September 27, 2015 (this day)

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I was trying to get a picture of the dog with her head upon my lap.  Pajamas on, outside in the beautiful weather, book at the ready (The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed).  My selfie skills are rudimentary and her modeling skills don’t exist.

All is well right now.  It’s easy to be serene in the easy patches, and I’ll take it.  The fall weather boosts my mood the way the summer weather boosts most people I seem to come in contact with.  I can’t take the heat, and while I don’t like the cold, I’ll take it over the heat.  But right now is perfect.  My immediate friends and family and all doing well enough.  My travels are over, I hope, until the summer or at least until the spring.  My job is as good as something can be that I have to be paid to do, if you know what I mean.  My meeting is healthy, my critters are strong and happy, and no I don’t feel (within a 99% margin or error) that hitting “post” on this will jinx any of it.  It’s a well known fact of my life that “this, too, shall pass.”

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Defiance is the Outstanding Characteristic (Step Two continued)

“As psychiatrists have often observed, defiance is the outstanding characteristic of many an alcoholic. So it’s not strange that lots of us have had our day at defying God Himself. Sometimes it’s because God has not delivered us the good things of life which we specified, as a greedy child makes an impossible list for Santa Claus. More often, though, we had met up with some major calamity, and to our way of thinking lost out because God deserted us. The girl we wanted to marry had other notions; we prayed God that she’d change her mind, but she didn’t. We prayed for healthy children, and were presented with sick ones, or none at all. We prayed for promotions at business, and none came. Loved ones, upon whom we heartily depended, were taken from us by so-called acts of God. Then we became drunkards, and asked God to stop that. But nothing happened. This was the unkindest cut of all. ‘Damn this faith business!’ we said.

This is one of the most important paragraphs in AA literature for me, because it tells me clearly that everything won’t always turn out OK.  Personally, I don’t know if God is involved in these details of my life, and if God is involved in the details, I don’t know by what algorithm he grants or withholds good things, and gives or doesn’t give bad things.  It reminds me of part of a Carl Sandburg poem I like:

 God,
The game is all your way, the secrets and the signals and the system; and so for the break of the game and the first play and the last.
  Our prayer of thanks.

Also, the part about asking God to save me from alcoholism, reminds me of the Bible quote:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

The idea of defying God is, to me, the same as the idea of defying reality.  Whether God causes reality or not isn’t something I’ll ever be able to answer, and I don’t have to answer it to stay sober.

September 12, 2015 (this day)

IMG_0158I’m the mother of a 30-year-old who I have to travel a great distance to see, and during that travel I experience all kinds of weather that I don’t want to experience.  I took this picture after we pulled over because visibility was about three feet, and then there was hail.  Not fun.

But she’s never yet been endangered by my alcoholism, and that’s more than I ever could have dreamed.  Had I drank any time since she was conceived until now, I know the results would have been tragic.  On the other hand, I still have to deal with my mother’s drinking.  I’m 53, and my mother is 75, and I’m here to tell everyone once again that it’s never too late to give your child a sober mother.

Dealing with Difficult People

The AA way to deal with difficult people is, according to me, with humility.  I immediately need to bring to mind that I am the difficult person people need help dealing with.  I need to see what I can change in myself, not in them (indirect paraphrase from the Big Book or 12 and 12).

Except when they are someone I gave birth to, or someone I supervise.

But in general.  AA tells me to treat everyone with patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.  I think AA is telling me to do this with difficult people.  After all, the easy people are easy to deal with!  No instructions required.

A trick I sometimes use is to answer difficult interactions with either, “You may be right,” or “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or both.

But usually dealing with difficult people involves changing my mind as much as possible.  Seeing where these people are right, forgiving where they are wrong, and keeping an open mind as to my own ability to know what’s right and what’s wrong.