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.

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.

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!

No Words for this one

The halloween party was fantastic. We had such a great turn out and a lot of creative costumes and yummy chili. Of course some things weren’t as I would have them, but it was okay. I am still learning to let go of control. I would love to post pictures, but it is an anonymous program.

So many things in life our out of our control. I want control, I want to be able to take care of those I love and i want to fix things and make life better. I have to remember that serenity prayer for acceptance, courage and wisdom.

I have a sponsee, my very first. We started working together about 6 years ago. I was just over 1 year sober myself. She reminded me of myself in terms of having a hard time staying sober. We had a lot of friends in common and just clicked. She moved, we tried to stay in touch some, but we all know how that goes. She has always though held a special place in my heart. She is a lovely person.

She recently came home to live with her parents. She had to leave everything behind. Even her 11 year old twins. She was in a domestic violence situation. Her story is like so many others that we hear of, one of control, manipulation and violence . The kids are okay and she sees them a couple of times a week and talks to them daily, but they are 2 hours away in another state and they want their mother.

Her (husband) has been planning, controlling and running the show for years. He has documented her alcoholism and the psychotic break she had when she could no longer take the abuse. He is trying to paint the picture of an unfit mother. She is anything but. His actions have destroyed this lovely lady.

My friend is broken. She is void of happiness and life. She has no self worth, she is depressed, she is isolating, she is scared. She is currently sober despite everything. We met the other day at my house. I just needed her to get out and she needed reassurance that she was okay. We talked, we cried. My heart is broken for her and her kids. I want to control the outcome of this, I want to fix this for her, but there is nothing I can do except, I can be a friend, I can love her, I can pray for her and I can listen. I want to be able to do more. But this has to just play out. She only has supervised visitation with her children at this point because of the ugly picture her (husband) has painted. They meet at the end of the month in court for unsupervised visits and the custody hearing is not until next June. A year after she fled the abuse. She doesn’t think she can last that long in the current climate of things.

I needed to write this. I am trying to process. I can’t imagine how she is trying to process. I am afraid for her. Her children are her life and without them she has no will. It is hard for me to imagine someone that is supposed to love you to do the things he has done to her. I can see her desperation and despair. Her eyes show it. The thing I did tell her is that I still see a spark and we have to use that spark to fight. I will be with her every step of the way. I am grateful she has a loving parents who are helping her and taking care of her. She is getting outside help, but nothing seems like enough.

I have no control in this situation. My friend doesn’t have much control at this time either. The (husband) holds the cards and I can only pray that that will change in time. The children have seen some of the abuse and are witnesses to the truth. God please help this woman and her kids and help me to have the right words to comfort and support her.

My heart is shattered.

On The Move

Day 3 of life in our new home. It is utter chaos at the moment. It really is a daunting task to find a place for everything in a new space. I am sure we will arrange and rearrange several more times before we are satisfied. We are finding things we forgot we had as a lot was packed away in storage the past 6 months.

I do love this new house and the neighborhood. The neighbors met so far have been over the top nice and welcoming. It is odd though being further away from all my places and people. I am sure it will take some getting used to and all will be fine.

Unpacking is interesting. Wondering why some things were kept in the first place and so many boxes to still open. Each one a surprise (even with the labeling). I did have an interesting find ….. old narcotic prescriptions. One for Steve and one that was mine. Like from 2017 and 2019, but that doesn’t matter. It sure did make this addict’s brain go there. It makes me wonder if there will ever be a time that I won’t be tempted by such find. They probably aren’t even good anymore since they are so old. But I did tell I found them …. to my sponsor and therapist. But I did keep them in the basket I found them in and then found a home for it. Maybe I will get rid of them and maybe I won’t. I don’t know why I feel the need to keep things like that. I still have that 1 left over Valium from my breast biopsy last September in my purse. Not that one will do me any good. It is weird. I guess I like knowing I have the choice and that I am in charge of what I do. Or maybe I just like white knuckling my recovery. Either way I know it is crazy thinking.

One of my friends from the AA program, who lives 2 doors down, is making the family dinner tonight and another neighbor brought us over a welcome to the neighborhood homemade coffee cake. There is still so much to do and so many new things to get used to. But I think I am going to like it here!

MONEY $

I got a message the other day from a lady I used to sort of sponsor. She never really embraced the AA recovery route. She wanted to talk and had a question for me. Well, we know where this is going, right?

She had called a few weeks back just to check in and give me an update on her life. She seems to be doing well. She called at the perfect time as I was feeling low and like I had no purpose in life. She told me how much I have helped her and that I am always there for her and for that she is grateful ….. wow, wasn’t expecting that, but it made me feel good. We ended the call with the promise to get together to further the conversation. She is sober and taking another route to sobriety. I know everyone has their own journey, some can do it without a twelve step program, I am not one of those people.

We aren’t really friends, I think of us as more like acquaintances and maybe from her point of view I am a little bit like a mentor. But I rarely hear from her. We met from a mutual friend, and my goal was to help her get sober.

Fast forward to this week when I got the text ….. “I have a question, can you call me” As soon as she opened her mouth and started talking I knew where this conversation was going. It is always so awkward when some comes right out and asks for money. I have loaned money or I should say given money to an “acquaintance” friend in the program and got burned. I have also loaned money to a great friend in the program with no problems. The thing is, I feel guilty not helping out. I have money. But I don’t have the trust in this person and that there is the difference. She is not my friend and I feel a little used and angry.

I don’t know why I have so many mixed emotions about this. I can not be the bank for those in need this way. I do donate money and time to organizations that I believe in. We have worked hard to get to the place we are in life. I am grateful to have what I have and to be able to do the things we do. I won’t mention the fact that my husband would not be happy if I loaned money to another miscellaneous friend. He is okay with the loans I have given my real friend, as she is his friend too.

I have got to know I did the right thing, and move on. What are your thoughts?

Monday, Day #1

It isn’t exactly a first of the year New Years Resolution ….. but I have been procrastinating for far to long on getting serious about getting healthy and losing some weight. It is not my first attempt at this, but I guess I have to keep trying until something sticks.

I bought a new “The Change Makers Journal … a daily tool for creating change in your life” By Elizabeth Benton. She does a podcast and a whole lot more with her Primal Potential brand. I have done some half assed work with her in the past, one of her workshops and listened to some podcasts. It’s good stuff. I just wasn’t motivated enough or for long enough. This daily journal is about really looking into your life and where you can make changes, what would be impactful, primary focus, and how and what you have achieved each day. For me it is accountability, even if it is just me. You know I love to write and I think keeping track and writing everything down form goals to wins will be helpful. It is only a 3 month journal – so I am hopeful.

It is about more than losing weight and health …. It is about self care and life goals. I would like to keep writing and actually do the online course I signed up for, I need to change up my AA program as I feel I am getting complacent and in a rut. I also want to get on a better schedule with my volunteering. I want to start cooking more and start the noom health program. I don’t work so I feel I should be a lot more productive than I am. Lofty goals, but things I should have been doing all along. I am a great procrastinator, but no more! I will occasionally blog my progress over the next 3 months. It will help me stay accountable.

A day in the life …..

So I survived Covid. In terms of how Covid goes, it was a mild case, not a pleasant experience, but it could have been so much worse. I am grateful. About 12 days of feeling crappy. I still don’t have my taste or smell back and I get tired. It is annoying! Now we just wait and see what type of long term residual effects there might be. There are so many variables to this virus.

The presidential inauguration is tomorrow. Not who I voted for. I believe both candidates had a lot to be desired. I had to vote on policy not personality. What was best for our business and my family. I just hate all the hate that is going around this country right now. I don’t understand the far left and the far right – they are just crazy people. I do believe in parts of both parties platforms. But some of the things have just gone too far!!!! I just like to stay in my own little bubble – it makes me so anxious to think about it all. But I do pray nightly that this country is restored to sanity …. no matter who the president is.

I am getting back to meetings and the fellowship. I did not like zooming while I was sick. I need to be in the rooms for my recovery. I miss so many of my friends who are not coming out because of Covid and health issues. I can be hopeful that this new vaccine will help and I hope soon things will get back to our “normal”.

Not much is happening these days …. just a day in the life!