December 31, 2011 (this day)

The view from the hospital window.

It has all been so very complicated, simple, and unrelenting.

Carole is recovering, at home now.  My mother is here to help.  My daughter is here to visit and help.  My son pops in to eat.  Carole’s niece came through on a visit to friends.

I’ve been back to work.  End of the year craziness has my work partner threatening to retire.  It’s been a hard year at work, ending with lay offs.  As 2012 begins, we will have to take care of the things that those who are laid off used to take care of.  Already that is unmanageable.

My home group’s meeting is falling on New Year’s Eve tonight, like it did on Christmas Eve last week.  Every year, Carole and I have a party after the meeting on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s. This year we debated a little bit (she wanted New Year’s, I wanted Christmas) until it became apparent we would have to party, we would tend to her knee.

Still the meeting will be a bit festive in the way our meeting is.  That is, unrehearsed and pretty much unprepared.  Someone offered to chair and bring food.  Someone is celebrating an anniversary.  I will start the coffee and put the soda in the fridge on my way to get Carole’s medicine, then come back and hopefully get her over there for the meeting.

I’ll thank God that whatever I did in 2011 enabled me to take care of these things at the end, and I can go into 2012 (the year, if I’m lucky, I’ll turn 50!) with hope.

Why Did You Get Sober?

I thought about this in a new way last week at my meeting.  I did not try to stay sober outside of AA.  Any time I was trying to stay sober, I went to AA.  When I wasn’t going to AA, I was trying to drink successfully, not to stay sober.

I got sober because I couldn’t drink successfully.  That’s what I really wanted to do, and tried to do, for years.  I am blessed and lucky that one day, before it killed me, I gave up trying to do it successfully, admitted that I couldn’t, and went back to AA.

I got sober because my choices truly were sobriety, death, or institution.  I chose sobriety.

December 24, 2011 (this day)

I was looking at the subtitle of my blog, “how to become and oldtimer in AA.”  How?

One way is by treating pain killers with extreme, extreme caution.  They really scare me.  I’m sure that many of the people I know who went out or died because of pain killers, started with actual pain.

Carole is home from the hospital and in a lot of pain.  Our house has a very terrible lay out for anyone with a mobility issue.  The hospital stay was difficult and sometimes scary.  It’s Christmas Eve, so health care services aren’t what they usually would be on a Friday.

But my daughter’s here, helping, and she’ll stay with Carole while I go to a meeting later.  In the hospital, I read several of the stories from the first edition of the Big Book to Carole.  When it’s all over, her new knee should be better than the old one.  It’s not snowing, and my mother is coming to help us tomorrow.  The kids are cooking tomorrow, and there is a pile of presents waiting for tomorrow.

The Considerations are Equally True (Step Twelve continued)

The considerations are equally true and important for A.A.’s who marry “outside” A.A.  With clear understanding and right, grown-up attitudes, very happy results do follow.

Trying to think of couples I know who fall into this category.  I don’t know many.

Carole and were reading stories from the first edition of the Big Book yesterday, in the hospital.  It always strikes me how the marriages so often endured back then, a much different time than this one we are living in.  But also reading Elizabeth Cady Stanton, I know that it wasn’t long before the people of the first stories when women had a terrible time divorcing, and often weren’t allowed to.

I’m left just imagining that someone who is not in AA, who marries someone who is in AA, must be up against a huge thing they can never completely understand.

December 20, 2011 (this day)

I’m in the hospital waiting room, waiting to hear that Carole’s knee replacement is done.  I’ve worked on a report for work while I’ve waited, I’ve read internet message boards, talked to Erika and Carole’s sister, and read from two huge books (Big Book edition #1 and the Bible) stored on a tiny Kindle.  Meanwhile I’ve waited for a report on my cell phone, and checked the surgery display board to track her progress.

This is all amazing to me.  Almost as amazing as the fact that she’ll have an artificial knee.

Erika is at home with the animals.  The puppy sitter walked the dog, and I should be home in enough time to help Erika feed the zoo.  When I come back to the hospital, I’ll give Carole her cell phone and know she can call me later if she needs me.

How could I fail to be grateful in all of this?  I couldn’t fail to.  I am grateful.

Why Are You Here?

I came for the pie!

You’re here because someone made you come.

You’re here because you want to stop drinking.

You’re here because you don’t want to go to jail.

You’re here because you want to save your marriage.

You’re here because the court made you come.

You’re here because your way (your many ways) aren’t working.

You’re here because it’s your last hope.

You’re here because you have nothing else to do.

You’re here because you think you might have a problem.

You’re here because someone asked you to check it out.

You’re here because you love it here.

You’re here because it’s your home.

You’re here because you lost a bet.

You’re here because your therapist made you come.

You’re here to make your wife/husband/kids/parents shut up.

You’re here to remember what it was like.

You’re here so you don’t slip.

You’re here to give it back, pay it forward and pass it on.

You’re here because it works.

I was told, when I first showed up at meetings and found myself to be very, very different from most of the people there (in some ways, exactly alike in others) that no one ends up there by accident or mistake.  I believe it.

December 11, 2011 (this day)

I can’t believe it’s Sunday again.  Last week went by in a total haze.  I was sick.  Really really sick with a cold.  I think it’s been a few years since I’ve been sick.  And this one went with post nasal drip that made me cough.  I’m still coughing.  But today I feel for the first time like I turned the corner on it.

Usually, I’m able to take off from work when I need to.  Or should I say often I’m able to.  This week I wasn’t.  There were lots of things coming together that made for a difficult week at work.  We had our annual open house on Friday, where we sell crafts the clients have made and use the money to pay for the Christmas party, which will be this coming Friday.  Tons of preparation goes into that, along with the actual event, while the regular work piles up.

Monday, a few short hours from now, my work will also upgrade the computer system.  I expect weeks of chaos and lots of extra work to follow that.  We also had a sticky situation where someone in the company who doesn’t work directly with us was being rather unkind.  This caused interviews and discussions and all kinds of things.

And coming up I have the Christmas party, Carole’s surgery, my daughter and her cats to visit, and Christmas.  My mother is coming around Christmas to stay and help with Carole’s recovery so my mind is much much at ease.  I couldn’t imagine how I would handle it all without that, though of course I knew I would handle it, one day at a time.

I went to my meeting last night but didn’t go out after it.  It was the only meeting I went to for that week.  I’m really OK with that.  I feel fine about it, I feel the same, and if I didn’t, I would have dragged myself to more meetings.  At 27 years sober, this is how it works for me today.

Now I’ve painted my nails and cleaned one litter box.  I’m going to try and ease into this week like I am totally fine.  I can’t believe a cold hit me so hard.  My chest still feels kind of awful but I’m not coughing as much, and last night my head didn’t fill as badly as it has every other night.  Yes, I’m better, or at least acting as if.