January 26, 2019 (this day)

cropped-retirement07-015.jpgLooking back over my photographs for something to share here that tells what I’m up to, I found myself linked to all the pictures I’ve posted on this blog since I began in 2009.  I realize I used the passive voice there – “I found myself linked to.”  I know it’s not magic but it’s technology beyond my understanding, and so “I found myself.”

This image is the first I ever used, I guess.  I took it from inside my car when the car was covered with ice.  It seemed like an artsy metaphor for drinking and the danger of drinking, the hopeless nature of alcoholism and my own triumph, for today, over the bottle.

I’m blessedly not facing any new challenges today.  All is well in my little world, at the parts I see clearly.  The weather still does challenge those of us in my part of the world, but I’m still capable of dealing with it.

This brings to mind a story.  I’m driving a Dodge Charger, and not because I want to.

In November, I bought a new car.  This is an event for me, because I have been able to pay cash for my cars by saving money every pay period for years on end.  So I traded my 2011 with 90,000 miles for a new one, and all was well.

A few weeks ago, a shingle blew off of our roof and landed in the yard.  We called the roofing company that had put the roof on several years ago.  In an unrelated event, someone up the street from me called the fire department because they smelled smoke.  Eight fire trucks responded (8)!  Happily, there was no fire but there were eight fire trucks and their attendant firemen all over my street.

Roofers call, they can come over in 15 to check the shingle.  They arrive, and put a ladder up, the the two men climb up on the roof.  Inside my house, I hear a crash.

I went out the front door and some firemen were in my driveway.  I asked them if everything was OK and they said, “I guess so.”

Ladder had blown down while the guys were on the roof.  One roofer JUMPED off the roof (with 40 firemen present to help, since there was no fire to fight) to get the ladder and thank goodness he wasn’t hurt but, when the ladder blew, it hit my car.  My less-than -3,000 miles on it car, and it did almost $3000 worth of damage.

Carole says I’ve handled it well.  Honestly, the biggest surge of negative emotion I’ve had over it was the first night, before I knew what would happen with insurance, etc, when I was too worried to sleep much.  Worry.  Hello worry, my old friend.  I came to dance with you again.

The insurance, etc, has so far been very easy.  I do not love the Dodge Charger but it’s getting me where I need to go and keeping me warm so, gratitude.  And another example for the continuing fourth step.

Spiritual Axiom (page 90 12 and 12)

It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.

When there’s something wrong with me, there’s something wrong with me.

This idea has been a linchpin of my sobriety, something absolutely vital.  The Twelve and Twelve goes on to explain that even when I’m all right, and the other person or circumstance is completely wrong, I still need to get over it and find serenity in order to practice the program and live well.

There are examples throughout this book and the Big Book of times when life can be very very hard.  Here it says what if I’ve been cheated?  Elsewhere the books mention having a marriage proposal turned down, or losing a son in war.  These are tough and terrible things.

The idea if I’m disturbed by them there is something wrong with me seems wrong.  If I’m not disturbed by them, there’s something wrong with me!  What the concept means in my life today is that I’ve got to walk in the direction of getting over it, whatever it is.

This spiritual axiom (which means, by the way, something that is true) appears in Step 10 and is meant as part of the spot check inventory taken when daily events cause negative emotions.  A rejected marriage proposal or a son killed in war would obviously take more time and work to get over than a staff shortage —

I searched through my blog and I found when I had written about this before, almost ten years ago.  Back then short staff was causing me anxiety and so, one decade on, it still is….

So, freshly trying to apply these principles to all of my affairs, it has been good to revisit and reread and retry to understand.  When other people are wrong, which they frequently are, I’m to remember that I am often wrong as well.  I am to forgive them.

It is also here where the phrase”progress, not …. perfection” is used.  Jealousy, envy, self-pity and hurt pride are also listed as triggers for bad behavior.

When I look at myself in these situations, I have some hope of improving and changing for better, and so being happier.  When I look at others, and the wrongs they are doing to me or to the universe, the only chance I have is to become more angry or depressed or self-righteous.  I can’t change the other person or the universe.

(PS – just before writing this, I called my senator to tell him what I think about an issue at hand)