February 23, 2015 (this day)

IMG_0316Sometimes it’s really hard not to congratulate myself that my kids have turned out so well thus far.  I know I played only a part in it.  I know tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.  But lately my mother’s drunken shenanigans have made me wonder how I turned out as well as I did.

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My daughter’s plans go forward for Greece.  My wife’s plans go forward for Alaska.  And my mother, who will also be going to Alaska, has one of her sisters, who will also be going to Alaska, not talking to her.  My mother is going to push the idea of counseling on her sister.  I wonder if her sister will push back with concern over my mother’s drinking.  Someone should take the log out of her own darn eye.

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I’m grateful my kids will never know what this is like.

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I have a fairly set pattern where I go to two meetings a week.  I like to vary the second meeting.  I always go to my “home” group if I’m at “home.”  I also like unnecessary quotes : )  Carole and I often go together but I don’t like the meeting she attends on Thursdays, and I’ve pretty much stayed away.  I’m thinking of going to one after work tomorrow near where I work, which would be very different for me.  Chances are I may not know anyone at all.  How interesting that this would take all this thought, all these years later.  I’ve been going to AA meetings longer than I went to school, more frequently than I’ve gone to church, more religiously than I’ve gone to the dentist.  It’s been worth it.

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February 14, 2015 (this day)

IMG_0303A house in my daughter’s present neighborhood.

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I’m chairing my meeting tonight, which means, among other things, that I arrange a speaker.  My speaker got sick and can’t make it, and in asking substitutes I am running up against some of the local AA “rules.”  The “rule” I would like to see enforced is “don’t say no.”  Of course there are no rules, just suggestions.

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My theme for the next few months will be “worry.”  There is my daughter and her upcoming trip, and me and my upcoming trip.  I worry about death and destruction for all of us, and I worry about the things I leave behind, like my pets, job, and house.

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Feeling like not a great example of longtime sobriety but really, without sobriety and AA none of this would have been possible.  My daughter would be in terrible shape if she lived through my drinking at all.  I wouldn’t have the money, time, or companionship to travel, and I certainly wouldn’t have the guts.  My alternate existence, if I had survived and not been institutionalized, would have been hunkered down, probably in my mother’s house, afraid of the world and not engaging it.

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Today I have hope backed by experience that I have an excellent chance of minimizing my fears and living better tomorrow than I am today, which is pretty darn good.

. . . their faith broadened . . . (Step Two continued)

“All of them will tell you that, once across, their faith broadened and deepened.  Relieved of the alcohol obsession, their lives unaccountably transformed, they to came to believe in a Higher Power, and most of them began to talk of God.”

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It’s a wonderful thing that, from seeing the miracle of sober alcoholics around me at meetings, I could begin to count myself among the lucky success stories, just for today.  From drinking to destruction, feeling like I couldn’t live one minute without it, to not drinking at all, and viewing it as poison.  The earlier analogy of making AA the higher power holds true and works out.  Following their directions and advice lead me to a miraculous reprieve.

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Maybe that is “God,” whatever most of us mean by God.  Maybe there is a supernatural being controlling and directing, or maybe only watching.  Or maybe there isn’t.  It’s not critical to my sobriety today, it’s not critical to my peace of mind today to know the answer to that question.  I’m pretty sure I can never know the answer or the nature of God.  Does allowing that the higher power may not be supernatural make me an agnostic still?  I don’t know, and I don’t care.  AA, wherever it came from and wherever it is, saved my life, and gave me an excellent quality of life, and that is the truth, 100%.

February 1, 2015 (this day)

IMG_0299It’s been almost a year since my daughter moved from a far away place to one even farther away.  Almost a year since my uncle died, at age of 60, from alcohol, and almost a year since his first grandbaby was born.  He never got to see her.

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Now, my daughter is almost 30.  She’s a sobriety baby and she’s never been endangered by my drinking.  She had some rough patches growing up, and I’ve been worried about her probably more than I’ve worried about anything else in my entire life.  But she’s doing really well.  And she’s bought a ticket, a plane ticket, to go to Greece, because she wants to.  She’s going by herself, and she doesn’t speak Greek or know anyone there.  She will go for one week.  That’s all she can get off from her job.  To say I am worried would be a supreme understatement.  But, especially because I have such a long time to get used to this idea, I intend to really, truly do some definitive work on my character defect, worry, which as I understand it is a form of fear.

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I mindfully worked on this and I did pretty well when I agreed to fly to Hawaii and back several years ago.  I’m afraid to fly.  This is a different kind of fear and while yes, it’s a “normal” kind of fear, I believe that I can and should continue to lessen my character defects, no matter how far away I am from a drink, and no matter how called for the defect may be.  I mean, any sane mother would be very worried in my place.  I make no claims on how I would react if something really bad actually did happen to her, but while it’s all hypothetical, I plan to attack this anxiety, this fear, and end up as serene as it’s within my power to be.  And once it all goes well I might even be able to admire a young woman who would do such a thing just because she wanted to, and think that her mother must have done something right.