Too Much Thinking

It has been 7 months since my friend and sponsee, Kerry, committed suicide. She has been on my heart and in my thoughts a lot the past several days/weeks. So many things remind me of her. My heart lights up when I remember her smile and my heart breaks as I remember her despair. I still feel a little guilt over her death, I know it has nothing to do with me and what I did or didn’t do for her, but it is still there. I miss her.

I am doing well with my other 3 sponsees. I am trying really hard to be what they need. I am still not altogether ready to add any other women to my group of sponsees. I am still a little spooked by Kerry’s death as a friend so accurately put it. I often think I am not doing enough, but in reality I am doing what I can.

When I think about this world we live in I get very anxious. The current environment of the world is so unsettling. Sometimes, I think it is just scary to be alive during this period of craziness. I am frightened for the future and for kids today, they have so much pressure. People just need some common sense.

There is good in the world. I love the stories of people helping people. Kindness needs to be a greater force.

I have been working on some writing projects again. Mostly personal essay type stuff. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is writing a 5th edition and looking for personal stories as is The Grapevine, so I am trying my hand at my recovery story. In writing and reading my story and how I got to active addiction, I often think, am really an alcoholic/addict. That high bottom and lack of consequences rears its ugly head and makes me question everything. I guess it is better to be sober and question than to be out there using and messing up life. It is crazy that these thoughts still pop up after over 7.5 years of sobriety. I know we can’t rest on our laurels as that alcoholic demon is always waiting and making us question things ….. every thing!

So when I sit and think and let my mind go, well it is not always a good thing. But the grief, the anxiety and the uncertainty is real. I have to feel the feelings so they can be processed properly. Obviously, today I have time on my hands and my mind is going wild.

In reality; I love my sponsees and helping others, I love this country and I love my sober life. It is just that too much thinking tends to cause that stinking thinking. They say going upstairs (in your head) alone is dangerous. So I share my thoughts here and with my dear friends, who by the way are recovering alcoholics. When sharing, the too much thinking dissipates ….. just a little. Have to keep living life on life’s terms and make the best of it.

Busy is Better

It is only mid-August but it feels like summer is coming to a quick end. Fall is right around the corner. The neighborhood kids start school tomorrow which means more traffic and school buses!

I have been busy and some days it is hard to get everything done, other days there is not enough to keep me going. Being busy is good for me. If I am too idle, I get up in my head and start thinking and analyzing life. Busy is definitely better. I am happy. I am grateful that I no longer have to work. I have time for friends, volunteering, AA, workouts and whatever else comes along.

The engagement party was a success. A lot of fun with family, soon to be family and some friends. During their weekend visit, Allie and Pat visited a few wedding venues here and Bingo ….. they found the perfect spot in Mt. Adams, Cincinnati. It is a beautiful old monastery that has been converted into a wedding venue. We couldn’t be more excited. The only downside is nothing was available in 2023 so the wedding is May 25, 2024. A Saturday over Memorial Weekend. It seems so far down the road. It does give us a lot of extra time to plan, save money and for the MOB to lose some more weight. Gotta look at the bright side!

The results from the breast reduction are good. I am all healed up. I still have some follow up appointments with my surgeon, but they are now few and far between. I have decided since she also has a staff that does cosmetic skin enhancements, I am going to have my first facial peel on my next visit. It is time for some old lady skin care. I am back full force at the gym with my trainer. My diet is ok. I am not exactly on the plan perfectly for the program I am doing, but I am eating way better than I have in the past so I guess that is a win. I have my body scan this week to check my measurements, I am not looking forward to it. I feel like I have had little or no change in the last 6 weeks. I have less than 2 years to get into wedding shape. I also want to be healthy. My glucose readings have been higher. I talked to my family doc and she did not like the numbers. I unfortunately had to go on a low dose of diabetes medication. I am not happy about this revelation, I am starting to feel my age and I don’t like it. My achy joints and arthritis are probably side effects from the Ulcerative Colitis. It sucks!

I have started back to my volunteer gig. I joined up again with the event committee. We are planning our big bunco fundraiser for 10/1. Looking forward to working on this event. It was super fun and profitable when we did it before Covid. My sponsor and I are hosting a going away party for a dear friend who is moving. I offered up my home for this. It is next week. 40+ have been invited, 25 have responded that they are coming – I have no idea how many people will end up at my house. Luckily our new outdoor space: patio, pavilion and landscaping will be almost complete. Just waiting on the granite countertops. I just need to chill about this gathering as it is stressing me out. We are also in the midst of planning our family foundation annual golf outing which takes place 9/19. It is not my year to be in charge so I am just doing what I can to help. A lot of event planning is currently happening and keeping me on my toes.

With fall coming, I am excited that football is starting back up. I love my Cincinnati Bengals. I am looking forward to having friends over on our new patio to watch games and hang out. Summer seems to have gone by really fast. They say the older you get the faster time goes by and boy is that true!

So for the life and times of me ….. I am just busy.

The Engagement and other Life Events

I haven’t written in long while, I am just out here trying to live life on life’s terms ….. which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes it is a downright battle, but let us not go there right now.

Allie and Patrick finally got engaged. The official engagement date was 5/21, so it has definitely been a minute or two. With all her snooping, she was still surprised. It was sweet, They were at a park in Dallas with the dog – they were going to go on a picnic but forgot the blanket so they just walked around and he popped the question. He had a party with friends planned for after the proposal and even had her bestie fly in from Chicago to complete the surprise. We are truly excited to welcome Pat and his family into ours. We have no wedding plans as of yet. There is still the decision as to where the wedding will be …. Dallas or Dayton/Cincinnati. We have said our peace and given our thoughts, but it is their wedding and they must decide. We have an engagement party planned for a couple of weeks from now here as they will be in Ohio for a wedding. It is just family and very few special friends. I will update after their visit.

With it being summer and the 4th of July holiday there have been a lot of drinking events, but I am holding my own. There are moments when I wish I could drink ….. take part in the jello shots. It is such a drinking culture that sometimes it is difficult not to feel left out. I love my sober life and my sober friends – but ………..

Ok so the really big news, because we all knew that Allie and Pat were going to get engaged, that was just a matter of timing …… I finally got a breast reduction. it has been 8 weeks since the surgery and I am doing great. The wounds are almost healed and I am finally able to do things around the house and in life in general. It was a rough go not being able to carry, lift or push anything. There was pain, but it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. I only took 2, well maybe 3 Percocet …… 2 that were desperately needed and 1 , well, not so much.. I just survived on Tylenol and Motrin for several weeks. The wounds were gross and took a lot of cream and gauze. The surgeon took out a total of 6.75 lbs of breast. I am getting used to my new size ….. now it is time to get rid of the love handles and old lady belly. I found it interesting and refreshing that the anesthesiologists asked if I wanted a different cocktail that wasn’t (addictive type) narcotics. My sober friends and I joke that anesthesia for a very few short seconds is the best, but anyway I did tell him to give me whatever would best and I could deal with it. I got 20 pain pills with this surgery. I still had my 18 from my kidney stone. Good news, I finally emptied my drawer of all the pain meds and handed them over to Steve to get rid of or hide, not sure which he did. I did say hide don’t pitch, but you never know. The pills after all this time were “talking” to me and I was really struggling. Taking that extra Percocet when I wasn’t sure if I really needed it scared me enough to take action, I have been seeing my surgeon every couple of weeks for post op. I am thinking only a few more visits and I will be good to go.

With the breast surgery my diet went to shit. I have been on a new program (that I paid a pretty penny for) it has a lot of accountability and pretty straight forward and kinda strict guidelines. I was all in before the surgery and losing weight but since surgery I have not been able to get in the right frame of mind to go all in. I am eating better, but half-assing the program. I am pretty discouraged with it right now and I hate going for my check ins because I am running out of excuses as to why my weight is staying constantly the same. It is rough. I want to eat and I want to drink like a normal person – ugh!

Well, that is the Life and Times of Me for the last couple of months. I am at a crossroads trying to figure out what my life is for and what I should be doing with it. Stay tuned, I may or may not ever figure it out.

30 Years ❤️

4/25/92, 30 years ago, I married my best friend and soulmate. It hasn’t always been easy and we have definitely had some challenging times together, but I wouldn’t change a thing. All those things; good and bad have made us love each other more. Despite the challenges we have had a good life together these past 30 years, I am blessed and grateful.

We have two wonderful daughters who are doing amazing. I think they might have been a little traumatized, but my life altering colon surgery and a little miffed by my spaced out persona during my addiction (but I never failed to support them, cheer them on and volunteer … I was a very functional spaced out mom). Allie starts a new job next week and turns 27. She never did really go into teaching. The pandemic had a lot to do with that. She is in sales and has been kicking ass! Kirsten is working in a lab duing quality control and such. She is interviewing and has a 4th conversation with the company this week. It is more of an environmental science job that she will be well suited for. Both girls live away from home and are functioning adults. I am very proud of both of my girls and the family that Steve and I created.

It is hard to fathom that it has been 30 years since our wedding day. I remember a time when I thought we would never be together. I was young and in love and so desperate to marry the love of my life. 30 years ago it finally happened! Through sickness and in health we have weathered the storm. I am one lucky girl!

Back at it!

When I say back at it, that applies to so so many things.

The main thing I am back at is life. Kerry’s suicide really took me down the rabbit hole. I found myself very depressed, anxious and just not myself for the last couple of months. I worked with my therapist (often), and am seeing a psych PA to manage my meds and she add a few more to the cocktail. I am feeling more like myself, but it definitely was a rough couple of months. I had to even take a break from sponsoring. I just didn’t feel equipped to help anyone …. could hardly help myself. I am back at actively working with my sponsees, I have 3 girls who are working a program and one who I have limited contact with, but she is still sober. I am grateful not to be so gloomy. I still think of Kerry often and especially her family. I miss her. I pray that she is at peace.

In my twelve step program I have stepped away from the board and from being the social activities and all things fun chair. It was time to step away and I really felt like it was time for someone else to take the reins . I also didn’t want to have anything to do with it all while I was processing Kerry’s death. So I guess you could say I am back at being just a regular member of the program.

I was contemplating quitting the blog, but I am back at it. I am not sure if I will stop when the next payment is due, only time will tell. I did go back and read everything I have written to date. It was very interesting and eye opening to note the changes in life and the world. Reading back, I do get the gloomies. It is very unpredictable cycle. I hope this new mood stabilizer will help that.

My A1C went down at my last dr appt, I am still pre diabetic but I am close to being normal. The diet and exercise paid off. I did get a little lax during my depressive episode, I did what I could. I am still with my trainer and she works me hard. I have a lot of accountability to her with my exercise and food. But I am back to a healthy lifestyle change. I joined a program with in person countability. It is changing eating habits and really concentrating on macronutrients. I meet with a dietitian and health coach each week. This is only day 2 of my changed eating plan ….. cross your fingers!

Getting back into the swing of life, being healthy and writing are all positive steps for me. Now I just need to get back to volunteering, which will happen soon. Life happens and sometimes it is hard, but we have to just keep at it the best we can.

GONE

This post is an update post from an entry titled “No Words for This One”, November 3, 2021 about a sponsee in a domestic violence situation. 

Kerry is her name and her (husband) has destroyed her. Those that I have spoken to who knew of him described him as a monster … some say he was worse than a monster.  He was manipulative, controlling and in his own eyes all powerful.  These things I only know of from what I have been told.   She was a victim, stuck for too long in a bad situation.   She was scared to leave and scared to stay.  She had a psychotic breakdown, was hospitalized and finally free of his abuse.  She also had the problem of addiction / alcoholism.   With years of his abuse, she also had some mental issues; severe depression and anxiety with PTSD.   She moved in with her parents to try to heal and get her life back. Her so called husband has had custody of her 11-year-old twins.  This alone broke her heart.   

Wednesday of this week I got a phone call from a friend while I was on vacation in Florida.   Tuesday (February 8th), my dear sweet Kerry committed suicide.  She hung herself.  There are no words for this one.  I am devastated and heartbroken beyond words. There is sadness mixed with anger mixed with guilt. I know I am not responsible, but a part of me still wonders what I could have done differently and if I could have helped her more. I am making myself crazy with all those what ifs.  My heart hurts for her family and all those who knew and loved her.  It is sad that she felt no hope, no way out and no peace.  We had a text exchange on Saturday.  We were starting to work a little bit on small steps of gratitude.   I wanted to give her hope, I wanted to give her light, I wanted to give her peace.  I was always so worried about her and what she may or may not do. I knew she was hurting, but I did not really expect this.  Mental illness is real, domestic violence is real, being over medicated is real and suicide is real!

I am having a hard time processing this all, I can’t imagine what her family is going through.  I am lucky to have a great support system and fellowship in recovery.  I have been surrounded by love and support.  Being a sponsor to someone is a special sort of bond that is hard to explain. Kerry called me Mama, even though she was 41 and I am 54. 

I am just sad. There have been a lot of tears. Sometimes out of nowhere the tears will flow.  It felt unreal until I saw the actual obituary.  I feel anxious and sick.  I know I cannot undo what has been done, but those what ifs will continue to haunt me.

Covid Christmas

Day 11 in quarantine ….. day 4 of Covid for me.

The kids are all headed back home and to work. Steve is back to work, and here I sit …. me and Ollie, the dog.

Covid went through the whole family …. Pat, Steve, Allie and then me. Kirsten is the only one to get through the holiday unscathed. She stayed away for awhile, but gave up and just came home, but so far she has been ok, fingers crossed!

It was a long 11 days with all of us at home, plus an extra dog. The mess was piling up, the Christmas decorations were becoming annoying and we were all getting bored with each other. I have to say, I was ready to get my house back … but at the same time I loved having everyone under one roof. I have mixed emotions as I sit home alone in the quiet of the house. I have started the cleaning process and putting things away – including Christmas, but my energy is low. I am still feeling the effects of the virus.

I can not say that Christmas was ruined. We were all stuck together at home. No running around, just us at home. I did have some fun excursions planned that didn’t happen, but we watched movies, played euchre and various games. Watched marathons of Netflix and enjoyed each other’s’ company. Stuck at home with all of us together doesn’t usually happen. I am grateful for the special stuck at home together time we had. It did suck with us being sick, but it was mild cases and only lasted a few days …. I think mine is lasting the longest!

I will miss my kids, but it is different now that they are adults and have their own lives to live. Steve and I, too, are in a different phase of life …. empty nest. We are all on our own journeys and must part ways. But not for long. We will all hopefully meet up in Florida in February for Pat’s moms birthday celebration.

It is not what I had planned, but sometimes what you don’t plan is better! Now if I can just make it a few more days to feeling better and getting out of quarantine and joining the world again ….. all will be good.

Change of Plans

Tis the season! The season when all the best laid plans for family and friend fun goes astray. Covid has reared its ugly head on my family again this holiday season.

My daughter, Allie and her boyfriend came from Texas on Saturday. By Monday, Patrick was sick. Tuesdays home covid test came up positive. Now we sit and wait for the regular test results to come back and hope it was a false positive. Steve, Allie and I did the home test too and they were all negative. And of course now all home tests are on backorder so Pat can not retest at home. We just wait …… 2-3 days of quarantine before the test comes back.

I hope it is negative. We just had my Mom and Tom and Pat’s family over for dinner on Sunday before all sickness broke loose. I hope they all didn’t get exposed and that it is just the other crud that is going around.

In the meantime, we will miss our annual bracoli making tradition for Christmas dinner with the extended family. Last year, each family made their own since we couldn’t all get together because some had the virus. Kirsten is staying away at her apartment in Cincinnati, but she was here Sunday too. I hate to think of her missing all this family time, while we are all stuck home together. She will go to bracoli making and stay with my mom, depending on the test results. I am missing dinner with friends while we wait. We are unable to go on planned family activities this week while we wait. I won’t be able to help set up and attend the Christmas activities at the AA club. The worst is I hate the wait.

I know the best laid plans often don’t happen. Having the Serenity Prayer in “tool kit” helps. I have to remember to “accept the things I cannot change.”. The last couple of evenings while we wait, I have enjoyed having Allie and Pat here, watching Christmas movies with Steve and I. I do miss Kirsten. I was so excited to have everyone home and under one roof. I know we aren’t the only ones in this waiting game. I am grateful that Pat is feeling better and that so far we are all fine. I just hate to have this damn covid mess up another holiday season. Last year I tested positive on New Years Eve as did Allie and Pat. We are all vaccinated and I believe that helps.

The best thing now is not to dwell on what we are unable to do and concentrate on what we still may be able to do. The best laid plans aren’t always your plan.

Thanksgiving Eve Reflections

The house is quiet and it gives me time to reflect. I have had some ups and downs, but I have so much to be Thankful for. We will gather tomorrow with family at my brother’s house ….. 14 of us. Allie and Pat will be home for a couple of weeks at Christmas time, so I will be missing them. This time of year I like to tell the people who have made a difference in my life how much they mean and how they have helped me overcome. Mostly my recovery sisters, but also some special friends received a I am Thankful for You letter in the mail.

I have been thinking a lot about where I have been and where I am at now. I am scheduled to give my lead at the AA meeting on Sunday. It has been about 1.5 years since I have done this. The more I try to organize my thoughts, the more anxious and flustered I get. I am just going to have to “let go and let God” speak through me. In the past I would write everything down, sometimes I would use the notes, sometimes just a glance at them. It was more a control issue …. being in control and knowing what I am going to say. Last time, it was short notice and I did not have time to prepare. I just told my story and it worked out beautifully. I am going to try it again this way, but right now my thoughts are all jumbled. I was hoping since it was Thanksgiving weekend, the crowd would be smaller, but I have a feeling the opposite will be true. I am nervous. My mom wanted to come, since I don’t always share with her all the gorey details, but I am not ready for that yet.

I am also about 8 days away from my 7 year sobriety anniversary, which is also cause for reflection. 7 years is a big deal. I first went to treatment in 2007 and it took me 7 years to finally surrender and admit to my innermost self that I had a problem. My sober day is 12/2/14. I will get my token on the following Sunday from my sponsor.

Sometimes life does suck, but as one of my AA friends says …. “You sometimes have to embrace the suck”. But really despite the crappy days, life is good. I love life sober. I love the fellowship I belong to. I am grateful for all I have and my wonderful family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving ….. Be Grateful!