Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Freedom In The Dark


In Seeking Enlightenment . . . Hat by Hat, Nevada Barr, a mystery writer, reframes the importance of Halloween. It's not just a time of costumes and candy, it's a time for children to explore the dark.


"Goodness is a living thing, it needs to be tested, rediscovered by each of us in our own way so we can find out how to best use our idiosyncratic abilities to serve others. Halloween traditionally was the night we were given the freedom to explore the dark — not to find and be the evil but to see that the night was as beautiful as the day, that we were powerful, others were kind, that there was candy behind those closed doors and strangers who gave us treats.


"Being trusted to walk by ourselves in the world at night is an important ritual. That it comes but one day a year when we are small lets us discover this place, said to be inhabited by sinister forces, slowly and safely and by ourselves. On Halloween, we learn we can meet with our demons; that monsters are really and truly just us in other guises; that we can survive this interface. We learn that we are trustworthy; that our parents can dress us as demons, send us out into the night of demons to move among the demons and yet trust us to do nothing worse than to beg candy off the neighbors.
"When adult fears and conveniences take this world from us, herd us off to controlled environments, we learn that the world is indeed a horrifying place, that we are not safe in it, the demons are too much for us, neighbors offering candy are not above killing children, and we cannot be trusted to roam, even this one night a year without supervision.


"Halloween is too necessary to consign to the ash heap of ancient wisdoms. It is the one night set aside for our children to confront evil on their own terms. For me, it was the night I learned that evil was a construct of the mind and I need not be a part of it. Because of Halloween, I am free to walk alone in the dark."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Shooting For The Moon




I received one of those emails that goes around the internet that shows a smiling farmer giving sage advice. One of the bits of wisdom he offers is “If you find yourself in a deep hole, stop digging.” So I did. Sorry to say that included blogging for the last two weeks. I really appreciate the emails and “hellos” I received while I have been away. It’s great to know that people read my little piece of the cyber sphere; and I want you to know that my affection for fellow bloggers is mutual.

I have officially started school, fast tracking 17 units in advanced addiction studies. I’m also still working since I never remember to buy a lotto ticket. My Higher Power has blessed me with a few newcomers who seem to think I can help, and I’ve been giving them whatever time I can spare. I am keeping my meeting schedule regular, because for ME that is critical. All in all this means I’ve turned off the computer and the TV and put aside anything that might distract me from what I’ve decided is my primary purpose for now.

It’s great to have goals today, and to know a little bit about how to prioritize time, follow through, and go after what I want in life. When I think back on the scared overwhelmed girl I used to be I am filled with gratitude. There was a time in my life when I was going nowhere…now I truly believe anything is possible.

If you are a regular reader, thank you for your patience while I shoot for the moon. I will post when I can. Meanwhile, I’m here….I’m sober…and I’m just bursting with gratitude.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Cradle


I was launched into the fourth dimension this morning and got to spend some time with my father. He has been dead for twenty four years now, but I felt him with me as surely as I feel these keys under my fingers. You can say its hooey but it happened.

The year of my dad’s death was the year of my daughter Jolie’s birth. She was eight months old when he passed away. When I was pregnant with Jolie Dad made her a cradle. He loved to work with wood and I believe he wanted to give Jolie something “of himself”. He built her something peaceful and lovely, a place for rocking and dreaming and feeling the cocoon of love.

One of my sponsees and dearest friends is expecting a baby soon and I will be a God Mother. I’ve offered her the use of the cradle. I dragged it out of storage to clean and oil the wood and polish the hardware. I was approaching it as a chore, "get it done and move on to the next thing on my agenda." I took a rag and started oiling the wood, and as I did I started seeing the cradle with my heart instead of my eyes. I saw every bit of love and detail that my dad poured into that gift in his final days. As I rubbed the wood I let my hand follow the same strokes as the stain he had applied; I let my eyes see what he saw when he built it. I felt him with me. As I was getting lost in all of this I realized that the song playing in the backround was Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill.

I did not believe the information
Just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom, boom
"Son," he said, "Grab your things, I've come to take you home."

Without a doubt my father knew I would be doing this someday…….oiling the wood on this cradle for my grand children or god children. See, the cradle was for Jolie, but THIS was his gift for me……24 years later.

We never know when our gifts will come. It is with great humility that I accept this one. I was not sober when my Dad passed away. I am now, and it is because of sobriety that I even recognize the gift. I wonder how many of life’s gifts might pass us by if we don’t pause and open our hearts and minds to the infinite possibilities that our Higher Powers have in store for us.

I hope my Dad knows that we have “broken the chain”. I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams and a generation of babies of sober parents can rock and dream away the night in the cradle he so lovingly built.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Remote Spot


My sweet friend is living the first part of A Vision For You. She's trying to find her way to the Jumping off Place. I looked up the definition of "Jumping off Place". It can mean either "a remote spot"...or a "spot where you begin a journey or new venture". I'm afraid she is in a remote spot.


She has known the conviviality, companionship and release from care, boredom and worry. But now she is down to the seeking out sordid places...... yearning to capture something that is just not there. I pray she will not be hurt. Our elevator does not have to go all the way to the bottom before we get off.

I love how A Vision For You Ends...how we all can trudge the road to a happy destiny. This is my prayer for her. Well, that is my prayer for all of us.


jumping-off place definition
n.
1. A beginning point for a journey or venture.
2. A very remote spot.



FOR MOST normal folks, drinking means conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination. It means release from care, boredom and worry. It is joyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life is good. But not so with us in those last days of heavy drinking. The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more attempt-and one more failure.
The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did-then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen-Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand!
He will presently try the old game again, for he isn’t happy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end. From A Vision For You pg 151 BB




Sunday, August 05, 2007

Reach Out


The title of Clarity Case's current post is Agony. Can you reach out and offer support?


Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
Page 152 A VISION FOR YOU from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Phases & Changes


I posted not long ago about going off my hormone replacement medication. Well, sure enough, now there’s a hair growing out of my chin. I’m fairly certain I’ll grow a penis soon. I hope it’s a big one so I can win friends and influence people. I’ve heard there is a connection somehow.

You may laugh, but that’s how my mind operates. I hit a little bump in the road and assume I’m going right off the cliff. This kind of thinking sends me spinning and costs me my serenity. I used to like the “spinning”…in fact I think I might have been just as addicted to the drama in my life as I was to drugs or alcohol. Not any more. Now I treasure my serenity and have learned that I need to protect it at any cost.


My husband and I are facing some personal and professional challenges right now that are causing us to reevaluate some areas of our life. Nothing earth shattering, just life on life’s terms….but nonetheless it looks like we have some hard choices to make. I don’t like hard choices. When I have to make a hard choice it feels like the sky is falling. The truth is that the sky is NOT falling; I’m just getting closer to the sky because I’m growing.


Whatever we decide, I know it will be okay. I don’t need to know what “okay” looks like right now. I was talking to my sponsor tonight about the subject of change and willingness and God’s will for us. He pointed me towards the end of our 3rd step in the 12 and 12 where it talks about the misuse of will power. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God's intention for us. That helped me a lot. The answer is always the same: surrender and trust, more will be revealed. I may be a little low on courage, but I’m high on faith.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It Wasn't Wonderland


I try not to pay attention to the media frenzy surrounding celebrities and their struggles with addiction. Lord knows I’m grateful there weren’t paparazzi and up to the minute coverage of my dismal days. On the other hand I admit I’m starting to get frustrated with the sense of entitlement that some celebrities seem to have. The cushy rehab experience doesn’t seem to be conjuring up the attitude of gratitude that is so vital to our recovery. Do we know how lucky we are to have this fellowship and these rooms? They used to just call us crazy….literally.

Back in the late 30 and early 40’s when AA was in its infancy there was a young star named Francis Farmer who was gorgeous, brilliantly talented and critically acclaimed for her work both on Broadway and in films. She unfortunately had a reputation for being rebellious and outspoken, and was considered by many to be uncooperative and offbeat because of the clothes she chose to wear and the old car she preferred to drive. Maybe she was the Lindsay Lohan or Britney of her era.

Whether it was due to stress of studio life, a series of failed marriages, or perhaps she was just genetically predisposed, Francis Farmer became addicted to alcohol and amphetamines. Her drinking and using resulted where it always does—jails and institutions. But for her that was the end of it. No AA, no cushy rehab for a celebrity, no second chance.

There are several websites that tell the story of Francis Farmer’s tragic life and eventual death. I’ll quote a little from a few of them. Beginning at the sanitarium, she was subjected to insulin shock treatment, “a brutal psychiatric torture that stuns the body in addition to inflicting extensive brain damage.” Reacting badly to the insulin shock – she received some 90 of these –.”

“In an attempt to break her defiant and rebellious will a new brutal treatment was added, “hydrotherapy.” Now illegal, this barbaric practice consisted of her being stripped naked and thrown into a tub of icy water for six to eight hours at a time. After several more months of this torture, she was publicly declared “completely cured” —a supposed model victory for what was then called the “mental hygiene” movement.

Conditions were barbaric: both criminals and the mentally retarded were crowded together, their meals thrown on the dirt floor to be fought over. Farmer was again subjected to regular and continuous electroshock. In addition, she was prostituted to soldiers from the local military base and raped and abused by the orderlies. “One of the most vivid recollections of some veterans of the institution would be the sight of Frances Farmer being held down by orderlies and raped by drunken gangs of soldiers.” She was also used as an experimental subject for drugs such as Thorazine, Stelazine, Mellaril and Prolixin.

What happened to Francis Farmer, an addict, and alcoholic, a brilliant woman of untold capacities to impact other lives is beyond tragic. But it does shine a light on the miracle of the 12 step fellowships. It is as though we have come out of the dark ages. I can’t imagine what she would have given for 30 days in Wonderland or Promises.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One Day At A Time


From "The Housewife Who Drank at Home":

"A.A. gives us alcoholics direction into a way of life without the NEED for {alcohol, pills, lying, cheating, over eating, over spending, smoking till I'm raw, isolation, anger, blind rage...fear, fear & fear }
Are these things still part of my life? Yes. Do I need them? No.

That life for me is lived one day at a time, letting the problems of the future rest with the future. When the time comes to solve them, God will give me strength for that day.
"I had been brought up to believe in God, but I know that until I found this A.A. program, I had never found or known faith in the reality of God, the reality of His power that is now with me in everything I do."
© 2001 AAWS, Inc., Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 300

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bark Bark Bark


I haven’t posted for a week. Every time I sit down to write I draw a big blank…zero…zilch. It’s not as though there is nothing going on in Meg-land, quite the opposite, I’ve been overrun by “Life on Life’s Terms.” I saw the above cartoon and laughed. Yeah, I used to have a blog…..now my head just barks incessantly. So maybe that’s my post. Here’s the short list of what my head is barking about:


  • My doc took me off my hormones 3 weeks ago. There’s just too much risk of breast cancer with my family history. I’m rather fond of my ta ta’s so I’ll stick it out for now, but the mood swings and hormone flux has been a bitch.

  • One of my closest friends is in a relapse and struggling. I love her; I hate this disease.

  • I’m registering for school. It’s been many years since I went to college. I have a whole realm of emotions running in my head around this subject. Excitement, fear, anxiety bark bark bark.

  • Speaking of bark, coyotes were over the fence on the property again the other night. I forgot and left the back sliding door open. My dogs went rushing down the hill (Charlie is a slow learner or else fearless…) Anyway, Patrick broke it all up before there was any blood this time, but I’m still jumpy as a hen under the hogs, and not sleeping well.

  • My sister in law had a heart attack last week. Damn she’s only 2 years older than I am!

  • My mom had cataracts removed from her eyes yesterday. As she gets older, I worry more and wish we were closer geographically.

  • The housing market continues to flat line and my husband is working like a demon for very small potatoes. Very demoralizing......requires great faith.


There are a zillion other things running around in that little brain of mine too. That’s what we do……stinkin thinkin, until we are convinced we just can’t cope. The truth of the matter is that I have quality problems today, and I absolutely can cope! When I review my list, I have a home, a husband, medical care, education, family and friends. Sure there are challenges, but that’s life. I’m clean and sober today, even when my head is barking incessantly. I’ll focus on that attitude of gratitude and with HP's and your help, stay that way, 24 hours at a time.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Second Surrender


Our Rockin Girl Blogger Scout has asked me to post on the 7th Step. I just adore her, so I want to get this right. Ironic that the 7th step is about humility and here I am struggling with a desire to make this perfect. Perfection…perfection…now where did I put my perfection? I know it’s here somewhere. All I can do, Scout, is share with you what my incredible upline of sponsors have given me; and any wisdom I have gained from the “rooms” and my relationship with God.

I think of the 7th Step as my Second Surrender. The first surrender was the 3rd step. Each “surrender step” has a prayer and they are both actually really similar. I used to wonder why, it seemed to me we were doing the same thing twice, giving ourselves over to our Higher Power. The difference turns out to be “SELF” and “OTHERS”.

When I first got clean and sober my life was wrecked and I was spiritually sick. The urgent task at hand was all about ME ME ME and my messed up life. So the 3rd step prayer was about asking God to relieve ME of the bondage of SELF, take care of (you guessed it) ME, and relieve ME of my difficulties. And I incidentally made a bargain with Him that I would use this victory over my difficulties to help others. ( hey, I’m not just a taker!)

So, time went by, yada yada, I worked my 4th, 5th and 6th steps. Now I was living a totally different life. I felt changed, circumstances had improved, hope and faith were somewhat restored. I was no longer the urgent task at hand. But my sobriety will always be urgent so it was time to take that 7th step. In the 12 and 12 it says: The Seventh Step is where we make the change in our attitude which permits us, with humility as our guide, to move out from ourselves toward others and toward God.

In other words I was told that if I wanted to stay sober it was time to lay it all out at my Higher Power’s feet and say “Here it all is. The good, the bad. Can we use any of this to get closer and to help me serve others? Will you help me get rid of what would stand in our way?”


My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me the strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 76


So that’s my experience, strength and hope on the 7th step Scout. Keep this prayer in your morning meditation. I have to remind myself daily that all of my shortcomings will be relieved on God’s timetable, not mine. For one thing, what I see as a very annoying defect, God may see as very rich material he can work with. (God works in mysterious ways). Secondly, I believe God won’t relieve me of a shortcoming if there is still “work” I need to do in that area. My Higher Power wants the very best for me. That’s the agreement we made, and we’re sticking to it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Journey


IF THE TWELVE STEPS ARE A PATH ON A JOURNEY


WHERE ARE WE GOING ?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Mask




I remember the first time he hit me. I was so surprised….. not that he hit me, but at what it did to my face. It didn’t even seem like he hit me that hard, but in the mirror the next morning I was shattered. Eye swollen closed, a red and purple weeping nose, numbness throughout. He looked at me and said “but I didn’t even use my fist……….”

I wasn’t surprised because there had been signs before; a push, a shove, a twisted arm. It hadn’t particularly scared me. I knew he would eventually hit me. I just wondered when…and how…..and where. It never occurred to me to wonder why.

I knew the reason why. When we drank and used speed he got violent. It was part of the life and for a long long time I accepted it. I was not only an addict but also an addict’s wife. I had dual addictions …. to drugs and to him. There is such a significant correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence that drug and alcohol counselors are now trained in protocols for the treatment of both issues.

The first time he hit me was obviously not the last. The battering lasted on and off for years depending on the cycle of our disease. I do not want to write this from the viewpoint of a victim. I was not a victim. I was a willing participant. I knew where drugs would take us and I went there willingly over and over again. Cunning, Baffling and Powerful.

Living in active addiction is so shameful. There were so many many secrets. I didn’t want to grow up to be a drug addict and a battered wife, so I pretended not to be. I lived two lives shrouded in secrecy and shame. I isolated from family and friends and hid my reality. I put on a mask.

I left him when the fear finally overwhelmed me. I wasn’t afraid of him any longer. I was afraid of myself. I had begun to think of ways to hurt him. I was near my bottom with my using (still more than a year before I would eventually get sober). I knew I had to leave.

The gift of sobriety has helped me let go of some of the painful memories. I guess what remains is forgiveness and understanding for others who walk a similar path.

Today we have made our amends. He lives far far away and we are distant friends with bittersweet memories of a passionate love and a passionate hate. It seems like so many years ago, when drugs ruined our lives, I ravaged his soul and he shook my bones.

Friday, July 06, 2007

It Can Happen Anywhere


"I went to the filthy bathroom and got down on my knees. 'God, teach me to pray,' I begged. I remained there a long time, and when I arose and left the room, I knew I never had to drink again. I came to believe, that day, that God would help me maintain my sobriety. Since then, I’ve come to believe that He will help me with any problem. – Birmingham, Alabama, USA"


Came to Believe, 30th printing 2004, pg. 36

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Growing


I'm feeling a little edgy today. Change is hard. Feeling the change is harder. It's all good.


"My creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen."
Page 76 AA Big Book

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sweet Surrender


Practicing faith is not easy. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Often my first inclination when I am faced with a problem is to either start frantically searching for a solution OR ignore it. Either way, the “go to” emotion is fear. It takes a fair amount of wheel spinning and gut wrenching before I am brought to my knees. I wish I could say it wasn’t that way, but unfortunately the truth is sometimes I forget about God when I’m in fear.

Ignoring a problem used to be a personal favorite. Telephones and mailboxes = BAD. Authority Figures = WORSE. When I first got sober my sponsor had to help me open month’s worth of mail. I just couldn’t face it. Collection notices, unpaid bills, nasty letters, even casual letters asking about my well being; it was more than I could emotionally face alone. My survival skill had been ignoring it, now I had to take baby steps and deal with it. Baby steps. One day at a time. This program tells us we are “never alone.” I survived. I tried practicing faith, I did some footwork and my Higher Power provided.

Now days, I don’t often ignore a problem, but I do get into self will searching for solution. I am working on reminding myself that solution is in surrender. So what is surrender? Well, for me, it is asking myself what is God’s will for me in any given situation. And what is God’s will for me? It is that I apply the 12 principles in all my affairs. Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Justice, Perseverance, Spirituality and Service. I wish I could get it through my head that every decision, every dilemma, every challenge can be surrendered to God when my motives include God’s will for me. Ah, Sweet Surrender.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Attitude Adjustment


A Young monk asked the Master:
“How can I ever get emancipated?”
The Master replied:
“Who has ever put you in bondage?”
Advaita Teachings


Sometimes I feel like I am a slave to my character defects. A frustrated, unruly slave, tugging at my leg irons. Our character defects can do that to us; hold us hostage and prevent us from feeling happy, joyous and least of all, free. False pride, egotism, anger, fear, anxiety, they rear their ugly heads and before you know it I’m locked in the bondage of self.

Since this is the month of June, in meetings all over the globe step studies have been looking at the 6th Step. "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." When I first got sober I thought this was some kind of miracle “eraser” step. I was going to identify and admit my character defects, humbly take them to God, and soon after I would be transformed. Sure enough, some were lifted as I began to work my program, but a good many remained. The character defects that remain are what I call the “divine ordinary” they are emotions and characteristics that are common to all of us. They will probably be with me always at some level. My challenge is to work a program, practice the principles to the best of my ability and not let them imprison me, or others.

I now understand that the 6th Step is not an Eraser Step, it is an Attitude Adjustment Step. I need to accept my own humanity, defects and all, and tell God I am ready to work towards perfection, surrendering the notion that I will ever come even close to it.

During the years we were drinking and using we were bent on self destruction, in one insidious way after another. Our minds, our behaviors and our responses to life were programmed in that one direction. Our character defects were learned responses to our way of life; often they were even our survival skills. When we get clean and sober we chose a new way of life. No longer a life of self destruction, we are choosing to live, and hoping to live happy, joyous and free. We do a complete turn of direction. But what about those learned behaviors, those survival skills? Those ingrained responses that don’t serve us any more? (Those character defects) They don’t just go away, and they won’t just dissapear no matter how many times we humbly ask God to remove them. My point is, that it is a process. It may take a lifetime but what a great journey we’re on. We strive for progress, not perfection. We practice patience, and ask God for guidance.

So what do I do about a particularly troublesome character defect when it takes me hostage? I observe it. To the best of my ability I don’t fight it (that which I resist always causes me more pain). I recognize that is a part of me and I observe myself. When I admitted my drug abuse, I didn’t just “confess” to it. I had to “admit” it. Admit it into my heart and soul. I am an addict. That is the only way I could ever move forward in recovery. That is how I try to handle my character defects. I “admit” them. I take ownership of them. They are a part of me. If I rage against them they own me. If I lovingly observe how they are hurting me, or preventing my spiritual growth they seem to lose their power, sometimes they even become comical. Some of the best laughter I’ve shared is with friends in recovery honestly talking about our character defects. Go figure.

So Step Six--"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character"--is A.A.'s way of stating the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job. This does not mean that we expect all our character defects to be lifted out of us as the drive to drink was. A few of them may be, but with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement. from the 12 and 12

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thirteenth Step


We brought home toys for the pups. Since Charlie is still recovering from his coyote attack he got the best one: this rubber (pirate) chicken. Of course he loves it; it has a great howly squeaker. And, of course, Lucy keeps stealing it.

Why do we sometimes crave something that isn’t ours, something forbidden, something we aren’t entitled to, and shouldn’t even be thinking about? Apparently this is somewhat of a natural instinct. Sometimes this instinct, left unchecked, goes out of control and all hell breaks loose. In the case of my dogs, there’s a lot of growling and tugging over a rubber chicken. But when it happens with people, the behavior is usually more devious, more complex, and more destructive. It talks about this in the 12 and 12, 4th Step Chapter.
Our desires for sex, for material and emotional security, and for an important place in society often tyrannize us. When thus out of joint, man's natural desires cause him great trouble, practically all the trouble there is. No human being, however good, is exempt from these troubles.

Practically all the trouble there is” Yep. There’s trouble brewing in my neck of the woods. A couple of people in my home group are involved in a little “flirtation,” a “fling”, a “romance”? No, a “lust-mance” (You taste like honey, honey, Tell me can I be your honey.) She is young, lovely, sweet, vulnerable, and relatively new to sobriety. He is, well how can I describe him? Only one word comes to mind: Married.

So far this whole sticky situation is a “secret”. But I feel like I’m watching trains coming at each other. I shudder to think of the consequences when they collide. His wife goes to our meetings too. Everyone involved is a loving and loved member of our home group. I’m imagining our “atmosphere of recovery” being shattered by gossip, torn allegiances and a whole lot of pain and suspicion.

What am I going to do as I watch the trains on their collision course? Nothing. It’s their program, and noone is asking me to jump in. I have my own program to worry about. I wish I could control it, I feel like natural instinct’s have gone awry, and are about to tyrannize us all! I have no judgment for the people involved. It saddens me, because I would imagine that the feelings and issues that would allow someone to be unfaithful in a marriage are extremely close to the same issues that lead to relapse.
We have drunk to escape the guilt of passions, and then have drunk again to make more passions possible.

If I get all worked up about this and take it to my sponsor he will ask me “Who's in charge?” Of course I believe the answer to that is God, and I am not God. So I’m sad, but when I pause, I’m not too worried. The 13th Step has been around a long long time. Apparently people survive.



Today, I'm free
This brought me to the good healthy realization that there were plenty of situations left in the world over which I had no personal power--that if I was so ready to admit that to be the case with alcohol, so I must make the same admission with respect to much else. I would have to be still and know that He, not I, was God. As Bill Sees It, page 114

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Goin' Home


Tomorrow we head for home. This vacation has been great but there’s no place like home. I’m looking forward to pulling into my driveway and calling out to my pups. I know they will be jumping for joy. I’m also anxious to get back into my own routine…..my life, my meetings, my friends and family. I do best when I am centered and grounded in the life I have grown to love.


Vacation is nice, but it is not reality. Reality is the life I have built based on the principals, my conscious contact with God and my willingness to stay connected with my program….and Reality is awesome. It’s not always easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’m glad I like my life today. I owe my life to my sobriety and God’s grace. I have spent a lot of time on this trip feeling close to my Higher Power and grateful for the blessings in my life. I’ll take those feelings home with me.


Aloha.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Spiritual Awakening at Iao Valley



I’ve been reading a biography of one of the founders of AA, Dr. Bob Smith. It seems like Bill Wilson gets way more hoopla than Dr. Bob, and I’m not sure why. I’m really enjoying the book. He was a gentle man who did a lot of soul searching. He seemed to regret that he never had the kind of blinding light spiritual experience that Bill Wilson had. I can really relate to that. My spiritual growth has been more of a “quest” or a journey. My spirituality has evolved. There is a chapter in the book I’m reading that talks about Dr. Bob always searching and reading anything he could get his hands on about religion and spirituality. He was very open minded, and his spiritual journey was very rich as a result. I would like to think that my heart and mind are open too.

I have had spiritual experiences where I feel very close to God and even loved ones who have passed away. They are rare, but they happen. I think these experiences are available to all of us, but we shut them out with logic or a closed heart.

There is a valley here on the island that is very sacred. Whenever I go there, if I quiet my mind, and open my heart I experience a connection to the Universe that I cannot seem to achieve elsewhere. Many tourists just grab there camera and go for the beauty. I have learned that if I approach this place with the reverence the locals hold for it, a visit to the Iao Valley can be a gift.


Iao means "cloud supreme", for the bank of clouds that often sits over the valley. It is a valley of creeks and water falls, lush with flowers and greenery.

`Iao is so sacred that the remains of the highest chiefs were entrusted to secret hiding places in the valley. Kaka`e, ruler of Maui in the late 1400's to 1500's, is believed to have designated this valley as an ali`i burial area.

It was the battle in which
Kamehameha the Great defeated King Kalanikupule and conquered the Maui army in order to unify the islands. The battle was said to be so bloody that dead bodies blocked the ʻĪao Stream,

What lingers there now is a reverence for life. When I stand still and contemplate the magnificence of the place and consider that this valley has existed forever (and will still be here long after we are gone) it humbles me. It also helps me understand with certainty that God exists, and that the mysteries of the Universe are beyond my understanding. I am grateful that I get to contemplate and understand them one day at a time.



But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual laws, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put them into practice, then we do get happiness and peace of mind. . . There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone. DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS, pg. 308

Thank You From Charlie



Hi, my name is Charlie Mac and Meg and Patrick belong to me. They are on vacation in Maui and left me home with my brother Bob and sister Lucy. My Auntie Caron is taking care of us while my mom and dad are away.

I wanted to write to you all to thank-you for all your thoughts, best wishes and prayers for my speedy recovery. It was very nice to know so many people cared. I am doing great as you can see! I ended up with 13 bites and 4 stitches and felt pretty bad for a couple of days. But I got a piece of that *@^$#%@ coyote. We found lots of coyote hair. (I like to tell everybody I killed that coyote, but Auntie Caron says I shouldn’t exaggerate.) I stayed on the couch lying on my mom’s bathrobe and didn’t even bark at the pool guy, or garbage trucks or mailman. Auntie Caron fixed a whole bag of popcorn for me, but I had to share. I let Bob and Lucy take the watch for a few days. I tried to explain to Lucy about patrolling the perimeters but she just kept taking a nap under the big ficus tree. And Bob would bark at the birds at the feeder, lizards or palm fronds swaying. I guess I have to do it all.

It’s time for my antibiotics (I get my pills inside pieces of hot dog or cheese balls). And I should probably do a run around the perimeter of the property because both Bob and Lucy are sleeping on their watch. Oh dear, my work is never done!

Tomorrow I get to swim in the pool finally. I just hope Bob and Lucy will take the coyote watch when I am chillin’ in the pool.

Thanks again for all of your concern,

Love, Charlie

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lost



Music quiets my mind and transports my heart

Today I spent time lost in the music

Mahalo E Ke Akua No Keia La ~ Thanks be to God for this day

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Maui Friends of the Library


I love to read. I have a book underway all of the time, sometimes two or three. I like all kinds of books, intellectually challenging, spiritual, or novels…they all interest me. I think it’s my favorite mode of escapism.

On Maui there is a little book store located way out in the middle of the sugar cane fields where you can buy books for a dime. It’s the Maui Friends of the Library bookstore where they sell off the books that have cycled through the library. This is a relatively small island, and books move through the system in a matter of months, before they have to be cleared out to make room for newer releases. This means the books in the MFOL are good books! They are sectioned off by topic or fiction vs non fiction. It's just like a bookstore, only PRIMITIVE. The people who work there are always happy to see someone show up. It's hot and red dirt dusty out there; and without customers there are only the chickens for company.

A local person told us about the place a few years ago. The first time we went there I was thinking maybe they were messing with us “mainlanders.” First you drive out to the sugar cane factory where white steam is billowing out of the chimneys and the air smells like sweet nirvana. You turn down the dirt road that leads behind the factory and follow it through a maze of sugar cane plants as high as the car windows. Red dirt flies up off the road, and the car goes bumpity bump. Press on. When you are sure you are lost you come to a little (and I mean little) sign that says “Books” and has an arrow left. Follow that around the bend, past a bunch of chickens in the road that scatter everywhere, and suddenly you’re there!

Books for a dime……I’m like a kid in a candy store.

So now you know one of the best kept secrets on the island. When you visit Maui, load up, kick back and relax on the beach with a good book. Tell them Meg sent ya.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Meltdown At Sunset


No matter where I go, there I am….even in Paradise. I had a little meltdown at dinner the other night. The first week of our vacation is over. The second week we will be joined here by some of Patrick’s relatives from Michigan. They are fun people and I love them, so that’s not the problem. The problem is my own head. I got it in my head that we should go out to a nice romantic dinner to celebrate the end of our time alone together. I had the entire evening “scripted” in my imagination. The trouble started when I forgot to give Patrick the script.

I dressed up, put a flower in my hair, and we went to our favorite place here on the island. Everything was perfect, so far, so good. The sun was just setting, it was absolutely beautiful. Patrick grabbed the camera and said he wanted to get the sunset. He left the table and went upstairs to shoot the photos off the balcony. That’s when the script fell apart. I want what I want, and I want it now. I wanted to be the center of his world. I didn’t want to sit alone in the restaurant watching the sunset alone. When he came back to the table I treated him like he had been away committing an ax murder.

Amazing how quickly self will can ruin an evening. Amazing how quickly I can “forget” to be grateful and tolerant. Even more amazing it that I seem to need to learn this lesson over and over.

One of the blessings of a 12 step program is our 10th step. Sometimes I get to watch my behavior like it’s a bad movie, but the 10th step gives me a remedy. I can look deeper, I can see my part, and I’m not afraid to apologize and/or even laugh at myself today. I used to choke on apologies, it was so hard for me to admit my character defects. It’s easier now, because of YOU. I have learned that I am not alone.

The pictures he took are awesome. And today I’m feeling pretty awesome too. I’m not writing a script for tomorrow. I’m just going to BE HERE NOW, and wait for the miracles to unfold.


The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Big Book pg 60

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Charlie Mac



Bad news from home. My dog Charlie was attacked in the night by coyotes. Maybe I should be calling this good news, astounding and wonderful news because he is still alive.

The entire time we have lived in our home I have feared this day. I feel so helpless being so far away now. The coyotes prowl the property line at night, and I listen to their eerie yips when they kill a rabbit or some other critter. We are cautious with the dogs, but at some level I have had to relax and accept that we have done all we can do.

I don’t know why Charlie went out in the night. He usually sleeps with me and doesn’t move until morning. He’s a real cuddle-bug. Maybe because we are gone he felt the need to go “on patrol”. I guess we’ll never know.

Caron found him in the morning; he had managed to make his way back up the hill and into the house in spite of his wounds. He has nine bites. Two at the throat and shoulder, the other seven are all in his hind quarters. I think God was watching out for that little guy. He has stitches, a full load of antibiotics and doggy pain pills. Now we just say prayers and wait for the healing.

A friend (one of my husband’s sponsees actually) went to the house and found the place where the fence had been breached. He reinforced the fence line at the lower levels of the property and installed motion detector lights.

This is a time for me to remember the basics. I have to accept that I am powerless over what happens now. Rushing home would serve no purpose. What happened ….happened. Charlie is in good hands. I feel far away and helpless. I feel fear. I am trying to focus on gratitude. I’m grateful he somehow escaped. I’m grateful that my sister is lovingly watching over him. I’m grateful that our friend Brad fixed the fence.

I’m grateful for the Big Book. It tells me to ask God who I should BE in this situation, instead of worrying about what I should DO.

We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear. Pg 67

For another post on Charlie click here

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Patience & Tolerance


SOMETIMES QUICKLY, SOMETIMES SLOWLY

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Love the Dog You're With


In the little town of Paia in Central Maui there’s a place where you can borrow a dog for the day. There’s no charge. All you have to do is buy your picnic lunch from them and they throw the dog in for free. I think it would be cool to take a dog down to the beach and throw a Frisbee around, or on a hike up in the rainforest.

I’m missing my dogs at home. I absolutely love the idea of a 2 week vacation. It takes my psyche the first week just to slow down and surrender. The second week I'm officially "mauied". The hard part is being away from my dogs that long. The minute the suitcases came out Bob and Charlie knew we were going away. They started their depressed behavior, following us around, sure the sky was falling. Lucy on the other hand is still young and dumb, she didn’t have a clue.

My sister Caron is staying at the house. She doesn’t have dogs, she has cats. She called and said she’s having trouble adjusting to the pile of pups in the bed at night. I told her to consider it protection. Apparently, they broke into her groceries and ate all of her cookies too. Lucy won’t stay out of the pool, and is in and out of the house soaking wet. Yesterday Lucy took her first swim at 6:30 am. Oh well, a small price to pay for all that canine unconditional love. I asked how they were, expecting that they would be sad and blue missing me. Nope. She said they are all having the time of their lives. Guess I’m expendable after all.

I may go borrow a dog in Paia. I’ve gone before to check them out. The trouble was they didn’t seem too anxious to be selected for an outing. They were just snoozing away in the sunshine, looking like contented old cows. Maybe if I lived here year round I would be too.

Monday, June 04, 2007

At the Beach


Maui has many different kinds of beaches, white sand, black sand, rocky reefs and the lava bed beaches at La Peruse. All of them are different, and all of them are public access. Even the large resorts and hotels cannot close the beach off to the public. The Hawaiian culture has a strong belief in the sacred status of the ocean (kai) and the environment. These islands sprung from the ocean, and their love and respect for the land and sea is an attachment that has developed over hundreds of years. It is an attachment that is cultural, physical and spiritual. When Patrick and I visit the island we are sensitive to this and treat the land and the ocean with respect. But we see tourists tromping around with their trash and trappings and feel a certain shame just because we’re mainlanders too.

The Hawaiian alphabet has 13 letters, and only 5 of them are vowels, so the beaches all have funny, hard to pronounce names that I can never remember. Naturally I have my favorite beaches and I need to be able to refer to them, so we have come up with our own names. My favorite beach is named Meg’s Beach. It has white sand and clear water, gentle waves and is very quiet. There’s another one where the locals take their dogs to play in the surf. I always jump in and join the game, since I’m missing my pups back home. No surprise here, we call it Dog Beach. My least favorite is a place that Patrick likes. The waves are strong, good for body surfing, but too scary for me. The shore is rocky and I cut my ankle there. I call it Me-no-likee Beach. We don’t go there much. I’m too much of a whiner.

There is also a nude beach called Little Beach at McKenna. We actually have been there several times in the past. I don’t know if we’ll go this year. The first time I went I thought I would be shy, but it was different than I expected. No one paid any attention to us. It was kinda cool. The part I didn’t like was the sunburn.

Whatever beach we’re at, I always feel the amazing presence of God, whether I’m laying in the warm sand or out floating in the waves. Whenever I’m here I try to close my eyes and “capture” little moments to take home with me. My heart is full and God’s blessings are many.

Aloha until tomorrow.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hula of the Heart




Aloha from Maui. The AA convention closed today, and I can assure you the spirit of recovery is strong and heartfelt here on the island. It’s always fun to be at any convention, but this one is particularly special to Patrick and me. We have been coming to Maui annually for eleven years now and in a way it is our spiritual home away from home. When we are here we go to the local meetings almost daily, so we have made some friends over the years. It’s nice to be welcomed back with the spirit of Aloha. Aloha is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation in Hawaii. Aloha means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring. The convention was full of happy smiling people, joined by that common outlook that we read about in the Big Book.

At the opening meeting Friday night they had hula dancers. I’ve never been a fan of Hula, other than thinking it’s kind of interesting. But these dancers were different. They all had been incarcerated in the prisons of Hawaii. They did a dance that was narrated and it really touched my heart. The hand gestures and moves told a story of going on a journey in life. On the journey they were looking for something to soothe their heart, but they ended up taking the wrong path. Eventually their God lead them home, and they learned that what they were looking for was here the whole time. When they finished the dance, it was a very emotional moment…for them and for us…… they stood there stunned as they got a standing ovation from the two or three hundred alcoholics and addicts who understood and loved them. It was just another amazing moment in recovery. God, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.

Patrick and I drove home with the top down on our rented car along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. There was a full moon that turned the water silver and more stars than I could count. Light clouds were moving across the sky in the opposite direction, so it looked like the moon was racing along beside us. We cranked up the radio to “Come and Get Your Love” an oldie by the Real McCoy. Yep, just another amazing moment in recovery.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Aloha


We are leaving on a big jet plane for the island of Maui to celebrate recovery at Maui Fest IV, This celebration of sobriety and aloha takes place on the beautiful Ka'anapali, South Maui Coast. After the AA convention we will stay on for another two weeks of rest and relaxation. I am soooooo blessed. If someone had described my life to me as it is today, 14 years ago, I never would have believed it was possible. I believe in miracles.
I'm taking my camera , my laptop and my Big Book, so Aloha.........I'll keep in touch.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sharing


Lucy had a play date this weekend with my brother’s dog Max. She has a hard time sharing her toys. She got very fierce every time Max wanted something that is hers. We renamed her Pool Shark.

I was thinking about the whole concept of sharing….sharing toys, and sharing in a meeting. They aren’t so different really. We have something that we think is ours (alone) and we don’t always want to give it up.

Of course we learn over time that there are a lot of good reasons to share, but just like with kids, it’s often hard in the beginning. It’s all about facing the fear and trusting the process.

What I have learned is that when I do “give it up” in a meeting, I get back more than I give. Our issues (and our victories) may be cloaked in a myriad of different circumstances, but underneath everything it turns out we are all walking the same path.

I’m off to my Monday night women’s meeting. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to share.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

David


Many birds fly in a V formation when they are migrating. The theory is that the strongest birds assume the front position, so that others may benefit from the draft of their air currents.

The entire experience of working a 12 program is a migration. A migration away from our old way of thinking and living to a new freedom and tolerance for ourselves and others. If we are painstaking about the effort we put into our program, the promises on page 83 and 84 of the Big Book assure us that “our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.”

My sponsor, David S. celebrated 21 years of sobriety this week. I have been drafting along on his currents for awhile now. I have changed alot while he has been working with me. He might argue that he’s not my sponsor. He doesn’t like that word. He’s quick to point out that the program, in it’s purest form, makes no mention of sponsorship; only that we “work with others” and be willing to carry the message.

He also tells me that we get as much help from everybody as we can. That’s true too. I have a wonderful woman that I also call a sponsor, and a group of long term sobriety women that I call my “tribe,” and of course there is the cyber community of bloggers that support me daily.

But David is the heart and soul of the program I work today. He has taken me on a spiritual journey that I would not have embarked on, or understood, alone. He keeps me centered, reminds me that God is in charge, and isn’t afraid to laugh at my shortcomings.

Happy Birthday David, I hope I can draft along on his wings for many more years.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Friends FUR-EVER



When I arrived home from Yosemite there was an email from fellow blogger Two Dogs Blogging saying she was in town for a conference. She was at the Disneyland Hotel, so I grabbed a quick shower and picked her up for dinner and girl talk.

One of the best parts about blogging (for me) is that I have met some people in the cyber-community that I feel just might be friends forever. Maybe it is because we express ourselves primarily in writing, or maybe it is because many of us work a 12 step program, but whatever the reason, sometimes the communication between us is “richer”, more “heartfelt”. As I was on my way to pick her up I wondered if it would be that way in person, or would it be somehow awkward? Well, what I learned is a friend, is a friend, is a friend. I’ve never even seen her picture but I spotted her immediately when she came out of the hotel. That was my friend.

We talked the night away, until the time difference had her nodding. We talked like we have known each other forever. What an amazing deal this recovery thing is. We come together and:
there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. BB pg 17

I dropped her back at the hotel with promises to see each other again when time and or circumstances allow. Last I saw of her she was standing under a giant Mickey Mouse statue pointing to the sign that said “Don’t Climb On Mickey”. I have a feeling she might have, the minute my car was out of sight.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Home From The Hills


We’re home from Yosemite. We had a great time, what an amazing place. We stayed at a campground called Kelty Meadows, outside of the park itself. It was quiet and serene, we had the place mostly to ourselves. I loved the surroundings, cooking outdoors, sitting by the campfire, seeing zillions of stars and doing morning meditation in the meadow. I hated the outhouse.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Lift Up My Eyes



As the body can fail its purpose for lack of nourishment, so can the soul. We all need the light of God's reality, the nourishment of His strength, and the atmosphere of His grace. From Step 11 Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Patrick and I are heading up to Yosemite for nourishment of our souls and our marriage. I’m not sure a tent is the ideal setting, but if you’re looking for “the light of God’s reality” then Yosemite is the perfect spot. This is a picture he took on his last trip to the valley.

It’s not easy being married to me. And let me tell you, it’s sure not easy being married to Patrick. But for almost eleven years now, we’ve walked together, for better or worse, and it’s been one of the greatest blessings in my life. I think the rewards of being in a relationship with someone who is also in recovery probably outweigh the challenges. But the challenges can be, well, challenging. We both can be stubborn, self obsessed, unpredictable and selfish. On the other hand, we both are understanding and tolerant of the whole concept of character defects rearing their ugly heads. We’ve learned that timing is important. I’m loving and tolerant on his bad days, and he’s there for me when I melt down. We try to “practice the principals” in our home. We each have our own program, and work hard at respecting each other’s privacy. But there’s a 3rd program here, the program of the relationship.

After a few years of practice at this relationship deal we have also come to understand the emotional hangovers it talks about in the 10th step of the 12 and 12. But there is another kind of hangover which we all experience whether we are drinking or not. That is the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday's and sometimes today's excesses of negative emotion--anger, fear, jealousy, and the like. If we would live serenely today and tomorrow, we certainly need to eliminate these hangovers. We’ve had our share of those lately. So we are going back to basics. A little time together, a little 10th step work as a couple.
Many of us also like the experience of an occasional retreat from the outside world where we can quiet down for an undisturbed day or so of self-overhaul and meditation.

So…..we’re gonna go bond in a tent, under the stars. I’ll worry about bears and wish I was at a spa and Patrick will sleep like a baby. But over the weekend I bet we’ll have some memorable moments and come home happy, joyous and free.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Curve Balls






Today I Want To Be Ready For Whatever Is Thrown My Way
Onward On The Journey
"The progression of recovery is a continuous uphill journey"
NA Basic Text, p. 79

The longer we stay clean, the steeper and narrower our path seems to become. But God doesn't give us more than we can handle. No matter how difficult the road becomes, no matter how narrow, how winding the turns, there is hope. That hope lies in our spiritual progression.

If we keep showing up at meetings and staying clean, life gets... well, different. The continual search for answers to life's ups and downs can lead us to question all aspects of our lives. Life isn't always pleasant. This is when we must turn to our Higher Power with even more faith. Sometimes all we can do is hold on tight, believing that things will get better.

In time, our faith will produce understanding. We will begin to see the "bigger picture" of our lives. As our relationship with our Higher Power unfolds and deepens, acceptance becomes almost second nature. No matter what happens as we walk through recovery, we rely on our faith in a loving Higher Power and continue onward.

Just for today: I accept that I don't have all the answers to life's questions. Nonetheless, I will have faith in the God of my understanding and continue on the journey of recovery. Just For Today May 13

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Courage & Acceptance

My niece Marly is somebody really special. She joined the Air Force and served her country flying around in those giant AWAC planes that look like flying fortresses. I think back on her teenage years, freckle faced and strong willed, dealing with all of the challenges that our kids are faced with; and I marvel at the woman she has become.
Marly met and married her husband Jason who is also in the Air Force. They both have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. The separations are hard, although it seems they have found acceptance, and their love and marriage endures what it must. My sister worries. She planted red, white and blue containers of flowers in my backyard when the war started and put flags in the planters. The flowers bloom each year. The flags are very faded and tattered now, but we will not remove them until this God-awful mess is over.

I thought I would share an email from Jason.

Subject: my day out
Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 07:14:29 -0400
From: Jason

Here are some pics from me going out today. Us driving out on these dinky roads, a big village we passed (almost everything is made of mud, crap and straw here), my new friends (school children), and a panoramic shot of the view (the grassy area in the foreground is an old minefield from back in the day, the roads are clear though).
We went to the school on a humanitarian visit and stayed a while. The kids were really cool and had been trying to learn English. One taught me how to spell my name and we taught them how to play rock, paper, scissors and the hand slapping game. Once we broke out the toys and shoes things got way too crazy though. I saw some kids get the beat down. These kids beg for ink pens and water, you through a soccer ball and shoes out there and they lose their minds. It’s probably equivalent to throwing about $5,000 in a crowd in the states.

Well, that’s what I did today.

After my sister received this she started gathering crayons and coloring books to include in her next package to Jason. Sometimes all you can do, is wait, try to help others, and ask God to Bless them all.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Resting



I need to take a short break from blogging

I'll be back Wed or Thursday

God Bless You till Then!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Nurturing


I thought you might like to meet my Inner Child
She trusts me to take of her today

This program and ALL OF YOU teach me how to do that
She sends her love..............

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lovin Life Again


I can honestly say I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’ve been down and out for almost a week now with a cough and a fever. I’ve managed it to make it to my meetings and put a few days in at work, but for the most part I’ve been laying around in my pj’s wishing I felt better. I remember when I thought it would be heaven to lay around all day with no responsibilities. After a week of daytime TV and unending boredom I’m looking forward to diving back into my life again.

Striking the right balance between our physical and spiritual aspects is one of the most challenging aspects of existence. We are dual beings by nature, spiritual entities bound to earth by physical bodies. In our lifetimes, we are charged with the duty of nurturing and tending both with equal devotion and love. Yet while both aspects of the self are deserving of honor and respect, there is a tendency for people who are more spiritually focused to ignore, avoid, or dismiss their bodies. Similarly, many individuals are entirely ensconced in the carnal realm and pay no attention to the needs of the soul. In both cases, an adjustment is in order. We are whole only to the degree that we embrace both sides of our beings
Daily Om

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's In His Kiss



French researchers have isolated a painkiller in men’s saliva that is up to six times as powerful as morphine. Catherine Rougeot and her colleagues at the Pasteur Institute in Paris hope the compound, called opiorphin, will lead to the development of effective new painkillers that are not addictive, according to New Scientist (November 18, 2006).



Scientists think opiorphin works by blocking the destruction of enkephalins, natural opiates in the body’s nerve cells. Although drugs from opiorphin may still be years away, Rougeot and her colleagues say the compound is easy to synthesize for further study. Researchers might also be able to find drugs that prompt the body to make opiorphin.

So this is news? I've known this for a long time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Came To Believe


When I was a kid my Dad told me he could get rid of a wart with magic. Now, I believed absolutely and unequivocally everything my Dad told me when I was young. Eventually I came to him with a little tiny wart on my thumb. He got what looked like an ordinary soup bean from the cupboard and took me out to the backyard. We stood out there in the corner for awhile, and then he very ceremoniously rubbed the bean on my wart, said some mumbo jumbo words and planted the bean in the corner of the yard. The wart went away.

That was my first experience with believing that my problem could be solved, without understanding how or why, and then getting results. I just thought my Dad was some kind of wizard.

Now, years later, I found out that warts disappear often, when practitioners use the amazing power of the subconscious mind. So much for magic.

Many doctors prefer to draw a circle around a wart using a magic “wart pen” rather than treat it with caustic acid. Why? Because the magic works. According to the British newsletter What Doctors Don’t Tell You the wart nearly always disappears. A high-tech variant that is effective in half the cases is “fake radiation”: the wart is treated while the machine is switched off. Apparently for adults, hypnosis also works.

When I first got sober the problems in my life were a lot worse than a tiny wart on my thumb. Nobody offered to rub a bean on them either. But I was told that I had to surrender my wreckage, my will, and my life unconditionally to the care of a power greater than myself. I was also told that I may not understand how or why, but I would see results. I was even “promised” results (pg 83 and 84 of the BB) and many of those promises have come true.

I’m the kind of person who likes to know the how and why of things. But I have to say there is such sweet relief in surrender. Maybe that is one of the definitions of being a “child of God”. We get to be child-like again. I can stop intellectualizing, stop questioning everything. I can just be that kid in the backyard again that believes with all of her heart that what her dad said was true.

We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results pg 46 BB

Monday, April 23, 2007

Jaadu ki Jhappi


As we mourn the losses at Virginia Tech last week, the media talking heads keep yammering on about the emotional and psychological health of the nation's young people. Instead of yammering, maybe we should look East and try something they are doing in India.

from http://www.odemagazine.com/

Students in Delhi hug each other every morning. The new ritual is Indian officials’ response to an increase in student suicides. Some 4,000 students in Delhi kill themselves every year. The main reason is fear of failure, a common phenomenon in a country where high value is placed on academic performance. The daily hugging ritual—for children between ages 9 and 18—is aimed at giving young people a greater sense of self-esteem. A representative of the local education department told the Times of India (Nov. 30, 2006): “We have observed that there is an increasing sense of worthlessness among kids which forces them to take extreme steps like suicide. And this sense of emptiness has grown manifold over the years as there is no one to give them a good hug, which makes them feel how important they are in someone’s life. We realized that each one of us needs a jaadu ki jhappi [the Hindi term for ‘magical hug of love’] to start our day.”

This hugging stuff is no secret to any of us 12 step people. We've known about human contact and a daily dose of unconditional love for decades now. You don't suppose the normies are gonna catch on do ya?

Friday, April 20, 2007

12 Stepping


Brothers in our defects
We recovered alcoholics are not so much brothers in virtue as we are brothers in our defects, and in our common strivings to overcome them. As Bill Sees It, page 167

The identification that one alcoholic has with another is mysterious, spiritual--almost incomprehensible. But it is there. I feel it. Today I feel that I can help people and that they can help me.
Daily Reflections April 20

I don’t have to work on Friday’s at my traditional job, so I’m headed out to do work for my new Employer (the one referred to on page 63 of the Big Book). This morning I will spend a few hours with a young woman who is struggling with her 4th step. I know how that feels and I think I can help. Well, I say I think “I” can help. The truth is that if we are able to do this work together, it will be because Higher Power has chosen to encourage a bond between us that is
spiritual--almost incomprehensible.

The journey through the steps with a sponsor requires Honesty, Open Mindedness and Willingness. It can be a rocky path, that’s why we get a sponsor. I wouldn’t want to make this journey alone. My experience is that often the main ingredient is TRUST.

I opened the Daily Reflections this morning, and thought how perfect it is for the work I am off to do. I realize some of my sponsees ask me to work with them because they perceive me ONLY as a woman of virtue. But it is a gift of this program that I am able to conduct myself that way. I start any 4th step work by sharing my story with my sponsee. I share the parts that she hasn’t heard in meetings, or from the podium. I share the feelings, fears, and dark parts that had to come to light when I worked my steps. When I am finished, she “gets it”. We recovered alcoholic/addicts are not so much brothers in virtue as we are brothers in our defects, and in our common strivings to overcome them. Then we get down to the business of changing lives.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hello & Goodbye


We sing to the dogs at my house. Well, at least I do. Mostly silly songs that I make up as I go along, about how cute they are, or how much I love them. I sing mindless little melodies and lyrics about their tails or gum-drop noses. The dogs seem to love it; they follow me around when I’m singing, and they listen intently if I throw their name in once in awhile.

My daughter Jolie has been here for the past five days. I was getting ready to take her to the airport today, and I could overhear her in my bedroom. She was sitting on the floor packing her suitcase and singing to the dogs. It was a little song about how she loved them, but had to go away for awhile. They watched and listened. I loved the song, but I couldn’t watch her pack.

The drive to the airport was pretty quiet. I couldn’t help but think about how different the drive was Wednesday night when I was on my way to pick her up. I guess that’s life. Two ends of the spectrum, joy and sorrow; hello and good bye.

I am so grateful to be a sober mom. That is small sentence, but expresses gratitude for years of joy that I would have missed if I had not been graced by God’s love and the principles of this program.

I said good bye to Jolie, called my sponsor and my husband and spent a quiet evening under a quilt feeling sorry for myself. But tomorrow is another day, so I’ll suit up and show up. After all I heard her singing to the dogs and she said it was only for a little while.