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.

Diabetes, Kidney Stone and a Crooked Finger

Happy Fall. The weather has definitely changed and Halloween is right around the corner. We have our annual Halloween party coming up at the recovery club. I have once again delegated a lot of the details and it is still hard to let go of the control of the event. Being on the board and in charge of social events I feel it is also my responsibility to let others get involved and be part of the process.

My mood has been all over the place as of late. Some depression, some happiness and a lot of whatever. I have had many needed conversations with my therapist. I have been too out of sorts to even write.

I found out at my physical in September that I am pretty close to being diabetic. I have started monitoring my sugar and it has been all over the place. I have been taking better care of diet and exercise and really working it, but it gets discouraging when it really doesn’t seem to change anything. My weight is also up and down but for the most part the scale is moving in the right direction. I am really being careful with my carbs and sugar intake. I have been working with my trainer and walking and working out at home in between. I have met with the diabetic nurse and have an appointment scheduled with the dietitian, which I hope can help me even out this sugar issue. My dr. has given me 6 months to get things under control. With the fluctuation in my sugar readings …… I don’t know.

At that same physical, blood was found in my urine. That lead to an appointment with the urologist, which lead to the discovery of a kidney stone. It was causing pressure, but no pain. Surgery was scheduled, but it thankfully passed before the scheduled surgery …. that was painful!

To top it all off, my pointer finger that I had surgery on in July is still slow to heal. The tendon was weak and healed and now my finger is crooked for good, unless I want another surgery ……. not!

It was a few weeks of so many dr. appointments and not great news and many ups and downs with my psyche.

Steve and I also had our annual babysitting stint with niece Caroline.during all that. She added a light to a dismal mood. She is now 5 and we thoroughly enjoy having her with us. We had her for 5 days and she kept us on our toes. She is a very busy, creative, sweet girl.

So I guess this is my new normal. I will just keep trying to live life on life’s terms.

Damn …. Just Damn

It has been a busy summer so far …. The days are long and warm, It has been good. Damn it is going by too quick. We will be shoveling snow before we know it.

I had a mucous cyst removed from my right index finger last week. Damn did it hurt. It is still sore, but the major pain has gone. You don’t realize how important each finger is, especially on your dominant hand, It has been a rough week. Just typing this is to some extent difficult.

With the cyst removal and the pain …. all I can say is Damn pain pills. I am over 6.5 years sober and once again I am obsessed with the pills. I didn’t think much about them when I truly needed them the first couple days post op. I have stopped the day time medicating as I like to run around too much to be stuck at home in a stupor unable to drive, I have been taking it only at night for a few nights. The sleep is soooooo good! But I think the time has come to be done, You just know when you no longer need them. It is now not a need, but a want. The thing is …. I am a pill addict and I am obsessed with the little amount of pills I have left. I can usually had over the pills to my husband for safe keeping, but it is always a hard act. I like the control of being in charge of my own destiny, even if it is torture. As a relatively sane person this makes no sense. So tonight, if I can, with a moment of clarity, I will relinquish the bottle of pills and wipe my hands of the whole messy obsession. Just Damn!

I have been continuing my diet …. sometimes wholeheartedly sometimes half-ass. I feel like I am making better food choices a majority of the time, but I do still like to eat. I haven’t walked since the finger surgery and it is just hot and muggy, but I have continued my workouts with my trainer for an hour 2X a week. I know that isn’t enough, but it is sure better than doing nothing like before. But that Damn scale is at a standstill. I lose a pound or two and gain a pound or two. I can’t break the cycle and it is really starting to get me down. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but come on!

On both accounts I just need to be willing to be willing and focus on my wellness.

So my goal is to walk and get rid of the pills, both of which I know I can do. I just might need a little nudge that is all. And one more Damn ….. it is about to storm and dinner is supposed to be on the grill. Glad I watered all the flowers.

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!

January 1, 2021

Goodbye 2020 – what a crazy, difficult, unprecedented year you were. So many things we take for granted in life have had to change because of happenings of 2020. We have been forced to embrace the suck of this past year.

So far 2021 is starting out with some difficulty. I am sick – yuck. I had the COVID test this morning so it will be a couple of days before I know for sure if I have it. The symptoms of the last day are pointing to me having it. Head cold, aches, cough … and the tell tale sign of the loss of taste among other things. I am hoping I did not pass the virus on if I have it since I was out and about thinking I had a sinus infection for a couple days before the real symptoms hit. So needless to say I am now in quarantine.

So because of this I have had to miss all the NYE and Day meetings at the club, just like I had to miss all the Christmas meetings. I can’t help with the clean up of putting decorations away. I have been in contact with my “team” and it will all be taken care of. It is humbling to realize the world can the club can function just fine without me. I have to once again let go of that control.

So what do I want to do in this brand new year ….. a brand new chapter in the book of life. I definitely need to get healthy and get back to an exercise program. Since I quite last year with my depression and then covid – well, I have been a slug! I also want to take the writing more seriously even if it is just for me or a memoir for the family. I want to get back into the big book of AA and up my program. I feel I have been somewhat complacent as of late. I overall want to be a good person with gratitude, humility and hope. Those I think are my goals for 2021 …. I won’t call them New Year’s Resolutions, but I guess they kinda are.

Even with the “New Normal” of 2020 I have found much gratitude in the small stuff. So many things looked different last year than what we expected especially with Kirsten’s graduation from college, and all the virtual meetings and gatherings. But with pain and difficulty comes growth … I truly believe that. We have learned to deal with things we thought we would never have to deal with.

Life happens and we just have to accept it as it comes …. So here is to 2021 and all the adventures that await us. Now hopefully I don’t start out the year getting really sick with this stupid covid.

Crazy Days

Life is crazy and is getting crazier by the minute.

Moving is totally stressing me out. There just isn’t enough room or cabinet space for all our mountains of stuff. Sometimes I wonder why in the world we are doing this. I have to remember in the long run it will be good. I also wonder why do we have so much stuff still, when we got rid of so much. My whole body hurts, but we still have a lot to do before the movers come next week.

On a national level …. this election for President of the United States is a mess. So many different opinions and hatefulness for the other side. It is very disheartening. To have to board up your home and business because of the outcome of the election is so wrong. I really just don’t understand some people. I just hope that whoever ends up winning that there will be acceptance. You don’t have to agree, but we need to accept without going crazy mad. I have my opinion and a strong belief in that opinion and of course I hope my guy wins. Both of my girls are for the opposite and I have to let them have their own opinions. I am not going to hate or disown them as I have seen some do. I have heard it said if you vote for X, I don’t want anything to do with you …. what is that? I feel that this country is at a breaking point. Personally I hate confrontation, I just want everyone to be happy, joyous and free as we like to say in AA. All this violence and discord scares me.

Through all this my sobriety remains good. My sponsor just celebrated 30 years of being sober, which I can not fathom. A month from now I will have my 6 years. As far as my sponsees go, I am actively working with 3 women as of now. They all actually contact me and are working on the steps. So many have fallen by the wayside.

Well, I have to get back to the packing thing – the Tylenol has finally kicked in.

God Bless the USA!

Pool Party

My baby niece turned 4 yesterday,  It seems like yesterday that she was a tiny thing.   It was a unicorn pool party and of course our little Caroline was adorable.   she has a boat load of girl cousins from both sides of the family …. there are 11 of them.   My 2 girls, 25 and  22, my youngest brothers kids 17,15 and 11 then the cousins on the other side are 13, 10, 8, 5, 2 and our 4 year old birthday girl.   Quite the range of cousins, but all girls!  All were there except Allie who has recently moved to Texas.

Then there are the adults.   Family and friends who are like family.    Everyone is an Aunt or Uncle besides the grandparents.     Caroline is a lucky girl to have so many adults to love on her and spoil her.    Caroline really knows how to get along and act with adults, like I said she is adorable!

These pool parties, even a birthday party for a kid, some how turn into a drink fest.     There were fancy slushy drinks in hollowed out pineapples – with alcohol of course …. and lots of beer and white claw type drinks.     Who doesn’t want to drink on a hot day at a pool party, right?    And for me it was ok not to drink …. that is until everyone has had a little too much and I got a little too irritated.       I know I have lost that luxury to drink and my problems should not affect how others drink or not drink, and it doesn’t bother anyone but me.     I was definitely bothered.     Some know why I don’t drink, others don’t.    Some offer me drinks which I politely decline and others claim I am grumpy because I need a drink  (at the end of the night when most are pretty lit).   It can be quite annoying and trigger the poor me feelings.

Sometimes when a lot of drinking is happening and I know it is time to go ….. it is difficult to pull Steve away (not usually, but sometimes).  He was clearly enjoying himself and the beverages a little too much.    Why do I get so angry and as one friend said grumpy?   drinking is one thing, drunkenness is another and my tolerance varies.    I still feel awkward when everyone is at that point and I am left with my seltzer water.   I don’t like it.    I have to know myself and play that tape all the way through of what will happen if I do enjoy the drink.   I know it will not end well for me.     Finally I just gave the final warring …. I am leaving NOW, with or without you.   A wise friend suggested  that he “get on that bus” and go home.   lol.

I feel good today ….. no hangover.    But I still feel irritated.   I am playing that passive aggressive game.    Stupid.   No one knows I am angry, but I definitely am not being what you would call nice.

I need to get over myself and let others live their lives as they see fit, but I can not let their choices affect me and my sobriety.     The party started at 1:00 PM and I finally got to leave at 9:30 PM (with a little break in between to feed the dogs).   That is long birthday party for a little girl.   And let me tell you those kids where still going strong, just getting out of the pool as we were leaving.   To be young again and to be able to drink again …… that ship has sailed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting Go

Like I said in my last post, I was to give my lead (my addiction journey) at my Sunday AA meeting.   Well ….. I am proud to say I did it!

I was surprisingly calm.   I am usually a basket case before a lead.   I didn’t have the time to worry about it with only 1 days notice.  I usually would have not accepted a last minute offer or I would have spent the 4th of July at home practicing and writing instead of enjoying the holiday.  I was not a bit nervous and had no anxiety.   Very strange for someone like me who is an anxious person to begin with.    

In the past, I would practice practice practice, make notes and write down word for word what I wanted to say.   This time I decided it was time to let go of the control and give it over to God.     Just letting go of the outcome had a peaceful affect on me.   I like to be in control.   Letting it go is not my usual way.

I have been doing much better of giving over control of other things as well.   There is an upcoming picnic for our club, planned by my social committee.   I have given over control and am letting others help.   Things may not match perfectly,   the cake not be decorated as I would have chosen and I am letting folks bring whatever they choose.   I like things to be a certain way when I am planning something.    Life as we know it will not end if things aren’t perfect, in fact I will probably be the only one to notice.

Back to my story or as we call call it my lead ….. it came off well.   People in the rooms laughed with me when appropriate, they listened with open ears and the comments afterwords were encouraging.    I talked for approximately 40 minutes with no notes, no practice and no idea of what I was going to say.  I let God have control over my words and it worked.   It took away the fear and anxiety and I just spoke from my heart.  When it was over, I was not sure exactly what I said, but all the feedback was quite positive and it felt good.   I felt relieved that I could get out of my comfort zone and do this.     Who knows now what I will be able to do next.

It has taken me years to loosen the reigns of control especially in giving a lead.   I have given several during my 13 years in the program, but not once I have let go until this last time.   I know I am finally making progress, I am learning more about myself and I am trusting the process.    All good stuff.

So instead of just saying the words; Let Go and Let Go, I have to practice what I preach!