May 26, 2013 (this day)

IMG_0448Menopause is kicking my butt again.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve had bad symptoms, and I guess the absence of that lulled me into hoping it wouldn’t be bad again.  Good thing the cake at my anniversary celebration last night was chocolate on chocolate.  All I need now is some more chocolate.

We’re off to a meeting tonight.  It’s gorgeous weather I can’t hike in, unless the hike has indoor plumbing.  But, as always, there is a light at the end of my tunnel.  And very few people who did this without drugs or surgery to commiserate with me, or to tell me what to expect.  I would say, expect that you can’t know what to expect, minute by minute.  Extreme education in living in the now.

Our bathroom is torn apart and all the exercise I’m getting going down two flights to the basement bathroom and back up again has good to be good for me.

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Understanding is the Key (Step Twelve continued)

Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes, and right action is the key to good living; therefore the joy of good living is the theme of A.A.’s Twelfth Step.

I feel like there is so much in that sentence that I don’t understand.  Among the things I don’t understand are the joy of good living and the proper use of semicolons.  I am ever grateful that Bill W was such a good writer.

I need to wrestle with it, and still come out less than half-assed.  Understanding what?  The right principles are, I think, helping God and others, blah blah blah.  The right attitudes are being grateful, optimistic, hopeful and helpful.  The right actions are taking care of myself, taking care of others, taking care of the environment, keeping commitments, living up to my potential, voting early and often, being responsible, cleaning up my messes – all these things and more are the key to good living.

So given all that (therefore), the joy of good living  . . . I like that, because I think it acknowledges, in some small way, that good living isn’t necessarily always a joyful thing.

I need to wrestle with this some more.

May 16, 2013 (this day)

IMG_0415I’m having a busy week.

Tuesday I took the day off to apply for a passport and clean the house.  I have an “invisible” friend visiting this coming weekend.  Someone I’ve known for years through message boards but never met.  I have online relationships with many people.  They have nothing to do with AA or recovery, though the people know that’s important part of my life.  I like relating to people through writing, I think, is why it appeals to me and why I keep it going for so long.  It is a bit nerve-wracking to actually meet these people.  More so because she’ll be staying at my house for two nights.  Though I have many online relationships, I’ve only met a total of I think five people, and Carole is one.  So I’m spending more time than usual cleaning.  This is how we do it.  It would be better if I was retired, I truly think so.  But for now we have to clean especially for visitors.  We should have more people over while it’s not good, but better than usual.

We went to a meeting a bit out-of-the-way on Tuesday, just because I like to do that.  We did run into some people we know because we didn’t go that far away, but most of the people there were strangers.  I have a pet peeve and I’ll record it right here right now.  If you’re going to talk to a room full of people, and if you expect them to listen, please, speak up!  It doesn’t matter how brilliant something is if I can’t hear it!!  And, for the record, we read the part of the Big Book about resentments being futile and fatal.  So there!

Attraction Rather Than Promotion

Tradition Eleven:  “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”

When I hear people discuss the concept of “attraction rather than promotion” in meetings, it usually doesn’t have to do with the tradition it comes from.  People talk about these words in relation to how we try to give AA to people we know who need it.  We’re told to tell our own personal story, to tell how the program changed and saved our own life, what it all means to us, instead of telling others why we think they need it, how we know it could help them.  I’m supposed to live my life, and share my life, in a way that makes a struggling alcoholic want what I have.

Hard and sad experience has shown that there really is no other way, and that often even that way isn’t sufficient.  But so many of us balk at a promoter.  A hard sell is certainly not the way to spread the good news.

The history of the tradition is written about in the AA literature.  In the early days, some people became AA spokespeople and all kinds of bad things happened as a result of that.  I honestly admire the way Bill W tried to not take over and stay in charge.  I see how someone from the past could have derailed or ruined AA from personal association.

Today, it seems to me like it’s celebrities who threaten AA with breaks in anonymity.  Not that AA would or could be ruined by any of them, but that they can make a bad impression, especially when they slip and slide or engage in psychobabble on talk shows.  That is not AA.  I also disapprove (I almost wrote resent) the fact that they break this tradition in that way.  There are famous folks who are well-known members of AA, not because they say they are members, but because it is known.  There’s no helping that, and that’s different.

As for the day-to-day attraction of real people in real life, there are several on my prayer list, and I keep hoping that AA will be attractive enough to them before it’s too late.

May 5, 2013 (this day)

IMG_0274I’ve been sick.  I really think I just got a massive allergy overdose, but if that’s it, I haven’t been this sick from allergies ever.  I went down hill all week, losing my voice by the end of the day Thursday and Friday, having a cough and feeling awful.  I haven’t left the house since I got home from work Friday and I don’t plan to until I go to work tomorrow.  That is truly luxurious, something I appreciate immensely.  I know many people who feel like they must get out, but I don’t feel that way at all.  This is not much of a problem (except maybe when my “what’s next?” wife has a problem with it) since I work Monday through Friday, about 25 miles away from where I live.  I could see it getting bad if I really didn’t have to go anywhere.  But that’s not happening any time soon.

We actually have a plan, and tickets, to see Pippin on Broadway.  It was the first play I saw on Broadway (I think, and my mother isn’t helping me figure it out) when I was 12, so around 1974.  Carole and I took the kids to a farm-theater production of it many years ago, and the kids are going with us this time.  It’s a very long distance for all of us, so lots of time and money.  But my daughter said she’d go without us if we didn’t go and honestly, it seems like it might fun.  Expensive fun.  I keep reminding myself to appreciate the times when the kids, now aged 27 and 25, will still do things with us, just the four of us, because inevitably that arrangement won’t last forever.  It does seem to go on and on, though, and I truly treasure it.  By the time I was their ages, I had them.  They are doing much better than I was.

May 1st I marked 29 years sober.  I think I lost my ability to comprehend these numbers somewhere after 25.  Like, if you’re a billionaire, does it matter if you have 29 billion dollars, or 30?  These years are more precious than billions of dollars.

I haven’t been sick more than briefly in years.  I’m going to appreciate my good health as soon as it gets back here.  I promise that I will.  Right now I’m grateful that what I have is not serious and not permanent.  Very grateful.  That is the attitude I have today.