Putting Some Gratitude Into a Situation Can be HARD

Last post I spoke about feeling “Out of Gas.”  I still am feeling that way in some ways and in other ways not so much.  When I drank I can see now, often it was because I had an emgratitudesymbol.jpgotional upset and didn’t know what to do with it.  I felt dis-EASE as they say.  I didn’t know what to do or how to deal with it.  I went to my “toolbox” pulled out the only tool I had in there – a vodka bottle.  As so it goes the life of an alcoholic.

“Controlled Emotions”

Many of us controlled our drinking for years.When I was doing it, I thought I was the only one. Some of my bar-fly buddies would drink wine with a side of ice, or they would switch to beer rather than the hard stuff they used to drink. I did all of those things. In the end, it was really my emotions that I was trying to keep under wraps, even though that stopped working after a while too. Cue up “The spiral.”

Getting a New Toolbox

Coming into AA everything changed.  Someone said in a meeting once, “When I drove my life off the end of a cliff, I landed here.”  I can say that is true for me too.  I was in a free fall for a couple days, when I decided I was at the end of the end.  I went to my first meeting at a Homeless Shelter because it was the first meeting of the day and I knew I had to go.  And there I was shaking. There was no vodka bottle in my toolbox.  It was completely empty and so was I.

If I can find Gratitude in a corner chair in a Homeless Shelter, I need to find in in other places.  I need to find it every place. This blog is full of almost 3 1/2 years of posts about “One Day At a Time” Living.  It is a journal exercise for me but early on I felt like I had to put it out to the blogosphere.  So I did.  I wanted to keep the mess to myself but “something” wouldn’t let me. I gave up trying to fight it.

Then people in our program suggested a book idea and I wrote it. It is now at a couple publishers waiting…like the blog, I felt like I had no choice about it.  I was led through the process, I didn’t know what I was doing, I had never written a book before.

Early Recovery

I am not sure I actually know what the term early means.  Right now, I feel like I am still in early mode, only now I just keep going to meetings, talk to my friends in Recovery, keep an honest work schedule and do more writing.  My job, which I am feeling the need to transition from has been my life for 15 years.  It is to a point now that the relationships and situations there are unhealthy for me.  It is possible that they have always been unhealthy, I didn’t realize how unhealthy they were.  I drank and isolated.  In the early days when I made amends for my actions, they were stunned and didn’t know about my problems.  I was thankful at the time, but it tells a story about the situation of our relationship to begin with so more erosion is easy when the foundation didn’t exist.

The gratitude comes from the simple facts that as I was able to hide my drinking, I could also hide my Recovery.  I could hit meetings without explanation and I did (and still do), I could take a :20 nap when I needed to without explanation, because nobody cared.

And they still don’t.


The Gas Tank is Getting Low

Last post I wrote about finding something good in something that was a pain in the a$$, something that freaked me out a little. It put a whole new meaning on Pollyanna’s GLAD GAME.  Last week I was able to do it.

Not Today

As I also mentioned last week, things have been upside down in my life lately.  There is an old situation, pre-Recovery that I am still in that needs changing – it’s big.  I keep on tossing it over the fence to my Higher Power, God or whomever.  lowfuelI am doing the footwork on my end to be ready for a change, to actually BE THE CHANGE.  It is not going as smoothly or as quickly as I would like.  Then I have had some very scary eye problems. Completely out of the blue.  And I have a dog with a similar condition that is needing treatment.  And there is my old dog that is getting older and lamer.  All this is costing $$. SO there is that.  Yeah I am whining.

This week, we had 2 people that we all love in the community lose their battles with cancer.  Another friend in the fellowship – I should call her my Sponsor – (she is the woman I call because my Sponsor notified me after we finished the Steps that I didn’t need to call her anymore.)  Her husband died unexpectedly.  He is in our fellowship too.  We all love him and them.  Now he is gone.  She is devastated.

I do have so many things to be thankful for…

I really do have many things to be  grateful for and I really am truly grateful for them.  I am just feeling really fearful, sad,overwhelmed.  I have no inkling to drink but I feel $hitty. I am sober. We had an Alca-thon in our area to which I participated at all hours of the day and night. I have been to many, many meetings. And it goes on that I will have 2 meetings in by the end of the day. My Mom came to spend Thanksgiving and we had a good time. She is now home safely. Her puppies that are normally banshees were really well behaved. I have a roof over my head.  I am grateful.

But I am living in Fear.  It all comes down to that.  Fear is Faith turned inside out someone said in a meeting once, I feel inside out.



Call Me Pollyanna…

Life has been dealing some tough hands around my house lately.  It is has been “Life on Life’s Terms” time of my Recovery in heaping helpings…

pollyannaSaturday night, I frequently go to a Speaker Meeting.  Of course it is all new, I am about 3 1/2 years in-a Day At A Time-and weekends were “party time.” I could drink openly and not sneak it.  Now I hang out with other alcoholics that are working to stay away from a drink.  Many are BEYOND the obsession and craving.  I have been (THANK GOD) for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the “good ole days” don’t play the scene all the way through, I only want to remember the good parts.

Sober and Awake

At 8:30 last night I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, sounds exciting, right?  I heard a funny hissing noise and went to check it out.  It took a while, but finally it was discovered.  A large leak in a steam boiler in my house.  (I live in a 225 year old farmhouse) so things are old but the “furnace guy” had been over Thursday to winterize everything, clean, etc.

I called him – he too, was sober and awake.  Walked me through what to do to make it stop until he could get here in the morning.  The leaking (more like gushing) from the furnace stopped.  Then the work started to get to all the radiators that were leaking water too (all over the floors.)  It was a mess but doable.

It was 11:00 and a shower later I was getting to bed.  My furnace guy came and fixed it up by noon on a Sunday.  No charge.

Why I am Thankful

Often I am away on weekends.  If this had happened without an “intervention” there could have been extensive damage.  What ended up happening was an inconvenience not a disaster.  “Back in the Day,” I may have been drunk and not known what to do or perhaps not heard it at all.  Or even today, I could have been away for the weekend.  But I wasn’t, I was home and within 12 hours all was well.


I don’t mind saying that I didn’t sleep very well, I was pretty freaked out right after it happened thinking about “what might have been.” Not sure what to expect when repairs were to be made.  And the guilt hangover that I would have had along with lots of damage if I had been drinking and didn’t know it was happening.

All of what could have happened, didn’t.  But I still have those instant old fearful feelings, leftover from old behaviors that I don’t do anymore.  $hit still happens and I am grateful that it all worked out.


*Thank you Queen of Your Own Life for the use of your image. 



That Was THEN, This is NOW

When grown men act like little boys.  Tantrums, meltdowns and more

There is nothing sexy or glorious about being a “peacemaker.”  For me, it was a way to be in control.  And now I know, it was how I thought I controlled other people and outcomes. peacegate_pinterestOne side confides in me, I am trusted.  The “other side” confides in me, I am confused.  I am unsure who to be loyal to, I don’t want to tell any secrets, in the end I think I can manipulate people to do what I want them to do-get along, the way I think they should.

All the while, I am over my head, overwhelmed, bitter.

I drank.  It was always a good excuse.  It was my only escape from a situation that was never mine to fix. None of my business.

Death by Text

I work with people that SUCK at communicating with one another.  I have been told that I “over communicate.” I am talkative, that is true.  Since my recovery began a few years ago, I have been very clear on boundaries.  Honest even when it is inconvenient. What is evident is, these people don’t want to communicate and have their own resentments toward one another.

Today, there was a situation that demonstrated the most pathetic, childish behavior I have seen in the workplace- ever.  If these two people were actually in the same room together (it either wouldn’t have happened in the first place), it might have come to blows. We work in a virtual work environment so most communication is done in online office environments, emails and text messages-conference calls as a “last resort” it seems.

Grateful I Have a Program

I cannot say for sure, but I believe these men are non-alcoholic.  One doesn’t drink at all, the other not very much (that I know of.)  Today, I refused to get involved in the volley of high tempered insults and left the conversation and situation.  I had a Funeral to attend a little later on and decided to leave “work” early.  This was not about me.

Other People’s Happiness Is Not Up to ME

I would love to say this argument won’t have long lasting effects on our company.  I don’t know what is going to happen next. I have to surrender and put this “peacemaking” job up to my Higher Power, because only HP knows the plan.

Thanks for reading.  I always feel better after I get these thoughts out of my head.


*thank you Pinterest for the image




F. (ace/uck) E. (verything) A.(nd) R. (ecover/un)

Sorry for the “eff” bomb, but I heard this in the rooms and I always try to stay true to what others say, as they say it.  It resonated with this alcoholic and I hoping it does for you.


When I first came into these rooms I heard a lot about FEAR, people mentioned it often, I thought I felt it, but couldn’t figure out why just thinking about FEAR when people said it, I became uncomfortable and sometimes angry.

In the old days, I would throw my hands up and say, “Let’s get a drink!” In the end, I wasn’t bothering with SAYING it or going anywhere with anyone.  I would just slowly shake my head to myself and pour another and another. This was how I did things.  How I chose not to deal with it. I trained myself to think this way.

Now I want to snap my fingers and in 3 short years I think I am going to be CURED.  That my “go-to” of escaping and running like hell would change.  But it didn’t.


Nothing Changes If Nothing ChangesAn avatar I use often is a coin (that I have long since passed on to someone) – NOTHING CHANGES is printed on one side and on the other side is IF NOTHING CHANGES. Little did I know that when I choose “One Day At A Time” not to drink, EVERYTHING changes.  And some of it doesn’t feel very comfortable. Some of it is downright painful.

This is where I am now.

My Sponsor suggested that I don’t make significant changes (if it wasn’t an emergency), within my first year.  My emotions would be raw and if I could wait, it would be a good idea. One of these changes is huge for me. Ending a business relationship that is 16 years old.  I have written about this before, hoping to sort it out through writing. I guess maybe hoping it would just go away.  And now, I have crossed the line of “Accepting” that it won’t change and “Courage” to change what I can.  Which is me in this business relationship.

The list is a mile long as to things that I find no longer acceptable in doing business the way it is being done.  Not withstanding treating employees unfairly and without respect. I’m tired of patching up situations that are brewing which are really none of my business. It is more of a “guilt by association” thing and I cannot do it any longer.

I am finding a pattern in me that allows me to stick with relationships that are unhealthy and borderline abusive. And when the topic is brought up, I am ignored, shoved aside. Over and over again.

Starting Over…

Perhaps this falls into the “going to any length” category?  I need to take care of me first. Get that Resume out and begin again reach out to my professional connections and not isolate. Make sober choices that allow for Recovery over Destruction.




Head On Collision with…Reality

One of my favorite quotes from someone in a meeting was, “When I come to this particular meeting, I feel like I am having a head on collision with Gratitude.”  This is pretty obvious to anyone that starts their day off with a meeting at a Homeless Shelter, which is what I do most days.

imalcoholfreeFresh from jail, thrown out of the house or inside from living in the woods, these folks are at our AA Meetings at 7:30 am.  Most of the time, the environment is pretty stable but there are some days when someone has a seizure, sounds of people vomiting, belching, etc. Our Grapevine meetings go on.

I get to leave the Shelter after the meeting.  Many others do too. Some leaving at the end of the meeting are those that lived there once, but “Graduated.”  Have jobs, a place to live and lives all because of Recovery.

We Will Love You Until You Love Yourself

Like most of us, Recovery is my journey.  For me too, the road has been rocky and smooth. Right now I am in a rocky spot.  I go to meetings to sit and allow myself to heal through the emotions I am not accustomed to feeling.  To do things differently than what I have done for years while I was drinking.  To let the chaos pass and not participate in it- it is hard. My friends in meetings provide me “Experience, Strength and Hope” while I sort things out. I think the last time I felt this confused and upside down things were A LOT worse. I chose drinking as my solution, drinking was the only one I knew. It propelled my alcoholism into a 10 year spiral and I felt like I had no way out, except to “end it.”  Everyone would be so much better off without me.

Escape to Recovery

Yes, I will admit it.  I am going to many more meetings than I usually do.  In the old days I would go to a Bar, grab a stool, order a “Vodka and diet” (no carbs!) and escape from my feelings.  Now I go to a SAFE place, a meeting TO LIVE through my emotions and when it comes time to deal with the situations and the feelings they cause,  I remind myself I am safe and I don’t have to drink.

For today. 




Tears of a Clown

Right now, I know there is a little hysteria about clowns, but bear with me.

Even after a few years of Recovery (One Day At A Time) under my belt, I aimage_tearsm still amazed at how most of the people in my life had no idea the depths of my alcoholism. I am not talking about how much I drank, how often I drank and how little people knew about why I drank.

The Steps

When I did the Steps with my Sponsor the first year, it was only the tip of the iceberg of what was happening with me. I would still say that I made a “fearless and moral inventory” of my faults and character defects.  I knew the names of what I was saying, but I didn’t know the actual depths of the things that were buried within me. It has take these few years of continually going to meetings, talking to friends in the program, living Recovery as much as I can.  Learning about myself has been hard at times, but using the tools of prayer and meditation have helped me look at these things and not own and absorb them anymore.


I have said in meetings, the last days of my drinking were days of isolation and self hatred. And when I understand that I am not the same person as I was then, I can talk about that it came down to the fact that I wanted things to stop.  I felt that the world would be a better place if I wasn’t in it.  Never did I think that my family would be devastated I felt that they would be better off if I wasn’t around.

Baby Steps

My way into the storm of my alcoholism took a long time. From what I can see now, it took about 10 years.  My marriage had ended and I was devastated.  Everything that I thought my husband and I worked for and were working for to retire was changed.  I had moved to a new place to take a job that was going to allow us to move closer to our dreams and in reality it moved me further away from my husband and he closer to  wanting something different.  Then he and his lover had a child together.  The job I had moved 3 hours away to take – ended as the company retreated back to Canada.

Unfortunate Circumstances

I cannot say that I am without blame here, I certainly took it all, owned it and drank to cover my feelings.  Did lots of volunteer work, started a business, worked my a$$ off. Worked so I wouldn’t have to think or feel.  I drank mostly on weekends and binged once in a while, nothing serious, but certainly it wasn’t normal.  As the years past, the binging stopped and I drank every night.  I worked late often and drank when I got home.  I thought I deserved it.  I was taking glasses of wine to bed with a book. Later on, I would wake up in the night and have a drink to get back to sleep.  With every sip, I was covering my loneliness, fear and feeding my disease what it needed to take hold of me, of my life.  I gave in, it was the easier, softer way.

In A Meeting, Carl said one time

“I was sick.  I didn’t know how bad.  I was dying, I didn’t know when.”  That was me too.  I didn’t care when, I just wanted it to be over.

And it was from that deep, dark, place I found HOPE in AA.  My whole life is different.  I meditate, I pray, I go to meetings.  I work, I write, I help others struggling, I also help my family and friends.  I do fun things and live without drinking.

But Life Still Happens – My job is to live it without drinking today.


*thank you to Pinterest for this image.

#MeetingGem: “I didn’t come up for air the first time until I was 31…”

About Relapse and Coming Back…

The first meeting of the day in Bangor, Maine is at 7:30am at the Homeless Shelter. The name of the shelter is The Hope House.  Monday thru Friday is a Grapevine Format. There is an article from The Grapeunspecified.jpgvine read – paragraph by paragraph, round robin style until the reading is finished.  Sharing begins on the reading or thoughts to “Staying away from a drink for today” are the focus.

So Many Points of View

Sitting in a meeting (any meeting), reminds me that my way of thinking is not the RIGHT way or the ONLY way.  It is A WAY.  As people share around the room, topics that come up from an article that we all just read TOGETHER, that are helpful to me understanding the struggle that is so real in each of us.  Even when we see things from a different point of view.


When alcoholics go back out, it is dangerous.  When we drink, we make bad choices, we are not in control of anything.  That means ANYTHING can happen and it usually does.  Most of which we may not remember.  Every time we go back out, our disease has been “doing push ups” getting stronger, waiting for us.  Our relapse periods vary and our trip back to the rooms of Recovery are at risk.  We can die. In my opinion, something worse is to kill someone else and live through the tragedy.  This isn’t Meeting drama speak, this is reality.

“Keep Coming Back”

Is an expression used in the Rooms of Recovery.  Today, I learned that people view that expression from a variety of angles.  To me, it means to “Keep Coming Back” to meetings because I am worth Recovery.  When the days feel really dark and I am struggling, I need to keep coming to meetings, get out of my head. My Higher Power has something in mind for me.

Others shared that no matter how many times a person relapses, they are welcomed back to AA.  And in another breath someone said that she felt that gave her permission to give up and give in the the disease.  Go back out because she could come back again.

Whatever “Keep Coming Back” means in your Recovery, I pray that when someone decides to just throw in the towel it isn’t a casual mood decision.  “Things suck so I will drink.” Call someone first.  Take a walk.  GET TO A MEETING. Giving up on yourself is a very dangerous place to be, not a passing fancy.  When we stumble, we don’t have to fall and roll around in the $hit of our past decisions.  We are worth living without putting ourselves (as well as others), thru holy hell.

“Think Before You Drink”

And if you don’t, please come back to AA.  “It takes what it takes.”




She Did It…AGAIN

Writing a letter to my Stepmother proves to help me understand her more

When my Sponsor and I were working through Steps 4 and 8, she made me create a “Hell No” List.  This was the list created of People that I had identified in recognizing my character defects that created upset in me for making amends. imsorrybear The list was made as a recognition of my distress and the lurking Resentment that was inside me. Writing the person’s name on a piece of paper forced me to deal with those feelings.  There were 3.  The first person molested me and was dead.  The second raped me in High School and now has since died.  The third, was my Step Mother.

Needless to say, making amends to the dead is less risky, but in the end after I worked through my motives in making those amends, they both seemed unnecessary.  The resentment was really no longer there, I had closed the door.  Putting them on the “Hell-No” list was a great process to go through.

“She makes me want to tear my hair out and eat it.”

When my Dad was living I would say this often to myself.  And when he was dying, she and I sort of “came to terms.”   I mentioned that in this blog previously.  And over these past 2 years there has been things that she has said that I have found haunt me.  I figured I would write her a letter, come clean about my own alcoholism and my belief of my father’s own illness.  At my father’s bedside, we made peace for his sake, I felt it was time to make peace for my own.

Higher Power

Once again I am reminded that these “hauntings” “constant nudges” are not mine, they are from someone else trying to tell me something.  Until I do something – in my case that usually means write something, it doesn’t go away.  That is how our book came about.  I kept getting reminded about writing and then writing a book came from that and the rest seemed to fall into place.  As of today, it has been submitted to 3 publishers.  I do the footwork and my Higher Power does the rest.

Once I started writing the letter it was obvious that it was what I was supposed to do.  The words came out and with just a couple typos the letter was ready.  I printed it, addressed the letter and drove it to the Post Office.  Felt like I needed to do that. (When this happens to me these days I just do it, without question.)  When the letter went into the box, I felt a little relief.

I wasn’t sure what to expect

She and I are not bosom buddies but we are not enemies anymore either.  We are polite and friendly, but sending this letter to her was not a “slam dunk” resolution.  It was a letter reconstructing our relationship and taking my responsibility for the stress and strain that a 26 year old woman (the age they married), may have caused.  I believe my feelings for her were much stronger than hers were for me, so the letter did not identify the “he said, she said” or really in much detail of situations themselves.  The words were kind, I mentioned a few of the sentences she had said several times, “The drinking had stopped but not the behavior…”  “He could be so cruel and divisive…”  I wanted her to know that none of this behavior was her cause and that being an alcoholic myself in recovery, I can recognize the “dry drunk” and had in my own father.

The Phone Rang

My Stepmother is one of the most impossible people to reach.  When I was drinking I thought this was all part of a GAME she was playing, trying to punish me.  Well that wasn’t the situation at all.  She just vaporizes.  She doesn’t stay in touch with anyone. After a couple of telephone tag attempts we were able to talk.  She was kind and so was I. There were no “I’m sorry’s,” there were more, “I understands.”  She told me about what she knew about alcoholism and how she thought there were some in her family that were alcoholics.  And we ended the conversation with a pleasant “Goodbye.”





Coming Back From the Dead

Many that read this blog are aware that my Home Group Meeting is located at a Homeless Shelter.  While by the Grace of God I have never been homeless, going to a meeting in a Shelter nearly every morning reminds me of how grateful I am.  Someone said once, “Coming here is like a ‘head on crash’  with Gratitude.”  I have to agree with that.


Our meetings are long on the “Experience” side of the “Experience, Strength and Hope” equation.  Some days folks are fresh out of jail, rehab or been kicked out of the house. Some are still drunk.  Many are sick and tired of being sick and tired, others are pissed off at the world, but our job is to have a meeting.

We have a daily morning meeting – Grapevine format for weekdays, Living Sober on Saturday , Sunday is 12 and 12.  People living at the Shelter are rousted out of bed early and our meetings are in a “Day Room.”  Some stumble into the meeting.  Others plan on it and some of us come in from the outside.

What This Has Done For My Recovery

When I am sitting in meetings I am recharged with relevant content that I need to stay sober.  I hear stories from people that have cheated the Grim Reaper 3 or more times.  I can identify even though my “story” is different.  I feel it in my heart and I am grateful for being sober TODAY.