Sunday, November 30, 2008

Monday 12/1 - MY BRAIN IS LIKE A ......


Often, I've heard people say all kinds of things about the way our minds are and how they work.

My brain is like a sieve - it leaks........
We hear what we need to get and stay sober going to lots of meetings. When we don't go often enough, what we have heard leaks out.

My brain is like a steel trap.......
"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely." (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58) My old ideas were locked in my brain in a trap of steel.

My brain is like a committee room.....
... a committee room in which no one is agreeing, everyone arguing. With continued sobriety, the committee quiets down and eventually one voice emerges to bring harmony and that voice is God.

My brain is like a merry-go-round....
... of alcoholism - a dizzying life - nauseating, actually! Once I jumped off the merry-go-round for good, that is when sanity and real sobriety began.

My brain is mush......
Arriving at the door of AA, my brain was pickled - it was mush. Thankfully, as I was restored to sanity, the mush became solid and eventually rational.

My brain deceives......
Alcoholism is a disease that tells me I don't have a disease. I would often rather believe a lie than admit the truth.

My brain is like a blackboard.....
Alcohol erased everything from my mind. Alcoholics Anonymous tells me what needs to be written on that blackboard - - 100 times each:
I will not drink.
I will go to meetings.
I will not gossip.
I will pay attention in meetings.

My brain is broken......
Alcohol broke our brains. God, through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, restores them to health.

Prayer Girl

(Photo Credits due:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sunday 11/30 - IN EVERY AGE


Beautiful, haunting words and melody are what captured my heart and soul today as I sat in church singing the words to "In Every Age".
Here they are:

In every age, O God, you have been our refuge.
In every age, O God, you have been our hope.

Long before the mountains came to be
and the land and sea and stars of the night,
through the endless seasons of all time,
you have always been, you will always be.

Destiny is cast, and at your silent word
we return to dust and scatter to the wind.
A thousand years are like a single moment gone,
as the light that fades at the end of day.

Teach us to make use of the time we have.
Teach us to be patient even as we wait.
Teach us to embrace our every joy and pain.
To sleep peacefully, and to rise up strong.
Some thoughts about these words:
I feel the power and majesty in this song that God possesses - capable of relieving the hopeless condition of mind and body that is the state of an alcoholic, the power to arrest the progression of this fatal disease, and to totally transform a person's life. God's power heals all manner of hopeless conditions.

God is our refuge in times of trouble and always a beacon of hope leading us up out of the pit of despair, into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, through the steps, and into an ever growing awareness of our relationship with Him.

God has always been and always will be. That thought is full of faith and hope. God does not change, but He can bring about change in us. Here is the mystery of time again. (A thousand years are like a single moment gone, as the light fades at the end of day.) When I want things to go faster, they always seem to drag. When I want time to slow down, that's when it really seems to speed up - - - - a mystery!

This song is like a prayer - asking to be taught to use our time wisely, be patient as we wait for change, learn to live with the joy and pain of life, and to be given peace and strength. This song makes a great prayer and meditation..............
something to spend time in the silence with.

May you all sleep peacefully tonight and rise up strong to enjoy the new day....SOBER!

Prayer Girl

Friday, November 28, 2008

Saturday, 11/29 - PEANUTS OR PRIZES?


What's this little guy got in his wagon? Peanuts? Prizes? I'm saying his wagon is full of spiritual prizes - slogans, sayings, and life-saving ideas for sobriety. He's looking them over, taking out what he needs and storing the rest for another day.

What exactly is in there?
  • easy does it
  • first things first
  • live and let live
  • but for the grace of God
  • think...think...think
  • one day at a time
  • let go and let God
  • this too shall pass
  • expect miracles
  • I can't...He can...I think I'll let Him (steps 1,2,3)
  • if it works, don't fix it
  • stick with the winners
  • sobriety is a journey....not a destination
  • to thine own self be true
  • I came, I came to, I came to believe (steps 1,2,3)
  • live in the NOW
  • if God seems far away, who moved?
  • turn it over
  • we are only as sick as our secrets
  • be part of the solution, not the problem
  • sponsors - have one, use one, be one
  • keep an open mind
  • willingness is the key
  • more will be revealed
  • don't leave before the miracle happens
  • practice an attitude of gratitude
  • God is never late
  • it takes time
  • where you go, there you are
  • stay sober for yourself
  • what goes around, comes around
  • change is a process, not an event
  • call your sponsor before, not after, you take the first drink
  • its the first drink that gets you drunk
  • before engaging the mouth, put the mind in gear
  • trying to pray is praying
  • EGO - edging God out
  • principles before personalities
  • HALT - don't get too hungry, angry, lonely, tired
  • RULE 62 - don't take yourself so darn seriously!!
  • You are not alone
  • "Don't die on Third'' (Step!)

(Photo credit: Pat Abbott)

Friday 11/28 - STILL THANKFUL


Tis the day after Thanksgiving and guess what.....I'm still overflowing with thankfulness.

Here are more things I am very thankful for today:
  • After being really "keyed-up" Thanksgiving Eve and sleeping very little, I slept like the proverbial "rock" last night (Thanksgiving night) and woke up feeling "great"
  • Having the pleasure and joy of spending the entire day with hubby
  • A safe trip up to and back from Tampa
  • Family and friends
  • My soon-to-be daughter-in-law being an excellent cook - mashed potatoes with all kinds of cheese in and on them as well as delicious Italian stuffing - just to name a few
  • The fact that my daughter created a superb butternut squash soup (Emeril recipe) with tarragon drizzle - wow - that was "out of this world" good
  • My son being a master in the kitchen - both as a terrific cook as well as master planner - getting everything out at the perfect time - amazing
  • My daughter's boyfriend being with us AND his Dad who I had never met
  • My blogging readership - totally amazing to me
  • Feeling calm and peaceful inside
  • Being able to ride my scooter to the gym where I can hopefully work off a little of what I put on yesterday
  • My strawberry pie turning out the way I wanted it to
  • Sponsees who listen and learn and grow
  • Having something to share with them that has been so freely given to me
  • Prayer and answered prayer
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving day and that they will enjoy today.

Prayer Girl

(Photo: The beautifully set and decorated tables we sat down to for our Thanksgiving feast.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008



Before I begin my blog about smiling, I want to say something about Thanksgiving. For many Thanksgiving will be a wonderful day full of love and happiness. For many others, Thanksgiving will be a time of feelings of sadness and loss.

I wish everyone blessings on this day. Perhaps you've guessed from some of my poems that I believe "time" is a mystery.

For those who are enjoying the day, I hope you savor every second of every minute of your celebration.

For those who are hoping this day will just end quickly, I say that each day is but a blink of the eye in the mind of God. The day will start, end, and a new day will dawn.

God understands and blesses all. I send my love and prayers.


(Stopped at the red light, smile is what I did
when I saw this bumper sticker
on the car in front of me.)

Thinking about this blog while in the shower, I had one thought right after another. My soul tends to be on the more serious side. It's lighter side needs more attention - needs more smiles.

A corollary bumper sticker came to mind:
"Laughter - It's the second-best thing
you can do with your lungs!"

Smiling, laughter - they are all great medicine and uplifting for the spirit.

At times it is hard to express emotions so sometimes I rent a sad movie and allow the tears to flow if sadness is on my heart. If it is laughter I need, I will watch a comedy or read something funny. Holidays can be a difficult time. If "down" is the feeling of the day, maybe a funny movie will help.

Someone recently blogged about things that make her smile.
Since a smile is the second-best way to use my lips,
these are some things that make me smile:

  • A funny movie
  • Children laughing
  • Seeing the "Smile" bumper sticker
  • Having hubby say, "Let's eat out tonight."
  • Syd's blog - "the biscuit timer"
  • Seeing the light of understanding "switch on" in the eyes of a sponsee
  • The light of understanding hitting me
  • The beauty of the "Living Christmas Tree" that steveroni plays violin for every Christmas
  • Smiles on the faces of my 'roni, my children, and those they love
  • A crisp, clear day with the smell of woodsmoke in the air

Photo: (Title:Carson)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday, 11/26 - "ETERNITY"


(FIRST - a short P.S. to yesterday's blog.)
P.S. #1 - Upon first getting sober, I had only one basket. It was the alcoholic basket and it was full of drinking, recovering from being drunk, drinking again, recovering, etc. etc. with a whole lot of fear, remorse, and guilt sprinkled in.
P.S. #2 - The eggs in that one basket were all "putrefying"

Now - on to a hopefully lighter, happier, more spiritual/philosophical note.
Another poem.

The eons of time cascade by
The centuries pass in parade

The years step one into one

And why do I feel entwined?

The months with their seasons spring forth

Into weeks with their days marching forth
Leading irresistibly onward
To everywhere - nowhere at all

And the hours sweep endlessly by

Ticked off by the seconds so brief

And between are the flickers of eye blinks

Into nothing and nothing at all

Yet in that bare blink of the lid

Mirrored there in its' translucent skin

Arrayed out are the eons of time

And I know that I "am" so entwined
Prayer Girl

(Photo: Twin Spiral Galaxies - Image of the Day)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



In early sobriety I was full of fears. There was fear of drinking again, fear of divorce, of being a single parent, of being responsible (for the first time ever) for the finances. There was also loads of fear about the future. There was fear of the "empty nest" knowing that the day would soon come when both the children would be gone, fear of "being alone".

An old adage came to mind -
learned from my mother:


I was very emotionally, mentally, and spiritually unbalanced in early sobriety. There was a desperate need for "balance" in life. One way of achieving balance is to begin putting energy, thought and time into different types of activities and interests - to open the box life had become and move out into the greater world of possibilities.

These are some of the different kinds of baskets that I identified and began to fill:

Family Basket - Working on repairing family relationship wounds where possible, developing and maintaining healthy and satisfying relationships

Basket of Sobriety - AA meetings, sponsorship, working the Alcoholics Anonymous steps, service such as speaking, leading meetings, group service positions

Basket of Spirituality - Developing spirituality - attending church, reading spiritual literature, discussing spirituality with others

Friends Basket - Maintaining friendships that were healthy and developing new friendships

Work basket - Finding satisfying and meaningful work, developing a career, expanding work skills

Hobbies and Leisure Time Basket - Exploring activities and finding interesting and pleasurable arts and crafts, dancing, cooking, reading, writing

Physical Activity Basket - Walking, using exercise equipment, using a personal trainer, swimming, bike riding

It took many, many years to identify the different baskets that would make life full and satisfying. It took commitment, willingness, and self-pushing, and being pushed by others to stay motivated to develop these different baskets and to keep putting eggs in each. The greatest motivator was "fear". As the years have gone by the motivation has changed from doing this out of fear to doing this because it brings a satisfying and full life.

I try to monitor myself from time to time to make sure I'm not getting lopsided. Do I have too many eggs in one basket? Am I reducing the number in another basket or excluding a basket altogether?

Since choosing to write about this, I realize it's time to do a spot check of these areas of my life. How healthy is my balance these days? Good question!

Sunday, November 23, 2008



Today has been a busy non-stop kind of Sunday filled with the enjoyment of pleasurable activities and lots of opportunities to help others - which always helps me.

I began my morning at 8 a.m. by meeting a girl I sponsor in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at the Catholic Church where she is attending the class. From there I went to my Alanon home group meeting that is growing larger and larger as the years pass. I love this meeting and missed it last week when I was at the retreat. I met with a gal I'm sponsoring in Alanon after the meeting. From there I went to a performance of The Messiah that steve-a-roni was performing in. It was wonderful and the beauty of the music sent my spirit soaring upward. I finally got home around 5 p.m. and was really dragging. Luckily I didn't have to cook dinner and I met Mr. fiddle-a-roni at Perkins for a great Chef salad dinner and brought chocolate eclairs home for dessert. Have also had several calls with sponsees.

A full day for sure!
For me, a wonderful way to end this day would be to share a few affirmations and things I'm thankful for.


I pray to God for guidance and inspiration, He answers and I hear.

I detach with love from the problems of my children. I listen to them without fear knowing they have a higher power and it isn't me. I pray for them.

I am empathetic and forgiving of others and have the courage to say what is right to say to them.


Those I love have their health.

Being with loved ones at Thanksgiving.

Making a decision not to think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

Not having to cook the turkey this year.

Being able to bake some casseroles, pie, etc. to take to my son's house.

Wonderful sponsees to love, cherish, and respect.

My sponsor.

The ability to appreciate the glorious beauty of The Messiah.

Becoming a part of this blogging community.

My wonderful hubby-a-roni.

Having the energy to write this blog.

Having a relationship with God that includes trust and faith.

Being able to share this trust and faith in God with others.
A good night's sleep.

Being able to close this blog with a prayer that God holds each of you in His arms tonight.

With prayers for you all,

Prayer Girl

(Picture by Claude Monet)



"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
- - - Leo Tolstoy

I've learned the ONLY person I can change is myself. This simple truth has meant freedom to me. I no longer frustrate myself trying to change you and find satisfaction in allowing God to change me.

"I am an idealist. I don't know where I am going, but I am on my way."
- - - Carl Sandburg

I don't know "exactly" where I am going, but I know the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous will take me there, and I know the destination will be a spiritual experience.

"If you would be loved, love and be lovable."
- - - Benjamin Franklin

What goes around comes around. The more I give away, the more I get. Love, compassion, and empathy can soften another person's heart.

"Facts have a cruel way of substituting themselves for fancies. There is nothing more unyielding and relentless, just as there is nothing more helpful, than truth."

- - - William C. Redfield

I so wanted my fantasies to be reality, but they weren't. My unwillingness to face life on life's terms nearly destroyed me. When I worked the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, I discovered the truth and the truth set me free.

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you."

- - - Robert Louis Stevenson

I have learned to enjoy and appreciate the simple, God-given pleasures of life. I remember so often in early sobriety hearing people say they learned to stop and smell the roses. Over the years, my mind has stopped it's constant spinning and I have found the ability to see the beauty around me and experience the joy of living.

I pray that all of you who read this blog see the beauty around them and experience the joy that is in this present moment.

Prayer Girl

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday 11/22 - TIME AND ETERNITY


Here are two more sections from Marianne Williamson's "The Time That Matters Most".

"FAITH IN A POSITIVE LIFE FORCE, which is the essence of a spiritual perspective, presents the possibility that we can afford to relax and just let life be. Until we do that, the moment in which we live gives neither comfort nor sustenance, insight nor wisdom. Worst of all, perhaps, is that it gives no joy. We cannot find peace by seeking it in a past we cannot change or by seeking it in a future we cannot control. Peace can be found only in the present, in which we deeply accept all of life-what was, is and will be.

LIVING IN THE PRESENT does not mean surrendering our responsibility to correct some things from the past or to plan and make way for the future; in fact, it is the ultimate taking of responsibility for both. The only point where God's time-eternity-meets time as we know it is in the present moment. And in that place of power, both past and future are healed."
- - - Marianne Williamson

There are so many things that call for my acceptance - things I am powerless to change. (If I cannot change them, I need to accept them if I want any peace and serenity.) I cannot change my past - the things I said or did that I deeply regret cannot be unsaid or undone. I cannot go back in time and relive anything. Nor am I able to control anything that will happen in my future. One of my favorite sayings is:

"What is - is! What was - was! What ain't - ain't!"

That about sums it up - perfectly - in my opinion.

Our program offers so much hope. In the present moment God offers me an opportunity and a way to heal the errors and regrets from my past. I have experienced this. As THE result of taking the 12 steps and my continuing practice of them, especially steps 10, 11, and 12, I have had a spiritual awakening that has allowed God to work in my life. He has done for me what I was unable to do for myself. My past has been healed - what a miracle. I no longer fear the possibility of errors and regrets in the future - as long as I continue to work this program, God continues to heal.

Thank God for the 12 steps!
Prayer Girl

Photo credit:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday 11/21 - STEP SIX - THE SIX "P"s"


Here I go again with those "P"s, but this time they come from Al-Anon's "Paths to Recovery - Al-Anon's Steps, Traditions, and Concepts". (Under "Members Share Experience, Strength and Hope", p. 67-68)

From the book, "I find myself at Step Six. I've been here before and I'm sure I'll be here again. This time, now that I've been working the Steps for eight years, Step Six is about the six "Ps" for me - perspective, pain, prayer, patience, process, and payoff."

Perspective - This is about gaining a new perspective on my character defects. Looking back in my past, I know that most of my defects were behaviors I adopted to cope with a life that I didn't know how to survive any other way. I did not learn healthy coping skills. I used to hide my feelings and thoughts especially when I felt I was being hurt. One of my primary tools for dealing with perceived rejection or slights was the "silent treatment". I also used self-inflicted pain to avoid my feelings.

But I am no longer the person who needed these behaviors. In recovery I have learned to live a different way. I no longer need or want behaviors that don't work for me anymore - they hurt me. I can now make the choice to let go of these shortcomings and focus on the tools the program teaches; prayer, amends, etc.

Pain - To quote from the book, "When clinging to my defect or survival skill becomes more painful than my fear of letting it go, I become entirely ready to have God remove that defect of character."

In my case, one example was when the pain of using alcohol to deal with life became more painful than admitting complete defeat and asking God for help, then I became willing to have God help me. When I found that the "silent treatment" caused more internal pain than just openly discussing my feelings and thoughts, I became willing to be honest with others.

Prayer - Quoting again from the book, "Step Six says God removes all these defects of character, not me. My part is to pray for openness and willingness. God chooses which defects He will remove. I just do the footwork."

My experience with this is that I must continue to pray and continue to do the best I can with certain character defects. I think of smoking. It took me years to finally give up smoking. I had to try many times, fail many times, and continue to pray and try before I was finally successful. I know that it never would have happened without my willingness, desire, and God's help.

Patience - This is a tough one for me, but the longer I work the program, the easier it gets.
From the book, "Since God is in charge, God gets to choose when and how fast He will remove my defects of character."

Once I become aware of a new defect, I usually want to do surgery and cut it out immediately. Of course, this never happens. -grin- First of all, it is God who does the surgery AND it is rarely accomplished in an instant. I want things done yesterday, but God does it in His own time.

Process - To quote again, "Becoming entirely ready involves a process for me - a grief process - where I walk through my denial, anger, bargaining and depression. As I complete the grief process, I become ready to have God remove a defect or former survival skill."

As much as I wanted the obsession to drink and my compulsive smoking to be lifted, I still went through a grieving process over the loss of these two behaviors that were firmly, completely entrenched in every fiber of my being. I could not sidestep this process. I had to go through it.

Payoff - To quote, "When I struggle with a defect, my current sponsor asks, "What's the payoff?" In other words, since I'm having a hard time letting it go, "What's still good about it?""

I used my "silent treatment" as a way to punish the other person for hurting me. I became willing to give it up and find another way when the payoff became too painful. I had progressed enough in the program that I no longer wanted to punish another and I no longer wanted to hurt myself. It made me willing to just sit down and talk.

Thank God for Al-Anon.
Thank God for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Love you all,
Prayer Girl

Photo credit:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday 11/20 - A SECRET SHARED


Sharing a secret means I'm blogging another poem.
I love alliteration and this one has plenty -
lots of "S", "T", and "B".

Hear the wind whisper swisper thru the trees
Strain to hear the silver sound slisper round
Under, beneath the bumpers crashing, sirens screeching
A tap thru the din, a gentle smoothness slips

Washing, swashing, sweetly over - enclosing
Drowning tense terse tires and tracks of hot rod cars
Zooming - careening - zigzagging - the streets
Swathing to a sleepy dreamy state

Listen! Whisper calls memories, swimming pictures
Pulse deep scenes screen-projected on the brain
In touch tune tempo with source, sense;
A film truncated from trucks and towers

This spectral cast cascades in sight
As seconds slip slowly by the luminous dial
A blare, beep, blast of buses bludgeons back
Till some other breeze-filled night begins to blow
Prayer Girl

A few more notes from my 11th step retreat.
There were two reading recommendations:
"The Power of Now" and "Stillness Speaks" -
both by Eckhart Tolle.

And two thoughts:
If I pray, why worry?
If I worry, why pray?

Love you all,
Prayer Girl

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wednesday 11/19 - "TIME"

(The amazing beauty of Antarctica)


I received a handout at the retreat about "TIME". It was jam-packed with plenty of wonderful thoughts. I'm going to share just part of it today. The first two sections follow:


THE PRESENT MOMENT, if you think about it, is the only time there is. No matter what time it is, it is always now. Yet often we live somewhere else. With thoughts of the past and concerns about the future, we rob ourselves of a full experience of the present. Although the past is over and the future is never quite here, our minds are usually so involved with one or both of them that the present serves very little function except to form a bridge between the two.

THERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO FOCUS OUR MINDS, claiming more fully our experience of being alive in the moment. The cultivation of stillness, of a sense of the sacred in every instant, is a radically different perspective from the speedy ride of linear time that dominates our world. Living fully in the moment is key to both personal and spiritual liberation. To be set free of our obsessions with the past and future is to be free of the chains that bind us to them. We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present. We do not secure a better future by living in the future; we secure a better future by living full and well in the present. Time weighs heavy upon us, until timelessness lifts us and sets us free.
- - By Marianne Williamson

What a beautiful reminder. Before I found recovery, the last place I wanted to be was in the present and I spent most of my time somewhere else. I was either in the past with remorse, shame, and guilt over what I thought should or shouldn't have happened or I was in a future that was either bleak and horrible or a fairy tale fantasy. Drinking helped me stay out of the present. Never being in the present made me crazy.

Recovery brought me a willingness to face "now", deal with things from my past, and stay out of the future (projection). The steps have provided the perfect plan for doing just this.

I have actually found that the present is where beauty, joy, hope, love, happiness, all of life exists. When I am filled with fear, I often find that my thinking is either in the past or the future. When I reel myself back to the present, I'm usually O.K. It is in this very moment that I can find God. And God is my constant refuge, hope, and power--which I lack.

I like to call "now" the:

"Precious Present"
(there goes my "p"reference for "P"s. again -grin-)

Two other thoughts regarding time are:

"The point of power
is always in the present moment."
NOW = Not Our Will

Love you all,
Prayer Girl

Monday, November 17, 2008



One of the many activities we had during our retreat weekend was a small group discussion. There were 28 people attending and for the purpose of this activity we broke up into small groups of about 6 each. Our suggested topic for discussion was:

How God took care of us in our addiction.

I know that the greatest thing God did for me in my addiction was to keep me alive. Had I not gotten sober, I believe I would have died. I stayed alive long enough to find Alcoholics Anonymous and from that beginning a whole new wonderful life.

God led me to my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. To this day, I don't know how I knew where to go or how I found that Noon women's meeting. Maybe the nurse who came into my office at work and talked to me about my alcoholism told me about it. (I tried not to listen to her, being in a terrible state of denial.) My mind was pretty pickled at that time so maybe she did, maybe she didn't. All I know is that I ended up at the exact place I needed to be through no thought of my own.

God also took a horrible situation and turned it to the good. One night I "came to" out of a blackout with a kitchen knife on my wrist (later my ex-husband told me I had it aimed at him before that) and God used this episode to bring me into a relationship with a minister of our church. I ended up visiting and being counseled by him once a week over many months. He saw me week after week even when I was still drinking. (I never went to see him drunk, but I had not stopped drinking yet.) I remember the love this man expressed, telling me he would continue to see me, welcome me, but gently telling me things would not get better until I stopped drinking. I actually heard him even though I was not yet ready or able to quit. I felt accepted and loved even in my most hopeless state.

God orchestrated so many different events that culminated in my hitting bottom, surrendering, turning my life over to Him, and beginning to be restored to sanity and health through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I was unable to help myself.

No human was able to get me to stop drinking.

God reached down using the hands,
mouths, and hearts of people in
Alcoholics Anonymous and saved me.

Thank you God,
Prayer Girl

Sunday, November 16, 2008



I will probably write several blogs about the 11th step retreat. It was a very full weekend and this first blog will need to be a little short. It's late and I have to get ready for my hospital gig in the morning.

Even though, as you all know, my favorite letter is "P". The "S" has replaced it for this retreat weekend. The letter "S" "S"poke to me as I listened and participated in all the retreat events. Before I list my collection of "S" words, I'll share a few favorite lines I jotted down as our retreat leader, Sister Marianne, spoke. You may have heard some of these already, but I love being reminded of them.

"God comes to us disguised as our life."
"My job is to get out of the way so God can speak."
"Guilt serves no purpose."
"None of us can take anyone else's journey for them."
"God puts the prayer in our hearts."

Now for the lovely "S" words:
Soothing Sounds
Second chance
Silkworth (as in Doctor)
Sister (as in Ignatia)

Each word opens the door to great possibilities for meditation.

"S"weet Dreams,

Prayer Girl

Thursday, November 13, 2008

(Friday) "PEEK-A-BOO! "



Oh, you must mean that kind and gracious and patient, prayerful and spiritual, loving and forgiving, flexible and accommodating, young and beautiful girl, right?


Is it possible - oh, it couldn't be - that you mean the one who wants her own way, makes plans in her mind that she assumes others (hubby?) will automatically intuit and then has hurt feelings when it doesn't go the way she wrote the mental script, still struggles with feelings of inferiority at times (feeling less than and not good enough), and who isn't wild about how she looks as she ages?


Is it possible that the real Prayer Girl is a little bit of one and a little bit of the other?


(Well, thank God I'm willing to look at myself, tell on myself, learn from what I see, and even laugh at myself.)

Now that we've had such fun playing that game, I have something to tell you. I'll be away at an 11th Step Retreat at a Catholic Diocesan Retreat Center about 2 hours from here. I've been to this particular retreat 3 times before and find it so spiritual, calming, peaceful, and fulfilling.

I am going with another AA girlfriend. We went together to the last retreat. It is always such a blessing for me and the others who come. It is a beautiful setting on the Myakka River, trees, lots of Spanish moss, birds, some wildlife, no TV, no cable, no internet, no phone, lots of quiet, just getting away with God. Every time I have gone to this retreat, God has shown me something special either while I am there or shortly thereafter. I just can't wait to see what He has for me this time.

I'll be "off blog" till Sunday when I return. I'll be leaving Friday afternoon. Have a great weekend.

Love you all. Prayers,

Prayer Girl


FROM HELL (Dante's Inferno) - - - - - - - - -

TO HERE (God's loving arms) - - -


I overheard somebody say the other day that when we feel farthest from God, that is when He is nearest. My immediate reaction was "no way". As I ponder this, the "Footprints in the Sand" poem comes to mind.

One sentence of it is:
"During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you." (For the full poem, go here.)

Looking back to when I was most lost in my alcoholism, God was carrying me. I was wandering in HELL! It is so hard to describe the horror of those times though many alcoholics know it well. A picture being worth a thousand words causes me to think of pictures of Dante's Inferno from "The Divine Comedy", one of those pictures begins this blog.

God lifted me up out of this inferno of addiction with its attendant obsessive and compulsive suffering, self-centeredness, self-hatred, negativity, and isolation. God has led me gently, slowly, surely into the light of His spirit. He did this by carrying me to the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous, to my sponsor, and to the 12 steps - which are life.

He carried me into this life that is now full of happiness, joyousness, freedom, sweet peace, and serenity.

Prayer Girl

Wednesday, November 12, 2008



Today I'm popping, but last night I was just "too pooped to pop". I tried to "pop out" a blog, but there was no way. The mind and body were turned into the "off" position.

My day started yesterday with a "before an Alanon meeting" meeting with a sponsee to go over step 9. When we finished and before the meeting started, I told her about my right thumb joint pain I've had for a year. (It's pretty painful at times, but manageable.) This girl knows deep tissue massage - does it for a living, probed around at the underlying muscle and asked if I had ever had my "muscle released". I didn't even know what that meant so of course the answer was "no". She proceeded to work on my thumb till the meeting began. It was painful, but I remember having physical therapy for a frozen shoulder - that was also painful, but did the trick.

The meeting was great as it always is. The format is a discussion based on a selected reading from "Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses" (Alanon literature). The topic was on a section titled, "Coping with a multitude of feelings" (p. 118). It begins with, "At times we may find ourselves wishing we could escape the intensity of our emotions. We may have moments in our grief where we try to convince ourselves that life was easier before recovery, when we either denied or minimized what was happening to us. Now that we have opened our hearts to experience our feelings, we realize that we can't remain the same. This is both one of the gifts and hardships of feeling with an open heart."

Since the day I finally got sober, I have never thought for a second that life was easier before recovery, but I guard always against denial and minimizing my feelings or situations. In my drinking life, those were my old methods of coping. I have mentally placed a skull and crossbones over the image of a bottle of alcohol AND over the word "denial".

After the meeting, my sponsee and I went out to lunch. We went to a place called Food and Thought. It's a little natural foods grocery store with a little restaurant. Great food. I had been wanting to go there for a while. I had mahi-mahi with mango salsa and black beans - wonderful!

I had an afternoon appointment to meet with a trainer and learn about the Wellness center I joined last week. I spent about an hour learning about the machines, the activities available, and working out a program for myself. Now I just need to stay motivated and go at least 3 times a week.

(By the way, my thumb is recovering from yesterday so it's not real happy with my typing this blog.)

By the time I got home, I was pretty pooped. Spent time soaking my hand in Epsom salts and then alternating heat and cold. Dinner was next and then my feeble attempt at a blog.

Long story short, there is some popping going on this morning - Thank God!

Love you all,
Prayer Girl

Monday, November 10, 2008



Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place;
I can feel his mighty power and his grace.

I can hear the brush of angels' wings,
I see glory on each face;
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

(Click to
hear this beautiful song.)

A four-hour stint in the hospital visiting patients as a pastoral care assistant, praying with a majority of them, is a quick way to understand the powerlessness that is the human condition. We alcoholics who have taken step one understand this condition of powerlessness. People who find themselves in the hospital often feel the consequences of their powerlessness in a sudden kind of way.

I was requested to visit several people in the ICU this morning. This is an experience that brings one into contact with the razor's edge of life and death. There was a person being airlifted out to a hospital in another city for a heart transplant that I prayed with. There was another woman on life support whose husband was "not ready to lose her". I was there to provide the ministry of presence - to just listen to him express his grief and horror at the thought of losing her, the ministry of touch - to place my hand on this gentleman's back, and the ministry of prayer - to place my hand on this woman's hand (she was not conscious and was on full life support) - and pray for her.

Today several people took my offer of a visit as an opportunity to talk and share a mini "life review". It is such an honor to be invited into a stranger's life, into their inner being, their history.

As I was leaving the patient rooms, coming down on the elevator, the song that is the title of this blog came to my mind. Anyone familiar with this song knows it usually refers to God's presence in a church. However, I felt the presence of God and the brush of angels' wings in the hospital today as I entered one room after another.

I often enter the hospital with a measure of trepidation, but as I moved from room to room and by the time I left the hospital, I felt as though I had been touched by my Higher Power and all the angels in heaven. As ZaneJabbers so often says, "Doesn't get much better than that."

Prayer Girl

Sunday, November 9, 2008



Sometimes a special movement slight or lilt of laugh
Will spark my memory to an essence past
From some far distant time and place
A synchronicity of then with now

A deepest warmth and glow will spread

In absence too this presence sheds

A meld of many-faceted discordant days

Into a harmony of endless depth
It plucks and pulls my inner sense
Releasing the captured history of my self

Prayer Girl

Saturday, November 8, 2008


(The title of this picture is "Wonderment" with credit to: Jennifer Alder)


I have been thinking about the wonder and awe of certain moments. I'm probably in this mode because today, I went to the wedding of a young person (a friend of my daughter's). My daughter was the "maid of honor" and there was also a "matron of honor" (the bride's sister). I didn't realize this would happen, but tears of joy and just plain overpowering emotion hit me as the ceremony began. Luckily, Alkyseltzer, had brought two handkerchiefs and gave me one of them. (My few Kleenex were never going to be sufficient.)

It was a beautiful Catholic ceremony with "ALL the extras" - lighting of the candles by both mothers and then the lighting of the one candle by the bride and groom, roses for Mary, coins, and a mass. I felt such a sense of wonder and awe at the love and joy expressed in the sacrament of marriage and the love radiating from the faces of the wedding couple, parents, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the guests.

As we were going home, I was wishing and praying for the best for this young couple. The odds are so lousy when it comes to marriages that last in our current cultural climate. But some do. My parents were married over 60 years and only death ended it. My current marriage was one made in heaven and will also last. So, even though the odds may not be so good, I know that I can pray, trust, and have faith that their love and commitment will see them through the good and bad times.

These musings very naturally brought me to the thought of the newly sober. What wonder and awe I feel whenever someone beats the odds (even worse than for marriages staying together) and gets sober. It is a true miracle. And I know that even though those odds are terrible, many do stay sober. God bless them. (And God bless those who don't too!)

When I was in treatment, I remember our counselor telling my group (about 20 of us) that the odds of our staying sober weren't good. She told us "maybe" one of us "might" be able to do that. I remember, at that very moment, looking around at the people in that group who I had come to know and love and feeling a deep sorrow for them because I "knew" that I would be the one to stay sober. This was not a prideful idea on my part. I was beaten into total submission at that point. My scorecard was at minus zero. No - it was an intuitive thought placed there by God. Another moment in time that I have never forgotten and never will.

There are so many other things that fill me with the feeling of wonder and awe such as the birth of a baby, many sights of nature, being on a gigantic ship in the middle of the Caribbean looking out at the endless expanse of water, sky and clouds. I am thankful today that I am able to feel wonder and awe, that I am able to see these marvelous things, focus on them, and appreciate what God has given me (us).

Prayer Girl

Friday, November 7, 2008



Dear God, I need your help right now. We need to talk. I'm sitting here in my comfy computer chair and there is a chair next to and facing me. You're there.

I know you already know everything that happened today - all the details of the lives of the people I met and spoke with and how I tried to help.

I spoke with three people today. They were each in varying states of confusion. They were experiencing frustration, anxiety, anger, self-loathing, and depression. Each one of these people is in recovery, serious about their recovery and doing everything suggested to them. They are just trying to understand, trying to get better.

One is desperately trying to learn how to set boundaries with others. Another is trying to see the truth about the nature of her relationships with others. The third person is struggling with feelings of inferiority and guilt. She has had some surgery and is particularly vulnerable at this time. She wants to protect her sobriety.

I shared my experience, strength, and hope with each of them as best I knew how. I remember how long it took for my own confusions to lift. I also remember how deeply I wanted things to become clear quicker than was possible. I tried to convey this to these three people. I tried to impart "hope" to them. I really need your help doing this.
I have faith that with your help I can help them. I'm praying You will bring peace to their confused minds.

I remember an experience I had once in my first year of sobriety. I was so very confused myself and had such wild mood swings. I was having a really difficult time coping with life in general. I was in the throes of a divorce, had a new job, had two children to care for, went to lots of meetings, was struggling with a crippling depression, and was seeing a counselor. Things were not easy, but my primary goal was to stay sober "no matter what".

It's been too long ago for me to remember the exact nature of what had me so upset and confused one night and I think I didn't actually know then what was bothering me, but I was running in a rat race circle in my mind and was beside myself with anxiety. I was on my way with my small daughter to meet with my girl friends and their small children at McDonald's. That's all we could afford at that time and we would talk while the children played in the play area.

I felt desperate for some kind of relief (not the drinking kind) and on the way to meet them, the idea came into my mind to pray to God to help me when I got in bed that night. That thought was so powerful at that moment that I couldn't wait for the evening to be over, to get home, get my daughter into bed, and hit my bed to pray. (This happened 23 years ago and I still remember how powerful the experience was.)

I remember begging God to relieve me of my confusion and mental anguish. I also remember telling God that I didn't even know how to pray because I didn't really know what was wrong. I was just so totally confused. I also remember saying that I trusted and knew that God knew what was wrong with me even if I didn't and that I believed He could and would relieve me. I fell into a deep sleep and "swear to God", the next morning when I awoke, the confusion was gone. Completely erased. I consider this yet another miracle.

So.....I am asking God to relieve these three people I was trying to help of their mental confusion. Each of them is no more sure of what is really bothering them than I was all those years ago. I trust God can ease their suffering and I am thanking you God for doing just that.


Prayer Girl

(Photo credit: Stephanie Dietz)

Thursday, November 6, 2008


(The Garden of Hope and Courage)


After my cruise, I decided it was about time I got back to some serious exercise. Not my favorite thing to do, but whenever I do, I always feel good about it.

As a volunteer at our hospital, I get a discount at their "Wellness Center" - a beautiful facility with a pool, massage rooms, all kinds of equipment and classes. I had to have a certain form signed before I could set up my enrollment. (Isn't there always another form to be signed?) And of course, I had to wait for the lady who needed to sign it as she was in conference.

This forced me to "slow down" and "wait" - yikes - I hate doing both of those. While I was waiting I took a walk around and sat in "The Garden of Hope and Courage" situated on the grounds of this hospital.

This is an oasis from the pain, fear and suffering that usually accompanies a hospital stay. Depending upon their condition, some patients as well as family members and staff are often found enjoying this garden. It is a haven in which one can recharge the spirit with - as it is so aptly named - hope and courage.

A tranquil lake is the center point with a concrete walkway forming an outline around the water. Huge banyan trees, exotic flowers, ferns, trees and other plants are in abundance. There are also bricked walking areas off to the sides of the path with sculptures, benches, quiet areas for solitude and prayer. Bridges cross over the water at various points as one walks around the perimeter.

There is a children's garden with statues of a large turtle, little children crossing a brook and pint-sized picnic tables. It's magical. So very inviting! There is a ceremonial pavilion named "The Tommy Bahama Pavilion".

God is HERE. I see and feel His nearness in the wind-ruffled leaves and the wisps of my hair being gently blown across my cheek.

Sweet peace. Sweet God.

Prayer Girl

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a - b - c

(Mr. Kitty waking up in "his" jungle!)

a - b - c
(From "Alcoholics Anonymous", p. 60)

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

(a) I was a hopeless alcoholic and could not manage my own life. I couldn't manage to stay sober more than a few minutes after I was recovered from the last drunk. I would swear not to drink again - feeling so sick - but as soon as I began to feel the slightest bit better, I would be pouring it in again.

(b) No human power could relieve my alcoholism. I went searching many places for someone to "fix" me and many people tried. The church prayer group couldn't help me. The ministers, doctors, counselors, psychiatrists, friends, family - none could relieve my misery.

(c) God could and He did when I sought Him.

This happened when I woke up from my last drunk. When I was close to three months sober, I went with slippery people to a slippery place. It was the Fourth of July and I went with my husband and adult friends who were drinking to an island off the coast of Florida. (I couldn't drive home or call a cab to take me home.) The fireworks were over, the boat broke down, the children were all asleep on the beach and the adults were on the boat trying to get it started.

And where was I? Sitting all alone in the dark on a cooler of beer. What happened? All thoughts of AA or not drinking disappeared from my mind, (I was without a spiritual defense.) I stood up, opened the cooler, took out a beer and drank it. I remember to this day what happened when I took that first sip - my mind did an about-face and said, "This is O.K. No problem drinking this beer." From that moment on, I had to have another and another. The next day I woke up to either drag myself to a meeting or go get my drink of choice, vodka. The vodka won out. I drank myself into oblivion. (This was my last drink - July 5, 1985.)

The next day, I awoke a different person than the one who had passed out the day before. In that instant upon awakening, I knew where to find my answers - God made Himself known to me through the members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I had always believed in God, but was unable to make the necessary connection with Him. AA showed me how. I got a sponsor, stuck with the AA women winners, worked the steps, prayed, followed directions. In this way, my relationship with my Higher Power, God, was formed.

Today, I am able to connect directly with God and He also continues to make Himself known to me through my fellow Alcoholics Anonymous recovering friends including you bloggers.

Prayer Girl

Tuesday, November 4, 2008



Thank you Child Lost for the award - and thank you for the kind words.

Linking my name with the word "hope" is truly a miracle and a gift from my God. As I commented on your blog - this is an amazing thing - considering I was depressed and had suicidal thinking for over 30 years.

WOW! Thank you God!

I decided to "go with the program" and try to choose six other bloggers to pass this award along to........very difficult because I love all the blogs I follow - that's why I follow them.

Shadow - (I guess this means you are getting two awards, but I didn't see anything in the directions that said I couldn't do it.) I always love the pictures, the poetry, the thoughts, the emotion expressed in your blog. It's funny how even though I have never met you and really don't know you, I feel that I am coming to know your "spirit" through what you write. And a beautiful spirit it is.

Lou - I so relate to everything you write. Kindred spirits in many ways is how I react to the things you express. You always connect with my "inner mother". I hope you understand what I mean by that. Love you Lou!

Jenn - You are an inspiration to me. I identify with your struggles. I relate with your situation. No matter what is happening you "keep on keeping on". I have watched you ask for help, be open to suggestions, follow directions, work the program as best you can, and I share your successes. KUTGW

Syd - I "ALWAYS" really "get" your blogs. They always speak to me in such a clear, precise way. I love Alanon and can't believe how much it has expanded my growth. I am forever grateful God led me there and I am grateful for your insights.

ZaneJabbers - You are always so completely honest and no nonsense. I love that. You always keep things simple when it comes to not drinking. Great reminders for all alcoholics. I also always love your gratefulness.

Alkyseltzer - (Some may say this is not fair since there is a connection beyond blog-reader here, but I didn't see anything banning this in the award directions.) I am amazed at Alky's insights, humor, and ability to convey recovery in the words he writes, and lots more. Love the blog-a-roni!

(the only one I actually know about is passing it on to six bloggers)

Prayer Girl