"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." - Galileo Galilei
Thank God I found Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. They have led me to the discovery of truths that had eluded me all my life despite searching everywhere I could think to look. They are quite simple.
These are some of the truths I have discovered. With these discoveries have come a life that makes sense, is easier to live, and is so much sweeter.
It is true that alcoholism is a disease.
It is true that (like it or not) I am an alcoholic. (Today, I like it!)
It is true that I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable.
It is true that I (yes, I) have many character defects such as perfectionism, people-pleasing, worry, and fear.
It is true that, on my own, I can do nothing about these character defects.
It is true that I need a power greater than myself, God, to be able to surrender.
It is true that I need God to guide my life.
It is true that I need God to remove my shortcomings.
It is true that the depths of my relationship with God are limitless.
It is true that prayer and meditation allow me to connect with God.
It is true that God wants what is best for me.
It is true that I often do not know what is best for me.
It is true that prayer is very powerful.
It is true that prayers are always answered - sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes not yet!
It is true that life is a gift.
It is true that life is beautiful.
It is true that many of these things are true as long as I am looking through the eyes of a positive attitude.
It is true that attitude is everything.
It is true that we have choices and our choices always have consequences.
It is true that we can learn from poor choices as well as good choices.
It is true that we are not alone.
It is true that I have loving family, friends, sponsees, sponsor, and blogging friends.
It is true that miracles of healing happen.
It is true that working and living the twelve steps changes lives.
It is true that the twelve steps have changed my life.
It is true that an attitude of gratitude is a perfect prescription to eliminate negativity.
It is true that peace of mind and serenity are priceless.
It is true that this list could go on into eternity and needs to end for now.
Today passed so quickly I feel like I've been in some type of time warp.
It began with a meeting with a sponsee to do a 4th step using the Al-Anon "Paths to Recovery". This was a beautiful experience - more layers of the onion peeled away exposing "truth". Truth can be painful, unwanted, or just plain uncomfortable, but it does "set us free". I felt the doors of freedom opening for this wonderful lady. Thank God for the rest of the steps so we can deal with what we discover in the 4th step.
Next, it was off to a Noon Alcoholics Anonymous women's meeting and an opportunity for conversations with several women very special to me.
Home again, home again, jiggity-jog, and then off to Church.
After that it was a trip to the grocery store to pick up goodies for my daughter's 4-day visit. She has arrived and I'm so excited.
Tomorrow is my son's 38th birthday - exactly 6 days before his wedding. It will be unlikely he will ever forget his anniversary. Steveroni and I sandwiched our wedding day between our birthdays. His birthday is the 25th, our anniversary is the 27th, and my birthday is the 29th. We NEVER forget our anniversary. -VBG-
Tomorrow is also the 5th anniversary of my Al-Anon home group. We will have two speakers and then a celebration with cake, fruit, sodas, and coffee. Daughter will be with her Dad all day.
Hopefully Monday will turn out to be a beach day. Maybe I'll meet daughter at the beach after my volunteer gig.
Love to you all my blogger friends. Hope you have as blessed a weekend as I'm having.
I may be only one. I may be only a minuscule piece of humanity. My voice may be only the slightest whisper in the universe.
I know that God hears me. I pray. I am grateful.
Thank you God that I can pray knowing that you hear me, you care, and you answer.
Thank you God for my faith that allows me to pray for Mr. Hubby-aroni, Elizabeth (a young woman with a 5 year old child who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of kidney cancer), and Ryan (in a coma as a result of a car accident where the driver was his brother and was drunk).
I am forever grateful that I found my husband who shares my life with me and adds such texture, richness, and love to it.
I am grateful that God can bring order out of chaos, enlightenment out of confusion, and love out of all situations.
I am so grateful for the excellent health I have had all my life. Any health problems I've had have been, in the grand scheme of things, pretty minor.
I am so thankful and happy that my son who I have loved with every fiber of my being from the moment he was born and through all the years has found the woman he loves and that they will begin their married life together next Saturday.
I am so thankful for my beloved daughter who I have loved with all my heart from the moment she first drew breath and every moment since.
I am grateful for my sobriety and the God-given ability to freely pass on what I have so freely been given.
I am thankful for the tremendous love that is shared among recovering alcoholics and those recovering in Al-Anon both face to face and in the blogging community.
I pray that my spiritual connection with You will continue to grow to benefit me and all those You may bring into my life to help.
Thank you for the peace, serenity, and balance I have found in my life.
"....an utterly simple and universally applicable test for Truth. It is a test that any man or woman of any kind, anywhere, can easily apply for himself. It is as simple and direct as the acid test for gold. It is the simple question - DOES IT WORK?This test is so staggeringly simple that most clever people have passed it over as not worth considering, forgetting that all the great elemental things of life are simple." (From: "The Sermon on the Mount" by Emmet Fox, p. 132-133)
When I first arrived at the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous, nothing was simple for me. I was in such chaos, confusion, and pain that I was desperate to find a solution. I had tried many other solutions to no avail (churches, ministers, psychiatrists, counselors, doctors, medications, etc.). I simply could not stop drinking. Once I finally did stop drinking (through the help of a sponsor in AA), I discovered I needed a solution to the overwhelming difficulties of "living".
I have had many desperate people beg me for reassurance that there is a way out of the pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization they find themselves in - both in AA and Al-Anon. The only reason I am able to offer any reassurance is because I have asked myself the question - DOES IT WORK? (AA and Al-Anon) - and have been able to answer, YES!
People often then move beyond the simple DOES IT WORK? YES! to complicating it and asking HOW? But luckily, the program has provided answers to this too. The simplest of answers is: H - Honesty O - Open-mindedness W - Willingness If we have a willingness to be as honest as we can be, follow the program laid out before us, and have even the smallest amount of open-mindedness, then God can enter into the narrowest of places within us, and create the necessary CHANGE.
The change comes about one-day-at-a-time, one step at a time, slowly - with patience, persistence, and hope. At first, I had very little of that, my hope came from other members of AA and Al-Anon who had found the solution before me and had enough hope and faith to share. They supported and guided me till I found my own.
Today, I share this hope, belief, faith, and trust with those who have not yet found their own and with those who, like all of us, have our 'step backward' days.
I have had enough chaos, stress, conflict, desperation, anger, misunderstanding, emotional/mental/physical pain, and confusion for this lifetime. It is easy to be overwhelmed by it all. That is why I choose to share the hope, calm, peace, serenity, emotional sobriety, health, and wholeness I have found in AA and Al-Anon.
Thank God for AA and Al-Anon, for other recovering people I see face to face, and for all you cherished bloggers.
(Photo credit: Mother Nature's Valentine by Ranger Mark)
(Kolmanskop, Namibia. Kolmanskop is an abandoned diamond mine near the coast.)
"A SECRET PLACE"
These words are typed on a small square of paper and taped to my bathroom mirror: Humility is perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, or irritable, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing that is done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble. (Author unknown)
Wonderful sentiments, hopes, and dreams.....to never be fretted, vexed, or irritable....to be at peace even when being blamed or unrecognized by others. How are these things possible?
How beautiful to be able to go into myself, shut the mental door, and be at peace with God deep inside. This takes faith and trust and a willingness to suspend useless and detrimental old behaviors in the face of adversity, behaviors such as angry words, using the 'silent treatment', resorting to self-destructive behaviors like overeating, binge shopping, not sleeping. Instead of resorting to these behaviors, to stay quiet and pray.
A SECRET PLACE Hidden recess in my mind Filled with light and warmth and love There glows a place entirely calm Acceptance, trust, and faith I find
All knowing, understanding deep in there Expands the sense of peace - - surrounds Echoes in the heartbeat all around God shares his proof of total care Prayer Girl
(Photo credit: Kolmanskop-Namibia by Chris Gray-ga)
IMHO - - - We are perfect innocence at birth. God fashions this perfection because He is perfect. Time moves, life happens, and pieces of our perfect self begin to break. Imperfect families, social pressures, physical defects, many different factors break us.
I was broken from a very young age. I will probably never be able to identify the exact words, events, interactions, looks that caused things to disintegrate. I was unaware that I was cracking. I stumbled around trying to act like a whole person, a perfect picture, but I never felt whole.
The older I got, the more shattered I became. The more pieces missing from my soul, the less I could maintain a healthy inner or outer self.
God has always wanted me back together again the way He created me. In my case, becoming an alcoholic held the seeds of the greatest blessing possible - an opportunity to allow God to put the puzzle back together again. God gave me the 12 steps through Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. One step at a time, one puzzle piece at a time, I have been able to piece myself together again and become a whole human being.
Most of my character defects and those of others are a result of this inside damage. Will I ever be the perfectly innocent creation I was at birth? I don't know, but I do believe that in eternity my Creator will complete the work that He and I have begun.
I pray for everyone on this journey to wholeness - those who haven't recognized the need to journey, those starting out, and those in all various stages of completion.
PUTTING THE PUZZLE TOGETHER
All is whole And life pervades This picture perfect
I AM ALONE I am alone Amidst a wide expanse Of flame and frenzy bright I tower far above A meadow bursting forth In wild, profuse delight
I am alone Yet know a voice Of petals bending in the breeze I reach to hear Yet only catch the wind I listen past my ears
And I hear the vastness Of the thousand petals Stretching out beyond my sight A feather bed in which to lie Cascade around my head A velvet, silk-soft coverlet
And I am not alone Nor alien in their midst They offer forth their honey scent Show off their coverings bright Bend gently to my softest touch And whisper we are one Prayer Girl Of all the poems that I have written, this one is my favorite. It lifts me up, encourages me, fills me with comfort, and connects me with something bigger than myself. I need that.
I am looking for an extra measure of PEACE just now.
These are the thoughts that will bring that added SERENITY.
I am in the peaceful scene above. There is the slightest breeze. There is shade dappled with sunlight. The air is clean, clear, and crisp. There is a fragrance of nature - trees, moss, flowers, water. I can hear a quiet, gentle movement of the water. There is a path leading to the bridge and in a few moments I will be over the water looking out over this scene and breathing slowly in.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28 KJV).
From "24 Hours A Day", May 16-A.A. Thought for the Day: "Never weary in prayer. When one day you see how unexpectedly your prayer has been answered, then you will deeply regret that you have prayed so little. Prayer changes things for you. Practice praying until your trust in God has become strong. And then pray on, because it has become so much a habit that you need it daily. Keep praying until prayer seems to become communion with God. That is the note on which true times of prayer should end."
From "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie, March 19:
"Staying Out of the Middle" "Being a peacemaker does not mean we get in the middle. We are bearers of peace by staying peaceful ourselves and not harboring turmoil. .......................I will trust others to work out their own affairs, including the ideas and feelings they want to communicate to each other.
All is well. All is well with me and mine. All is well with the World. All is well in God's Universe.
God is in charge.
I am not alone.
From: "Daily Reflections", p.70, March 2:
"HOPE" "Hope is the key that unlocks the door of discouragement. .....It is with others that, with the grace of God and the Fellowship of A.A., I trudge the road of happy destiny. May I always remember that the power within me is far greater than any fear before me. "
I tend to my own acre of recovery. Someone else's acre is off limits to me. I surrender to God's will.
Wait! Be calm! Trust! Be still! Be silent! From these will change come.
From "Hope for Today", March 16: "When I let go and let God, I'm more apt to find a place of compassion between obsession and indifference, where the serenity of ordered thoughts and emotions lies........When I let go and let God work in my life, the pendulum that swings between the black-and-white of obsession and indifference finds balance in the peaceful colors of serenity."
"And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, 'Peace, be still'. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm"(Mark 4:39)
Today was a simple day full of wonderful moments. It started with an early morning rising to attend the 7 a.m. meeting with Mr. Hubby-aroni. It was my privilege and a delight to be able to walk to the center of the meeting room, meet Hubby there, present him with his 35 year sober in Alcoholics Anonymous medallion, and give him a hug and a kiss. This was a highlight of my day.
Several phone calls today with sponsees found most of them feeling a little better after yesterday's crisis-laden day. Thank you God.
I got some household tasks done today - some of them things I loathe doing. I mopped the kitchen and hall floors - yuk - but I felt so good to have gotten it done - a nice sense of accomplishment.
The skies were cloudy, but I rode my cycle to the gym anyway and luckily - no rain. I had a very intense workout and left feeling great. The ride home was invigorating with a cool breeze blowing across my face and body. Such a feeling of freedom - loved it!
I'm not used to getting up at 5:30 a.m. so a two hour nap was in my cards and it felt totally wonderful.
It was a very simple day, satisfying and happy . I felt the presence of my Higher Power with me the entire time. What a blessing.
Bless you bloggers, Prayer Girl
(Photo credit: Snow in South Bend by Amy Hart Baker)
Yesterday was a day unlike any I have experienced in a while. I witnessed so many people in soul-deep pain and confusion. On my own, I felt totally inadequate to help. Thank God, I don't carry the message alone. God is always with me.
One girl lost a son to addiction within the year and is experiencing pain that a mother who has not lost a child can only guess at how it feels. It's painful just thinking about that happening and I can only imagine the horror of living with the reality. This child of God finally surrendered the secret that she was drinking again and doesn't want to live that way anymore. Thank God. This is a beginning.
Another woman has just started attending Al-Anon and is in that place of utter torment and no understanding of what is wrong or how to lessen it. She is desperate for a shred of hope that something can help her. Like many of us before finding recovery, she has been trying to understand and fix herself for 30 years - with no success.
My phone rang all day. Recovering people I work with regularly were calling as well as those who call infrequently. They were all having some sort of crisis. Wow! The planets must be aligned in some weird way.
I had to remember to take care of myself and laid down for a while shutting 'everything' out. I needed to regroup. I called on my God to refresh my mind and spirit.
Here is what I hope for all those in deep conflict, doubt, fear, and hopelessness: THE SPARK Once more my Higher Power hear Once more I call on you dear God Place deep inside the spark of hope That one day makes us fully whole
In one who's lost a cherished child Another taken back the drink This one lost in her own pain That one struggling alone again
Breathe your breath oh God Upon that tiny hopeful spark Transform into a roaring flame That victory may be won - be claimed
Yesterday was GREEN - Today is BLUE - And many things NEW happened today.
BLUE is my favorite color. My eyes change color and sometimes they are blue.
Some NEW things happened today on the volunteer job. I was finished for the day and preparing to return to the area where I sign in and out when I heard "CODE BLUE" in Angioplasty announced several times over the hospital-wide intercom. Several minutes later my pager went off. I was sent ASAP to the Angioplasty area where someone's heart had stopped. Luckily, by the time I arrived, they had successfully brought the patient, a lady, back. The room was overflowing with people - doctors, nurses, many others. I saw a gentleman in the hallway and asked him if he was related. It was the lady's husband. He was pretty 'shook up', but all is well that .....you know how it goes.
Another 'first' today was an emergency page to ICU. Someone was dying and it was happening quickly. I had only minutes to get there. As I entered the area, the nurse ushered me to the room where three men were around the bed of a lady who was probably wife and mother to the three. She was close to being gone as I entered and they asked if I could give her last rites. (LORD HELP ME!) I had zero time to compute what to say or do so I said I couldn't do that, but I could pray which I did. Later, back in the office, the Chaplain was there and said in a circumstance like that I could refer to the "Emergency Minister" pamphlet I have. (Lots still for me to learn.) Still having some of that perfectionism inside me, I was less than pleased with my performance in this situation. But as I thought more about it, I realized I had placed my whole day in God's hands before I even arrived at the hospital, I did the best I could all day, and I know God was in that ICU room. I allow my mind to rest in the knowledge that whatever I managed to pray came from God and was a comfort for those men who obviously loved this lady greatly. GOD HELP ME! I FELT SO INADEQUATE!
I worked 8:30 - 12:30. I was invited to attend a graduation ceremony for 5 people at 10 am. They were graduating from a 22 week intensive 'Pastoral Care Course'. All graduates were either functioning as or planning to be ministers or chaplains. One graduate had a motorcycle ministry, out-reaching to bikers.
I'm not feeling 'blue' - I'm feeling good about the day. What a day it was!
Bodies of water are blue. Water is a symbol of spirituality. Ergo, in my opinion, blue is a spiritual color.
Green is not a favorite color of mine, but I finally found a green Gap pullover to wear for St. Patrick's Day. I never celebrated this day growing up. My mother was anti-Catholic and therefore the celebration of St. Pat's was never followed and the idea of wearing Irish green was never considered. Today I'm Catholic and wearing green :)
My birth month is May so my birthstone is Emerald - love that green gem.
My daughter's favorite color is green. She has green eyes.
Here's a secret about me. I still struggle with the character defect of being 'green' with envy sometimes.
The most favorite poem I've written is about a 'vast expanse of flame and frenzy bright' - gorgeous flowers in a meadow of lush green grass.
I miss the Spring and the Fall of my childhood - beautiful green trees and grass in the Spring and the parts of leaves still peeking green as they change color in the Fall.
My task Saturday morning was to find a green tie for Mr. Steveroni to wear as he played violin at Mass this weekend. I found just the one that had different shades of green in a diamond pattern. He liked it, I liked it, and hopefully it will serve for many St. Patrick's Days to come.
From About.com re: the color green - Green is a symbol for life - it signifies growth, renewal, health. It is abundant in nature.
From About.com re: the color green - "Green is a restful color with some of the same calming attributes of blue. Like blue, time moves faster in a green room."
I love the picture above of the green-eyed beauty with the beautiful green-laced leaf.
Love you all, Prayer Girl
(Photo Credit: Shades of Autumn by Alison Greenwood)
Today in our Al-Anon meditation meeting we read a page and then meditated for 5 minutes before discussion. The reading described someone who took the time to thank a total stranger for their service and how grateful that stranger was for the kind words. There is then a question at the end of the reading. Today, it was, "When was a recent time when you went out of your way to say "thank you" to someone?
My mind was somewhat scattered when I arrived at the meeting, people kept arriving late and I had to keep moving my chair, and it was quite hot in the room. Consequently, I was a million miles from meditation during that 5 minutes. Yet, just before the time was up a thought came into my mind. When was the last time I said "thank you" to the person I live with? To the person I love the most? So.....that's the topic of this blog.
Thank you Mr. Steveroni, hubby dear, for:
Asking me to join you in this Dance of Love - this Dance of Life!
Sharing your life with me - the good, the bad, the in-between, and the exceptionally wonderful.
Sharing with me and spreading your laughter, humor, and joy.
Being the man that you were when I met you and being the man you are today.
Allowing us to grow spiritually and religiously together.
Sharing your love of Alcoholics Anonymous - allowing us to live a life based on the spiritual principles of the AA way of life.
Thank you, my love, for:
Supporting me at all times NMW (no matter what)!
Believing in me always and when I'm having trouble believing in myself.
Being patient in the early years of our marriage as the "blended" family found it's way to a comfortable place.
Thank you, my dearest, for:
Saying to me one day, "You've got to get out of that job." That sentence opened the door to my retirement. Thank you. Thank you.
Cruising to the Caribbean with me.
Being a wonderful companion and help-mate.
Always being forgiving.
Thank you, my love, for:
Sharing your life with me.
Being a miracle in my life - being the soul-mate God intended for me.
Let's keep dancing. Let's dance into eternity together.
From ""The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie, "Timing", March 12, p. 69:
"Timing can be frustrating. We can wait and wait for something to happen, and it seems to be forever until it comes to pass. Or, suddenly, an event or circumstance is thrust upon us, catching us by surprise. Believing that things happen too slowly or too quickly is an illusion. Timing is perfect.Today, I will trust and work with Divine Order. I will accept the timing in my life today and in my past as being perfect."
When I feel like I'm waiting and waiting for something - anything - to happen, then I'm missing out on NOW - too busy waiting for something else to be enjoying and savoring what this day offers.
At other times, 'bam', something happens suddenly and I feel as if I have been 'knocked for a loop'. I feel unprepared. Maybe, if I had been paying closer attention to each one-day-at-a-time I wouldn't feel so caught off guard when life shows me how "BIG" it really is.
As I look back over my life, there were many times I was anxious for things to change, to be different, to happen. I spent a lot of time waiting. While I was doing so, I missed some of the beauty and joy of the present moments.Luckily, despite that, I still have memories of moments of pure joy and beauty.
Over the years, my perspective has changed. I have been practicing being satisfied, patient, staying in the now, focusing on the glass half full and sometimes even overflowing, looking for God in all situations, and this practice is paying off.
The payoffs for me are peace, serenity, patience, joy, hope, faith, trust, a greater sense of fulfillment. I have gained a belief that God's timing is truly perfect. Looking back, I can see that when things have taken too long, it has been because I was not ready. When things occur, it is because I am ready whether I think so or not.
I like the payoffs and so I plan to continue working the Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon programs. I will also continue to benefit from your experience, strength, and hope and share mine with you. Prayer Girl
P.S. Anytime I laugh, it's a good thing. This made me laugh: "If Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock." - Arthur Goldberg
This blog is dedicated to all of us who from time to time or perhaps even more often have 'problem people' in our lives. These people may be causing problems of a minor, but irritating variety or they may present problems for us that are deeper, more troubling, and defy resolution. Sometimes they are people we don't like and sometimes ones we love dearly. God bless any of you who have 'never' had this type of situation. Please let me know on which planet you live. :)
I am so grateful for the wisdom available through the programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon and their literature.
On March 7th and again on March 11th I read the entries in "Daily Reflections". I was impressed by them and they brought this blog topic to mind.
Daily Reflections, March 7, p. 75: "The willingness to give up my pride and self-will to a Power greater than myself has proved to be the only ingredient absolutely necessary to solve all of my problems today. Even the smallest amount of willingness, if sincere, is sufficient to allow God to enter and take control over any problem, pain, or obsession."
Daily Reflections, March 11, p. 79: "All I have to do is look back at my past to see where my self-will has led me. I just don't know what's best for me and I believe my Higher Power does. G.O.D., which I define as "Good Orderly Direction," has never let me down, but I have let myself down quite often. Using my self-will in a situation usually has the same result as forcing the wrong piece into a jigsaw puzzle - exhaustion and frustration. "
The last sentence in the above excerpt is one way I can measure whether I am using my self-will to try to fix a problem or I'm relying on God's will. How much exhaustion and frustration am I experiencing? Said another way, the opposite is how much peace and serenity am I experiencing in the midst of whatever problem situation exists?
When I think I have a problem with someone else's behavior, I need to remember that I most certainly have a problem with myself. This is actually good news since the only person I have any hope of changing is me.
Trying to fix, change, control, or coerce the person with a problem to change will surely lead to anxiety and frustration. I need to remember the three Cs I have learned in Al-Anon. I did not cause whatever the problem is, I can't cure it, and I certainly can't control it.
All my efforts to control someone else point out the need I have for God's help. It's so easy to see what is wrong with others, but this is of little use to me. I need to become aware of what is wrong in me, become willing to have God heal me, and then ask Him to do so.
I cannot change or fix anyone else. God is the only power able to do this. He does not need my help, but he can use my cooperation.
I need always remember that my most powerful tool is prayer - prayers for myself and prayers for the person with the problem. After prayer comes faith and trust that the God of my understanding has heard and will work things out in His perfect timing. And - I must do my part.
Introducing daughter's dog, 'Lucky". He is one very, very lucky dog to have found such a loving home with my daughter and her guy.
Lucky is not only one of the luckiest pooches I know, but he is also one of the lickingest and tail-waggingest, playfulest, and sweetest dogs I know. I think he's two years old so he is actually still a puppy. He is still in that 'chew a gigantic bone' in nothing flat stage. It takes a lot to keep his 'chewer' satisfied.
It was my luck to meet Lucky on my visit up to Tampa last weekend.
I was with many really suffering alcoholics yesterday. I ask you all to pray for 'J' and 'T'.
'J' is an alcoholic sober 5 years, but with other very difficult issues to deal with in her life. She works very hard at her program, gives it away, and does the best she can. Depression is, at the moment, trying to rule her life. I pray for her release from that emotional and mental place of anguish.
'T' is a newly sober alcoholic (days) who has relapsed in less than a week, is back in AA as of yesterday and I pray for her surrender, her willingness, and her sobriety.
I was so busy yesterday with Al-Anon and AA happenings that a blog didn't happen. This is it. I'm off to the hospital soon for my volunteer gig so I say, "Good-bye for now".
Happy thoughts are worth repeating. I have always been like this - when I have had a particularly memorable and enjoyable experience, I will think to myself later something like this - a week ago at this time I was doing such and such or three days ago at this time, I was involved in this or that activity. It fills my heart with happiness - AGAIN!
So....yesterday, I was thinking about how a week ago I was in Tampa visiting my daughter, having dinner out with her and her boyfriend, finishing a knitted pillow to complete my bridal shower gift for my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law, and sleeping so soundly in her guest bed.
Today around 2:00 pm I was thinking that a week ago at this time I was enjoying the bridal shower. It was such a wonderful weekend. I usually try not to spend time in the past, but this type of quick memory trip to last week is a 'good thing' - refreshing and uplifting.
Back to today and it was wonderful too. Maybe sometime next week I'll be revisiting this happy day. Hubby and I took our cycle ride out to Ave Maria where we had coffee and lunch on the 'square' - in the center of which is the oratory. We ate and sipped coffee in a small little place called The Bean. For me it was my favorite vanilla latte and we both had their Italian Wedding soup and turkey bacon club sandwich. Yum! There was no mass being held in the oratory today so we just went in to be in the silence and the holiness of the place and to pray.
Later in the afternoon, we went to mass at our church. It gave me an opportunity to pray for "D", one of our fellow alcoholics who died of this disease last night. What a reminder of the power of the disease. And what a reminder to me to continue to work on my spiritual condition by persistently practicing the principles and steps of the program learned over the years I have been sober.
I look forward to my home group Al-Anon meeting tomorrow. Maybe my sponsor will be there. I feel a sense of peace just thinking about the meeting and her.
Tonight I pray for all those who are suffering the battle with alcohol and have not found surrender yet. I pray for all those who have found recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous that they may continue to live the steps, carry the message, pray, and deepen their relationship with their Higher Power.
Friday night: A grateful smile is on my face tonight. Today has been a beautiful day full of wonderful moments orchestrated by God.
I am grateful for an early morning change in plans that allowed me to leisurely enjoy my morning.
I'm grateful for another change in plans that took me to a noon AA meeting instead of the noon Al-Anon meeting I usually attend. At this AA meeting I sat next to a woman I see rarely, sometimes only once a year. We were able to catch up.
I'm grateful that Chapter 3, "More About Alcoholism", from our Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous", was read and discussed at that Big Book meeting.
I am grateful to have been reminded of the many parts of that chapter I so completely identify with such as the description of many female alcoholics who when they begin drinking alcoholically are often gone beyond recall in just a few years. (I was gone in about four.) Also, the story of the jay-walker that I could relate to and understand from the first time I read it.
I am grateful to have been motivated to go to the gym and was able to put in a strenuous hour of exercise.
I am grateful that I was able to make a vanilla latte at home. My son had shown me how to use my machine at Christmas, but this was the first time I tried it on my own. It will take a little more work, but it wasn't bad for a first try.
I am grateful that I am calm, at peace, and feeling satisfied today.
I am grateful that I still have time right now (10:15 p.m.) to do my readings and writing that I had decided I would do daily during Lent.
I am grateful that I sleep well and look forward to a restful sleep tonight.
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to speak with many of my sponsees today. Each is a blessing beyond all measure.
I am grateful that I have an outing with hubby planned for tomorrow. We're "riding" (his Bergman and my Morpheus) out to Ave Maria where we'll have a bite to eat and go to mass in the beautiful oratory right in the center of town.
I am grateful that I am a sober member of AA and a member of Al-Anon.
I am grateful that with God's help I had enough honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to become a winner in life - finding and sticking with AA - and then discovering Al-Anon and becoming what is termed "a double winner".
I am grateful that I have been able to write a blog the last few days.
I am grateful that they are read. God bless you readers.
I am grateful that my children are all safe and happy.
I am grateful that the weather is still absolutely perfect here. They call where I live 'Paradise' and today it surely is just that.
I am grateful for a proper outlook on life today and that I am not in a panic over the state of the financial world.
I am grateful that I believe in the power of prayer.
SNAPSHOT #1 (6 months) I got sober at the 24 hour club in town about 20 minutes from my house by car. There was a meeting in a church two blocks from my house. I was afraid to go there. I was suffering the damages to my self-esteem which had never been very high and were brought even lower by the degradations of active alcoholism. I finally worked up the courage to go to a meeting there. A very vivid memory remains of women talking together in groups after the meeting. I remember clearly the thoughts that for a long time prevented me from approaching them. They looked so happy as they chatted and I heard myself whispering in my head, "If you approach them, you will ruin their good time. You will bring them down." Thank God, I continued to attend that meeting, my recovery continued and I improved slowly to the point where I did join in their conversations. They, of course, welcomed me. After a time, I became comfortable with being with my new friends.
SNAPSHOT #2 (1 1/2 years) I was always one who talked in AA meetings from the beginning. After about a year and a half a man I knew from meetings said in a kind, gentle, smiling way, "You finally make sense when you talk." This statement has stuck with me all these years for several reasons: 1. At the time I had no idea how little sense I made, how confused I was. I needed this insight. 2. I knew this man would never have said this if he hadn't known I had progressed enough to hear it. 3. It was wonderful to know I belonged, others understood me, and they sometimes saw me more clearly than I could see myself. 4. I felt total acceptance. I was accepted as an alcoholic seeking sobriety whether I made sense or not.
SNAPSHOT #3 (4 years) I was divorced and living with my two children. I was struggling to build a firm AA foundation, be a single parent, make financial ends meet, work, and then suddenly a hernia developed that required surgery. I was so fearful at that time that something might happen to me if I went under anesthesia that I opted to have the surgery with a local anesthetic. (I didthis, but would NEVER do it again.) My parents came to help out after the surgery. At that time, I had a home group that I had been a part of for about 3 1/2 years. I will never forget what happened after the surgery when I was recovering at home. A bouquet of beautiful, brightly colored balloons with GET WELL SOON printed on them were delivered. They weresent by the members of my home group. I could not believe they took the thought, time, and effort to do this for me. I was filled with gratitude and overwhelmed with love.
SNAPSHOT #4 (5 years) I was about 5 years sober when I attended a work-related conference in Chicago. I was having personal relationship problems at the time and was very sad and confused. I found a noon meeting in a downtown Chicago location near the hotel. As I entered the room, only one other person had arrived and he was setting up the meeting room. I introduced myself as a member of AA and a visitor. I will never forget the moment when this man asked me if I wanted to chair the meeting. Tears come to my eyes just thinking of this because: 1. I was feeling so low and this offer lifted my spirits. 2. God must have been totally in charge as this man had absolutely no idea who I was, what I might say, or how I would chair the meeting. 3. I felt that total love, understanding, and acceptance that exists among recovering alcoholics.
SNAPSHOT #5 (??? years) I was sober quite a while and still no one asked me to sponsor them. This worried me. I worried what was wrong with me. I worried about my AA recovery. I knew that fear and worry were close friends of mine. I thought about this often and finally came to the conclusion that God was in charge of this part of my program just as He was in charge of everything else in my life. Why? Because I had turned my will over to Him when I finally got sober. I had been seeing a counselor since before I got sober and for several years after getting sober. I respected and loved her a great deal and knew that God had put her in my life. One day she told me she was seeing another woman in counseling and that she was newly sober. She asked if I would sponsor her. This would be my first. That's how God began my sponsorship life. I immediately said yes and this lady and I met. I took her through the steps and sponsored her for many years until she died several years ago from a medical condition. My joy in sponsoring has grown over the years and every time someone asks me to help them, I hear God Calling.
I don't ever want to forget these wonderful moments in my journey through sobriety. Each one and all the people involved are precious to me.
(Who me? A cow? No way! I'm a beautiful princess!)
"SNAPSHOTS OF DENIAL"
Denial is a large part of the disease of alcoholism. My own examples of denial are, in my opinion, totally outrageous and in the light of sobriety even more unbelievable. Here are just a few.
SNAPSHOT #1 I was living in a household with a husband who worked in food service so was often not home at dinner time. I had a daughter 4 years old and a son 14. Neither of them cooked. One day only the kids and I were at home. I suddenly found myself opening the oven door and finding a cooked chicken inside. (I had no idea about black-outs. I had not the slightest clue that I had 'missing time'.) I looked at that chicken, not remembering having cooked it, not even bothering to mentally calculate the fact that my 4 year old was too young to cook and my 14 year old did not cook chickens in the oven. I had no recollection of having put it in the oven. My mind did the 'denial thing' and just jettisoned any need to understand what was going on out the window, took the chicken out of the oven, and we ate it.
SNAPSHOT #2 After having more drinks than I could continue to count and wouldn't bother to count anyway, I was asked by my husband, "Have you been drinking?" Without the slightest hesitation, I responded, "No, of course not!" This felt like a God's honest truth to me.
SNAPSHOT #3 One day, my best hiding spot was found. There is a laundry room off the kitchen and a large laundry basket on wheels sat in that room. I always had a vodka bottle stashed under dirty clothes and towels. When it was found, my only thought was extreme anger that someone dared to find my perfect storage area. It NEVER occurred to me that there was anything amiss about storing a vodka bottle in the laundry room. I was in total denial.
SNAPSHOT #4 I went into the laundry room (the infamous vodka storage area), opened the washing machine and was nearly knocked over by the stench of wet laundry. I had no idea how or when the laundry had been washed (never made it into the dryer). I, of course, had to rewash, then dry. I denied to myself at that very moment that there was any problem with this picture.
Now I can tell any of these stories in an AA meeting and they will be greeted by loud, raucous laughter. Only alcoholics can laugh at these types of stories while at the same time knowing the deadly seriousness that lies beneath them.
Thank God the 'chains of denial' were finally broken allowing the light of reason and sanity to pour into my life.
You never know what a day will bring. Yesterday began with an Alanon meeting at 10:45 a.m. I always have my cell phone on vibrate or turned off when in meetings, but for the first time I can remember, the phone was on ring tone and went off during the meeting. It turned out it was Steveroni calling to let me know that a girl (T) who had gotten my number from a meeting list was in trouble and needed help.
I went straight from the Alanon meeting to meet T at a noon AA meeting. She was desperate to stay sober. Her last drink had been at 4 a.m. that morning. Her body was set on low shake. As God would have it, the meeting ended up being geared to the newcomer and how to stay sober, how to not take that first drink. When I came to AA, the only way I was able to go my first whole day without a drink was to follow the directions given by a woman I met at my first meeting. This lady told me to call her every single time I thought about a drink. Since I was 'always' thinking of drinking then, I ended up phoning her 'all' day - at her home, at her work - I must have called her at least 25 times. Miracle of miracles, I didn't drink that day or night.
T and I talked for a while after the meeting and parted with an instruction that she call me in the evening or sooner if she thought about taking a drink. Around 6:30 T called and said she was thinking about a drink. She was at home where another member of the household was drinking. She was isolated in her bedroom to be away from the sight and sound of the drinking (a bad place to be). I told her to get to a meeting and call me when she got back.
T did exactly that and called me when she returned.She told me that as soon as she got into the meeting, she felt better. Another miracle? Most of us have experienced just this. I told her to read "The Doctor's Opinion" in her Big Book. She said she had read it earlier, was relieved to understand a little better what her condition was, and was going to start on the first 164 pages. I told her to first reread "The Doctor's Opinion" and to do so daily. I still read it, still find deeper meanings, still love it.
She was directed to call me in the morning or sooner if she was thinking of drinking. I headed off to bed with prayers for T in my heart.
Prayer is a pretty powerful potion when persistently and patiently practiced.
(I believe the whisper-soft sounds of the letter 'P' are like a melody floating up to God.)
Dave suggested doing this. Give a one word answer to the following questions. Some are thought-provoking. Try it on your blog.
I'M GIVING MY # 1 BEST ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS!
1. Where is your cell phone? Being charged. 2. Your significant other? My Best, Beloved, Blogger Steveroni! 3. Your hair? # 9 1/2 A - Extra light ash blond 4. Your mother? In my heart 5. Your father? Dearly missed 6. Your favorite thing? Writing a poem 7. Your dream last night? Censored! 8. Your favorite drink? Non-fat, extra hot, Caramel Macchiato 9. Your dream/goal? Publish 10. The room you’re in? My computer/desk area between T.V. room & kitchen 11. Your fear? Heights 12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Snowbirding - in Florida during the winter months and in the North during the summer 13. Where were you last night? Starbucks, Perkins, home 14. What you’re not? An active alcoholic 15. Muffins? Banana nut 16. One of your wish list items? A second home in the north 17. Where you grew up? Beautiful and exciting Washington, D. C. 18. The last thing you did? Ate dinner 19. What are you wearing? A lot - I'm cold 20. Your TV? BIG & NEW 21. Your pet? Kitty named Bert 22. Your computer? DELL laptop 23. Your life? Weird (my code word for God) 24. Your mood? Happy 25. Missing someone? My children 26. Your car? Toyota Sienna 27. Something you’re not wearing? Swimsuit 28. Favorite store? Macy's (department store) and Publix (grocery store) 29. Summer? HOT, HOT, HOT, LONG, LONG, LONG 30. Favorite color? Blue 31. Why did you laugh last? My funny bone was tickled! 32. Why did you cry last? I dropped a book on my foot! 33. Who will repost this? Mr. Somebody! 34. A place I go over and over: 24 hour AA & Al-Anon club 35. Someone who emails me: Kelsey and Laura 36. Place I would rather be right now: Cruising
This is fun. I recommend it for anyone.....little snapshots into someone's life and personality.
I'm sober in AA since July 5th 1985, and a grateful member of Alanon since November 2004.
I joined the "blogosphere" in September, 2008.
In December 2011 I became a grandmother for the first time and now understand why it's such a big deal. I'm wildly in love again with that little guy.