July 29, 2009 (this day)

It’s a work day Wednesday. It’s a short week for me because I took last Friday and then this Monday off. I really have a problem with time off, vacation and travel. I’m trying to get over it.


Last Saturday night, Carole and I were awakened by voices outside at 2 am. We live across the street from two churches, and there are businesses on the street below us, near enough to throw a rock and hit one. But mostly our area is residential.


We live in a place that does get hot in the summer, but not terribly so. I hate the heat and love air conditioning, and it was actually a non-negotiable when we were looking for a house. But we ended up without it, and to put it in would mean losing my beloved attic, so that’s not happening. We have window units but so far this year, it just hasn’t been hot enough to put them in. I don’t like the window units, because they block the view and the breeze of the window, and because we have to close ourselves in the bedroom when they’re on. Our living room isn’t suitable for a window unit in the current configuration.


So no air. So all windows wide open and us sleeping peacefully.


So we heard voices. A young male say something like, “Ready, go!” A noise and a car and looking out the window, they had thrown garbage on to Carole’s car and thrown a bucket with plants in it into the street.


Carole called the police and washed her car. The normal thing to wonder, I guess, is “is it random or are we a target?”


I have Hillary and Obama bumper stickers on my car. Carole has just Obama (not that I’d judge) and a gay strip rainbow. Most of our block is for Obama and Hillary, though leading up to the election people did steal signs. I’d like to think they wanted them for their own yard. Probably not.


For me it immediately brings to mind the scarier things I’ve heard of. The Letting Go blog is certainly inspiring in this way – and in other ways. My area, my house, my town, my country is so safe compared to others. I know that being attacked in this way hits the primitive areas of the brain that say flee!! or fight!! I really want to over ride these messages especially as they relate to my fear of flying.


Carole’s leaving Saturday for a week away. I’ll be alone, since the kids aren’t living with us, and in my whole life that’s been a rare occurrence. My mother left me alone from the time I was about 16 for the odd week here or there, but since I had a baby at 23, it’s been rare for me to be totally alone. Honestly I feel mostly safe, but I can at times scare myself when I’m there alone in the dark.


Xandra the big black dog did not stir when the hooligans trashed the car. She did however pounce on the UPS guy a few days ago. That happened in the blink of any eye and Carole and I can’t be positive that the UPS guy didn’t open the glass door. It’s alarming to think that Xandra could have opened it by jumping on it, and comforting to know she scared the guy. I take dog aggression very seriously, and it’s very important to me to think that the dog would not harm a person no matter what. To me, the protective value of the dog is in the scaring of the person, never in actual violence. I try hard to prevent Xandra from jumping on anyone and I never want her to think it’s acceptable to do so. She’s too big, and she could knock someone down. She’s not a jumper, she only does it when people are arriving at our house. We try to prevent and deter her barking, also, and she is quite a barker. Still I do think that in actual danger and a confrontation, she would scare or jump on someone and hopefully they would leave. But she can’t react to voices on the street, or we’d never sleep, at least not on summer Saturdays.


So that’s on my mind. Most of what else is on my mind is (shocking, shocking, shocking) uncertainty at work! Still! Again! Always! Rumors fly and nothing is resolved. Day to day the work is very wonderful. Day to day I know that something must change soon, eventually, today, tomorrow.


I so need to appreciate here, now. If I can do that, I can appreciate all the minutes of my flight during which I’m not crashing, which is all of them. No one will fault me some terror if the plane goes down. All my rehearsal won’t get me ready to be calm during that. All my rehearsal won’t cause it or prevent it. I need to rehearse calm and practice calm and learn to be calm. Just how often I write about this shows me it’s way too huge in my mind.

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It’s a Poor Day Indeed (Step Ten continued)

It’s a poor day indeed when we haven’t done something right.  As a matter of fact, the waking hours are usually well filled with things that are constructive.  Good intentions, good thoughts, and good acts are there for us to see.

I nostalgically look back to when people tell the newcomer that getting out of bed and going to a meeting were good things and they were good enough for that day.

I’ll try to list in an unprideful manner the things I do every day that are good things.  I get out of bed and almost always make the bed.  I tend to my body by at least brushing my teeth twice a day.  Usually I do more for my body than that.  I show up at work when I’m supposed to and usually, often, most of time I try to do the right thing there.  I’ve tended my children every day that I’ve needed to.  That isn’t frequent now but of course at one time it was a 24/7 thing.  I take care of my pets and my surroundings (to a large extent).  I pay my bills and I pay my way.  I got to my home group AA meeting almost every week and I take on responsibility there.  I usually go to one other AA meeting each week.

I answer the phone when my mother calls.  I go to church (often).  I recycle some.  I give a little bit to charity (Carole will say huh?  But we sponsor a child, give to the church, and I often supply things for my workplace, which is a nonprofit receiver of charity).

This is all truly unremarkable unless I consider where I came from, which was basically under the table, passed out on the floor.

Worry and a New Category

I have a little photo holder thingy that I’ve had since junior high school.  Long ago I began collecting sayings I like and putting them there, flipping the page weekly.  I’ve written these in a widget on the side and I rotate them.  I seldom add anything new but I read a sentence the other night that lit up my psyche, it seemed so true and made things clear in a way they hadn’t been before.

Scaring yourself through what-if scenarios is what has traditionally been called worry.  – Edmund Bourne

I love it!  It’s in a book I’m reading to try and eradicate my fear of flying.  It rings so true for me.  That’s what a fear of flying is in a nutshell.  The other day at work, a coworker asked me why a certain someone had left her voice mail asking her to call.  I had no idea why.  The coworker proceeded through many scary what-if scenarios, even as she and I knew that was a waste of precious time.

I rehearse my fear of flying.  I know I do.  I’m trying to stop living in the problem and live in the solution instead.  It makes it clear how ridiculous it  is when I think of it as scaring myself.  Why do I continue to scare myself?  It’s not pleasant, aside from the obvious fact that it feeds the fear and helps it grow.

On a different topic, I’ve sharpened the point that I don’t do a daily inventory in the way Step Ten suggests.  I’ve made a few false starts and tried to get some kind of something going, but so far nothing sticks.  I started rotating character defects in the side bar and trying to pay special attention to one at a time, the way I do with people I pray for and about.

Currently up is “closed-mindedness.”  I thought I probably won’t have much to say about this one, since I try to be open minded.    I’ve long known I have a problem with people who I consider to be “intolerant.”  I can’t tolerate them!  So there’s that.  This very day, someone I consider to be “intolerant” commented about how distasteful the word “retarded” is when it’s used as an epithet.  He’s on my side about at least one thing, probably many more.

But then I went to church.  Here much of my closed-mindedness abides and worships and grows and grows.  A child was making her first communion, at the age of 6.  My mind is completely closed to this.  I knew it when I felt that yes and absolutely – I’m closed-minded and proud of it!  I’m right, they are wrong!

This is a tricky subject to think about.  They may indeed be “wrong” for me, which leads me to consider why I attend a church I don’t agree with.  But that’s a whole other can of worms.

While I’m attending this church, can I open my mind to their practices?  And if I can’t, can I admit my closed-mindedness and admit that it is a defect of my character?

My Current Prayer Life

july09 041The categories and archives of this blog are so cool to me.  I was able to choose “prayer” and see what I had written.  It’s been a while now.  Having the blog has organized my thoughts on this and many topics in a way I had not done before.  It really has become a personal tool for me in that way, in addition to being a record of my experience.

This picture is from yesterday when all (two) of my offspring were high, high, up in the sky, waiting to be dropped.  I wasn’t really afraid they’d be hurt or worse (although the ride did need to stop, just before their turn, due to a wrongly pushed button).  But it crossed my mind that they could be.  Then, and of course at other times and when I left them there to go home.

How much of my (and all human) prayer has to do with death, fear of death, fear of what happens after death?  A lot.  Their very human bodies made of bones and organs and fragile, fragile, fragile, up against that sky brings it home for me.  Luck and I have brought them this far but I just don’t get to know, moment to moment.  And how can a mother of adult children let go of the thrust of her being that had the sole aim of protecting these people?  My very body used to have this sole mission.  It can’t be undone.

Although the teenage years do help one let go.  (kidding)

I’ve continued rotating prayers in the widget on the sidebar, and each time I change it I type it out again.  That has helped me learn them over the months and I know many parts by heart, and can call on them in my mind when I need them.  I’ve done less with the Prayers and Meditations page and I may want to revamp that somehow, sometime.  I still carry my book of prayers to work and I do still bring it to difficult meetings to write from.  I’m happy to say that difficult meetings are not happening every single day anymore.  Though they are often.  When something is particularly hard I write out a prayer and what it means to me and how it can help me and I email it to myself and paste it here.

I still like the rotating prayer list and when I change the prayer in the widget, I change the person in the widget.  I continue to add difficult people to that list and it amazes me still how I could have overlooked some people who I stress over every single day.  I keep adding.

And just because my prayers for this day will center on Xandra, I will post another picture of her.

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July 24, 2009 (this day)

This day was pretty near perfect.  Carole and I took the kids to an amusement park.  Everyone was healthy and in a good mood.  The park wasn’t badly crowded and the weather was very good.

I stopped to appreciate it many times through the day that it was about as good as it gets.  Very, very good.

As Carole and I were leaving (the kids stayed on), she got a call from a dear friend who had taken too many prescription meds and had overdosed.  We called 911 from the parking lot of the amusement park, and we stayed on the phone with her until the police arrived.  We haven’t heard anything about it, but I think she’ll be OK this time.

In many ways she reminds me of me, because I relapsed over and over and over again, and so does she.  But in other ways we are light years apart, and I keep hoping that she’ll eventually “get it,” and I remember that it’s luck and a blessing that I “got it” at least this much, so far.

This Is A Good Place (Step Ten continued)

(When evening comes, perhaps just before going to sleep, many of us draw up a balance sheet for the day. ) This is a good place to remember that inventory taking is not always done in red ink.


I have a conflict within myself, which all by itself shows a character defect or two. First, I don’t always do my best. Not even as a mother, which I mostly believe is the most important role I play. I have big bad guilt from several happenings while my kids were growing up. Plus the over riding knowledge that, like I wrote, I didn’t always and don’t always do my best. Not in any situation or role.


———-So ug, this day creeps in. It just does. My relationship (mostly one) is just so frigging difficult it makes the day not nice. What is wrong with me? A Walk in Dry Places said about rejection today. Rejection, criticism, conflict. With someone (at work) I’ve been very close to for a long long time.


We share almost everything at work. The way this conflict just went down looks to me like this:


Me: I’m trying to teach James to say his name. I need as many people to help as possible, so I’ll be asking everyone to help and do this as much as possible. (made up name, made up situation)


S: Yes, that’s good. But don’t you think


OK so right there – yes but don’t you think? “Yes but” agrees, then negates the agreement.

This is a muddled mess.  I’m going to go with it, and try to move on.

Practicing These Principles in All My Affairs

june09 032Carole took this picture to ease my mind about flying.  Not sure how that’s supposed to work!  But next year we are planning a vacation that requires long long air travel.  I will work on this fear over this year.  Even if that vacation doesn’t come to be, I need to be able to fly without fear.  There are places I want to go, and lord knows my kids are not planning on staying near by for the long term.

I don’t know if that completely fits with the theme of “practicing these principles.”  I’ve thought about what to write about this for a few days, and my mind keeps going to what I “should” be doing or the ideal I “should” be striving for.  To help myself, though, I want to think more about how I actually do practice these principles in all my affairs.

One of the principles says, to me, that when I have an excess of negative emotion, I am to work on eliminating it.  My fear of flying and of many other things certainly fits that.  And maybe the key to my serenity is right in one of the first parts of the first principle:  powerless.  If I could understand and accept my powerless over flight (say what?) I might be much more serene about it.  If I could accept that I might crash and die, however unlikely that is, I could be more serene.  If I could understand that the choices are not – fly and die, or don’t fly and live forever – I could be more serene.  If I could better understand that all my time spent in fear of flying could be better spent in just about any other way, I could be more serene.

I don’t know if I’m on the right track with fitting this to my situation.

I know that I always have an underlying layer of gratitude that improves the quality of my life greatly.  AA taught me that.  I know that when I feel like my fear is too big, and I won’t be able to change it, AA has taught me that I can change in very drastic ways.  It is possible.

I don’t blame my excesses of negative emotions on others.  At work, at home, I’m surrounded by wonderful people and my problems with them are of my own thinking.  Not making, but thinking.  “They” are also sick and often wrong.  Welcome to the world.  Humility is something I have to continue to reach for.  “They” will always let me down.

What can I bring to this situation?