July 14, 2018 (this day)

IMG_1289A dress I didn’t buy for my daughter’s wedding.

She’s in Spain on her honeymoon, and faithful readers may remember a few years ago when she went to Greece on her own.  This is much easier.  But I still worry.

I worry about so many things.  It’s my biggest character defect in terms of lowering my quality of life.  Sitting here writing this everything is really, really good.  But I worry about what might not be – my daughter’s trip, my mother’s health, my health, my job…

It’s time to change a few things for the better.  Eating, shopping, exercising, meetings, program, housekeeping.  All improving shortly.  Stay tuned!

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Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

More than of few of AA’s slogans are devoted to pointing out that active alcoholism is an unhappy state of existence.  What do you have to lose by trying the program, following the program, adopting and living the program?

Thinking now about giving up habits that make me unhappy and unhealthy now I come up to that same “NO” that I used to feel when I thought about not drinking.  Like the unfulfilled urge will be unbearable.

I was recently at an exhibit that had to do with rock and roll, and I was thinking about the famous people who have died from overdoses.  I am especially sometimes taken with thoughts of how it might have been for Michael Jackson.  It seems to me that he was trying to hover around “so out of it as to be almost but not quite dead.”  I can understand that.  Of course, I can understand wanting to be all the way dead.

I’m very grateful that my will to live overcame my will to die, and I realized drinking was  killing me and would kill me.  There are famous people who seem to have recovered from drinking and drug addiction or at least enough to continue to live.  Coming back to the slogan, how happy can a person be who has quite a lot (of money and talent, at least) and risks everything to be put out of it?

Anyway, for us regular folks this is hopefully a slogan that will hit home at times.  When it’s time to get sober and when it’s time to quit other unhealthy things.  Like now.

June 26, 2018 (this day)

My daughter’s wedding was lovely, and as I predicted, no one worried about my drinking.  I worried, though, about everyone else’s drinking.  Every family wedding is ruined at least a bit by a family drunk.  They are related to me by blood, by marriage, and by adoption.  They are the ones who are clearly alcoholic and drink too much each and every time and they are the ones who usually drink with no problem and they are the ones who never drink.  I was determined to do what I could to prevent this from happening this time.  I was honestly grim, and tense, but I successfully cut one off and maybe cut another down.  The drunk this time was one who never drinks.  This time he did.  He was drunk before I knew what was happening, but he laid down in his car and didn’t cause a catastrophe.

Ug.  I came out of the whole thing telling Carole I LOVE my sober AA friends and my sober AA gatherings.  We didn’t have alcohol at our wedding and if anyone was shocked and dismayed, they didn’t tell me so.  It’s not ideal that I was very tense for my daughter’s wedding but maybe it gave me a focus other than that I was losing my “next of kin” status with her.

It was a great success, and she is great success, and I am a great success, at least as far as alcohol is concerned, for the past 34 years and for today.  I “have recovered from a seemingly hopeless condition of mind and body.”  I thought more than once about the people who were not present that day because alcohol took them out of her life – her father, my uncle, my father.  I hope it’s obvious, but to put it bluntly I do not regret my sobriety.  It has no down side.

What These Liabilities (Step Four continued)

Step Four is our vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what these liabilities in each of us have been, and are.

Trying to paste that sentence into this space I kept getting a message I had copied to friend about calling our state representatives, giving them a hard time about blocking fair districts.  So before I even begin I can identify laziness in myself (I used to transcribe the text of the twelve and twelve, figuring I’d learn it better) and resentment and self righteous anger (since when did unfairness get to be part of the Republican platform?).

My liabilities are the same as everyone else’s, I think we only vary in degree.  Circumstances and chance and the way I was brought up all play a part.  For example, I am short.  I have no doubt that if I had been tall, my personality would have been at least slightly different based on the way my world views tallness and treats tall people, and the physical difference I can’t know about that involves taking up more vertical space and being able to reach things without help.

I think it was alcoholism, though, that made me reach for alcohol when I couldn’t accept life on life’s terms.  So in order to be sober I have to work to minimize pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth (to borrow a list from the twelve and twelve).  I have to feel progress and I have to reap a reward for trying in order to keep me going.

I’m grateful to live this way, where I am asked to think again about what’s wrong with me and how to make it right, or at least less wrong.

I’m 56 years old, I’m 34 years sober.  I’m going to my daughter’s wedding, and no is worried about my drinking.

 

 

April 22, 2018 (this day)

IMG_1383This is Carole and Angela Davis.  One of the cool things we’ve done in my attempt to do all the things I wouldn’t do when there was a dog waiting at home alone (with two cats, same thing).  Today, for the first time, I sat on my back stoop with a book and no dog.  Honestly, she always wanted in.  She was a house dog.  But I made her sit out there with me and enjoy the fresh air, darn it.  Until sometimes gnats would swarm her and I’d take her in.  This lack of dog still dominates my psyche.

Without her, I’m staying longer at work with less anxiety about doing so.  I was going to more political things until stuff happened.  I’m still pounding out the post cards.  I’ve written over 1000 for my candidate but he’s switched districts due to things and stuff so 650 went to the wrong district.  I know his chances of getting to congress are slim to none but it keeps me constructing rather than hating.

I’m walking more, trying to do one mile every other day.  I’ve lost six pounds in anticipation of my daughter’s wedding.  I gained two back over her shower/Easter/my mother’s visit, but those two are gone again.  At this rate I should lose another one or two before the big day?

I’m committing myself to two meetings a week – I often do that but not always, sometimes I’ve just gone to my home group.  That meeting is fine.  Carole marked 22 years sober the other day and in the next little while I should achieve 34 years.  I know I have some newer readers who don’t want to slog through this whole backlog – why not?  I went to my first AA meeting when I was 16 years old.  I achieved my present sobriety when I was 21, almost 22 years old.  So now, at 55, almost 56 years old, I will have 34 years sober.  I realize I am among the most fortunate of people, ever, and certainly certainly among the most fortunate of alcoholics, ever.

Sharing My Experience in AA

To me it’s an integral aspect of the program and really maybe the first, most important aspect as it launched the program and made the system for sobriety spread from Bill to Bob to the The Man on the Bed (my favorite AA symbol).  Hearing the experience of others, others who are the same as me and who suffered the same as I had suffered opened my mind to the possibility of living as an alcoholic in sobriety.  And I have no doubt that living as an alcoholic in sobriety I have continued to benefit from others sharing their sober experiences with me.  It’s like continuing education for life for a very small, very special and very difficult subset of humanity, the alcoholic living in sobriety.

I’ve shared my experience here and in real life as an introvert in the extroverted world of AA.  It hasn’t been easy.  It continues to be difficult, actually.  But the “making me come out of my shell in order to survive” that AA made me do has been a benefit there and in the rest of the world.  I’m so fortunate that I immediately believed the people I met in AA when they told me they understood how I felt.  I was, remember, 16 years old, almost 17, and they…..weren’t.  But I believed them.

I must have heard thousands of stories by now and I must have shared mine thousands of times.  What a special miracle it is that by telling you I peed in a plant, I save my life and maybe yours as well.  It doesn’t debase me, although it is quite shameful.  It’s my message of hope, that life doesn’t have to be that way for me or for you.  As e.e. cummings wrote, “i who have died am alive again today.”

 

Happy Easter!

March 18, 2018 (this day)

I’m uninspired by my topics.  I had a post half started about expectations and how AA has taught me to expect to be let down by everyone and everything.  True enough!  But blah to write about.  I’m also uninspired by Step Four and the pieces of it I have to tackle and so I haven’t written.  Making myself do this now.

Things are good!  Politics are looking up with the special election in Pennsylvania.  My daughter’s wedding shower is next weekend and my mother will travel back with us to be at my house for Easter.  There’s a hint of spring and honestly, the crushing, crushing pain of the loss of my dog happens less often now.  Maybe three times a day rather than four?  I’m not yet happy for the freedom from her care that I’m experiencing, but I have been doing things like shopping and going to the movies and attending political events that I hated to do when she was home.  I see dogs barking in neighbor’s windows and I hate that I ever left her ……… So, still a long way from getting over that one.  What is the character defect?  I need to know, so that I can lessen it.

One character defect I do know about pulled me down a hole today.  Facebook, that repository of nightmares and dreams showed me that someone I grew up with lives in her parents’ house, the one she lived in when we were kids and I was consumed with jealousy.

I KNOW my life is beyond my wildest dreams, filled with wonderful people and places and things and activities and more than I ever wanted and much more than I ever deserved.  I deserve to be dead, I engaged in such self-destructive behavior only luck finds me here now.  And I KNOW that her life is probably far from what it seem on the Book.  I know.  But there you have it.

I, personally, have the answer to my own woes.  It is in the steps.  Maybe Step Four.  I should work it.

 

Disclaimer- jealousy, even grief, occupy tiny parts of my days.  I am for the most part happy, joyous, and free.