April 28, 2015 (this day)

She’s there and she’s fine.  I’m here and I’m fine.  This amazing life is brought to me by Alcoholics Anonymous!

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The anticipation was murder, and the first day was pretty bad as well.  I’ve been engaging in nonstop activities of many sorts like meetings, work, shopping, a play, a concert.  I’m still terribly, terribly worried and frightened also, but I’m able to tolerate it and enjoy my days and nights.  I don’t have much time for the regular stuff, like writing here.  But that’s OK.  I’m making it.  And I’m practicing for the next time.  Because my darling daughter informed me that “next” she wants to go to Argentina.

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Sometimes AA comes harder (Step Two continued)

Sometimes A.A. comes harder to those who have lost or rejected faith than to those who never had any faith at all, for they think they have tried faith and found it wanting. They have tried the way of faith and the way of no faith. Since both ways have proved bitterly disappointing, they have concluded there is no place whatever for them to go. The roadblocks of indifference, fancied self-sufficiency, prejudice, and defiance often prove more solid and formidable for these people than any erected by the unconvinced agnostic or even the militant atheist. Religion says the existence of God can be proved; the agnostic says it can’t be proved; and the atheist claims proof of the nonexistence of God. Obviously, the dilemma of the wanderer from faith is that of profound confusion. He thinks himself lost to the comfort of any conviction at all. He cannot attain in even a small degree the assurance of the believer, the agnostic, or the atheist. He is the bewildered one.
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I don’t have a lot to say about this section or the one that follows, but I want to include them for completeness and because it’s good for me to study the whole text.  I was brought up in what I think was a typical fashion regarding religion in my time and place.  I had a childish “faith” because, as I child, I believed what I was told as much as I could.  I found it wanting and turned away from it and arrived at AA, at the age of 16, firmly against “God” and religion and not participating in those aspects of AA.  Not praying, for example, though I stood and held hands.    Many of the people I hear talk at meetings say they arrived not knowing much of anything.  Regardless, the important message is that AA has space for everyone, and people of every attitude have successfully recovered.

April 15, 2015 (this day)

I’m having a tough time (as I’ve written and written and written and written).  I’m terrified that something awful will happen to my daughter on her week in Greece, and right now I can’t imagine coping while she’s gone.  She lives, I have to point out, more than five hundred miles away from me here in the US so I can’t exactly respond to an emergency when she’s “home.”  She is, I will also add, 29 years old, and so far a much better put together human being than I ever was.  She is (a daughter is) what at one time I wanted more out of life than anything else.  She is more amazing and remarkable than any daughter I could have dreamed up, if I could have described my ideal.

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And so.  I’ve planned activities for myself after work when she’s gone.  I’ve planned to buy a new computer then (and new Sims!!!) a new toy to distract me.  I plan to make lots of meetings.  I’m kind of intrigued by the idea of trying to go to all of the meetings in my area’s meeting list, which won’t ever happen because it covers a very wide geographical distance but I think it will be interesting to try.  Well, there’s the distance and the fact of that pesky day job.

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I love my job and I am aware that it is an incredible blessing to love your job, a blessing which most people probably never experience.  I need to rededicate myself to it because these should be some of my prime working years, and because my work partner will retire probably ten years before I do.  I’m also incredibly blessed by being able to work in social services and have a wonderful life because I don’t have to support myself.

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I’m nearing (God willing-Carole hates that, of course God wills it!) thirty-one years sober on May 1st.  Should I present at meetings as the basket case I currently am, or is that a bad reflection of long-term sobriety?  I don’t know, but I think I should present that way.  My problems are luxury problems for sure, luxuries made possible by AA because I was dying without it and certainly could not have brought forth and nurtured new life to the point where it could take itself to Greece unaccompanied …  I am a mess, but I’m not self-destructing and actually I am looking for ways, in the midst of this, to CONstruct a better and less anxious me.  From someone who was killing myself with alcohol I have evolved into someone who knows with restored sanity that drinking would bring tragedy on all my situations.

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This is what (almost) 31 looks like and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

Courage

SAM_2532This little tree held on for who knows how many years, trying to grow up through the hedges.  It was spared the blade of the lawn mower but kept getting cut down with the bushes until we decided to let it grow.

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As I thought about courage, thunder started (early in the year, for goodness sake) and the dog began her thunder shake.  She gets scared down to her bones, although bad people and giant dogs don’t scare her.  I don’t actually know if she’s met any bad people, but she has charged and frightened more than one Newfoundland at the dog park, and though she’s big, she’s not that big.  I remember commenting about this to a friend and she said, “She knows what to do about people and dogs, but not thunder.”

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I’m full of fear right now, and courage means something like “the ability to do what frightens one.”  I have no choice but to live through my daughter’s adventure, and then on to my own long, long, long flights, long and far away trip.  I have a choice there, but I’ve always chosen to fly even though it frightens me.  So maybe I do have courage, but also lots of anxiety.  There’s no way to know how I’d be if I’d lived and not had the program.  I assume, based on my history, that I’d be a horrific mess who couldn’t raise someone as awesome as my daughter, or think about  traveling to Alaska.

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The “courage to change the things I can” of the Serenity Prayer means, to me, to change my mind.  I’m battling to have my rational mind understand that flight is safer than driving, that whatever the outcome for my daughter, my fear adds nothing to the situation but weakens me.  It takes some courage to stop drinking and to go along with a program like AA for a little while, until rewards start to happen.  To do what frightens one.

April 2, 2015 (this day)

IMG_0354A year ago a big leak lead to a partially redone kitchen.  There were frightening moments, and honestly what I was frightened about was money.  How much it would cost.  This year there is a falling ceiling in the basement.  But, we wanted an old house!  We do love the old house.  I love to imagine who sat in this room before me, who looked out this window, what she saw, what she thought.  And we’re privileged and blessed with the resources to keep the house up.  And we even have a legally gay marriage.  The man we bought the house from had bought it from “a spinster and her mother.”  If the “spinster” was gay (which, weren’t they all?) I’m sure she couldn’t have imagined us here in her house, legal and all.

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I’m worried.  My daughter is going to Greece this month, and everyone and her uncle agrees this is a frightening thing.  I’m going to Alaska after that and most normal people wouldn’t be frightened of that, but I am.  I could easily spend all this time wrapped up in fear and I don’t want to do that.  Easter is coming, and I’m not going to see my daughter, she lives so far away and is getting ready for her big trip.  I’m not going to see my extended family because I moved away from them a long time ago.  I would love to experience the babies my younger cousins are having but I’m not going to.

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So, the lessening of fear and the cultivation of gratitude.  These are my projects for this month and next.  In one month I will have 31 years of sobriety, and I didn’t do all that to suffer like this.  So easy to be so hard on ourselves.  I should be better by now.  Hell, I should have been better a long time ago.  Of course we don’t get to know what I would have been like without the program, assuming I lived, which I would not have.  Come to think of it, I’m actually being afraid of some of the rewards of sobriety.  I’m determined to surrender that, and to stop it.

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And, like I said to Carole, whatever happens after this, for the rest of my life I can say, “At least she’s not in Greece!”