War never is. War is never won without losing a battle or two or hundred. War is only lost if we surrender.

My youngest son texted me this year, "Mom I love you more than you'll ever know. I'm so thankful for who you are and the mistakes you've made." I'm not sure how to take that. In one way I wish I was the mother whose kids didn't admire her because of her mistakes, in another way, as I replied back to him, if my mistakes made it so my kids feel like they can talk to me about anything, i'm happy.

That Mother's Day seven years ago, was a turning point for me, a day when I said, by next year at this time I will be a different person, a person who is doing everything she can to become a person she wants to be. And, a year later, while it may not have looked like it, even to me, I was becoming that person. This year I am making the same promise to myself. "Next Mother's Day, I may not yet be the person I want to be, but I will know I'm doing everything within my power to become that person.

How the Heck Are You?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Still Kicking!

I'm not really sure why I haven't blogged recently, I guess I could say my life has gotten too busy, that I had to let something slip and my blog is what slipped. 

And, that would be true. Believe me, I'm not one of those who got sober and then left all of this muddling about in the muddy recovery trenches for higher ground, I depend on all that muddling about to remind me that I've made it out and want to stay out. Telling others every day that I am sober, is necessary for me to stay sober. Because, believe me, if I thought no one was looking or noticing, it would be so easy to slip. By staying sober for others, I stay sober for myself.

So, where have I been?  I spend a lot of my time, the majority of my time, the cap'n would say, over on the Moderation Management sites. Between the MM forum, the MM listserv, mmabsers (yes, MM has a community for those of us who have chosen not to drink at all), the MM Public Hub and the MM facebook page. Oh yeah, and in the MM Abs Chatroom on Wednesday nights.

I'm not listing all of those communities to say, "Hey, look at me and everything I do." Instead, I list them to show what it takes to keep me sober. For me, sobriety is work and while I still marvel at non-hangover mornings and sleep-filled nights, those are not enough for me to stay sober. I have to stand up in my virtual recovery world every day and say, "Hi, my name is Kary May, I'm an alcoholic and I'm not drinking today." These online communities are my smoky church basements. Some people would say, "You've replaced one addiction for another." and they're probably right, but this addiction isn't going to kill me and if I help a few people along the way, more better.

I am also not saying that anyone else has to become or should become this involved in the recovery world to stay sober, some people quit drinking and ride off happily into those glorious sunsets never to be heard from again. And, that's okay. Not everyone wants to be career soldiers. But, I do think you have to find a replacement addiction, but let's not call it an addiction, instead let's call it a purpose.

Too many times we wait until something horrible happens to change our drinking. Too many times that is a temporary change, just until the memories of horribleness and regret change.  What if instead, we chose a good reason to make that change. A new purpose. 

Ok, I know. We all already know that is the best way to go, don't we? But we don't do it. We think we can pursue that new purpose and still drink. The thing is, until you have crawled out of that miserable muddy trench and off the battlefield, you can't imagine the possibilities are waiting for you. You can't. You have to take a chance and believe. 

There is something amazing waiting for you. A purpose. And as I told myself long ago, "I know that purpose is not to go through life as a drunk."

As is my usual form, I've wandered totally off track and I wasn't even sure what track I was on to begin with. 

Thank you, to those who wrote and checked to make sure I was okay. I am. I'll try to do better about reporting in and stopping by to see all of you wonderful bloggers on your own blogs, but one reason I could abandon my post here for so long is because I know that that there are so many other amazing soldiers out on this battlefield saving lives. Don't sell yourselves short, that is what you're doing.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dryuary Countdown Special!

The book that 4 people are talking about! Available on Amazon for $.99 for the next 5 days.

(Holy Flying Shitbirds! I finally figured out (again) how to link a picture to a website.)

Guaranteed results if you read this book! (okay, you can't just read it, you have to do some other things, too. This recovery thing just doesn't happen by reading, although I spent many years just "reading" about it.)

Before and After Pics of one Satisfied Reader. (Ok, so I'm the writer too, but I bet I read this book more times than all four of those people who are talking about it combined.)


Isn't this a lovely tableau? That's my friend, Karen, over there singing her heart out-I'm pretty sure the song was Delilah, she always sings Delilah- and the cap'n obviously not very happy with me. See the bright sun shining through the window, it must be like all of  3:30 pm.


This would have been about 9 months after I quit drinking-about a year after the previous pic.

Want some more?


Not Drinking:


I must have really liked that shirt when I was drinking.

Not Drinking:

Need any more? I don't