Moving Along

My life is in disarray!

The house sold in 3 days. We had the condo we put money down on, but got freaked out that it might be too small for the duration. We looked at a house and put an offer in but we could not come to terms. Found another condo and its perfect for what we need … and that is where we will be resting out heads for the time being. It is a main level with a walk out lower level with a lot more space than the original condo. Only down side is we lost our money that we put down on the first condo – breach of contract. We are closing on the condo next Friday 10/30. It has been a whirlwind. Lots of anxiety and uncertainty.

My house is half packed up and half livable. We are doing a little bit every day – seems like we are always going for more boxes. We certainly have a lot of stuff and a lot to do! Movers are scheduled for 11/12 so we can get the condo ready and move some things ourselves.

In the midst of all we have going on, tonight we (Steve and I) are having dinner with my long lost friend. The one that I recently reconnected with over lunch and her husband. I am feeling a little anxious about this. We were a fun foursome and we loved to drink. They have no idea about my addiction problem and I don’t plan on telling them. The drinking situation could be tricky and I am not sure how I am going to react … I am sure there will be questions . A drink would help me relax in this situation – we all know though how that would end, so I am not even going there! I have been craving a drink lately, maybe it is all the anxiety, I am not sure. Better than a drink though, I think would be some Xanax. But that is not going to happen either. I still think I have that one Valium in my purse.

Best news is that Allie is coming home next week to see her childhood home one more time, to help us pack and just visit. I am really happy she is coming. It will be nice to have a full house for a few days.

And those who are wondering about the Whole30 Diet. I am totally off that bandwagon, but need to get back on some type of diet and exercise program – I have gone to the other extreme since the Whole30 thing. The key I know is moderation and food choices. With all the moving stress, I haven’t been doing it. But I gotta get my head in the game and just do it!

That is it ….. The Life and Times of Me.

Life and Death

Breast biopsy can back normal ….. what a great relief that was!!! My family Dr. was awesome and got the news to me bright and early via MyChart so it was great news to wake up to after a somewhat sleepless night.

I have to admit the procedure was not as bad as my imagination let me to believe it would be. The Dr and the tech who took the biopsy etc, were very kind and wonderful. I was a little sore, but really had no side effects. I am thinking that the procedure was more tolerable because of the drugs – I didn’t get my favorite (Xanax), but did get a prescription for Valium. 10 mg before the procedure and all was well. I still have one 5 mg tablet riding around in purse. What I will do with it, not sure. I am an addict – it is very difficult for me to just throw it out. But one pill will do nothing for me except ignite my craving. I am too far along in my sobriety journey to do something stupid.

I didn’t tell many, but didn’t really keep it a secret … I just don’t like people to worry about me (especially when it turns out to be nothing). But the prayers, care and concern by those who did know somewhat helped to calm my anxieties. Talking with my sponsor and my therapist were a tremendous help

It is crazy were your mind can go. Mine went to; I am not ready to die. This is interesting coming from someone who at one time wanted nothing more than to die. In my prayers, I found comfort and was ready for whatever the results of the test may be. I knew in my heart that I am not done here yet.

One the subject of addiction and death, one of the younger girls that has been attending our women’s meeting for the last month or so O’D on heroin. It is really sad. One of my dear friends was her sponsor and she is beside herself. Molly, was her name and she was supposed to get her 6 month token on the day she died. Addiction and alcoholism can be a fatal disease (as can breast cancer). It is cunning, baffling and powerful. I have been thinking of my own mortality with the biopsy and the death of Molly.

Life is fragile and I have learned we should not take it for granted and I hope that I never do.

To Be of Service

I have had a number of sponsees in recovery over the years. Some stay, some go back out, some move on to other sponsors. I am actively working with 4 ladies and sort of another and 2 are MIA. Regardless, I remain available to each and every one of them.

I recently got a new sponsee. Someone who has been in the program for a few years, wanted a change and really wants to put more effort in her recovery program. I am super excited to work with her. She did have 15 years before a relapse. We are on the same page about a lot of things. I think we can help and guide each other.

The same week I got a text from a sponsee that has been out “working on her lead”, who I had not heard from for at least a year +. She had had some consequences and was ready to give sobriety another try. We have just started working back on step 1. She is touching base every day and is definitely on that pink cloud of recovery. She seems ready, able and willing. I just need to get her to see the benefit of more meetings.

I have a coffee date planned with another sponsee later this week. This one does not go to meetings at all, but seems to be able to stay sober in spite of herself. I don’t her from her too often. Hopefully she will show up and I can catch up with how she is doing.

I have also had lunch and coffee dates recently with some program friends who needed an ear. I am happy to oblige.

Today I got to go to a friends house with a group of women in recovery to just sit outside and fellowship …. cookies and lemonade included. It was a wonderful afternoon with some ladies I don’t hang out with too often.

My husband asked me what I really wanted to do in this next chapter of our lives and I told him that I thought I was doing it …. at least part of it. I love my friends in recovery. And I really love being a sponsor and of service to others.

I am grateful that today friends can count on me. It feels good to be needed and helpful. This past week I have seen, helped, listened to someone in recovery each day. These women and men too are my life line. I have my tribe and I love each of them dearly.

Thank you God for using me to help others.

Old Friend New

Way back in the 8th grade a new girl moved into my classroom and we became life long friends, until we weren’t.

Even though we went to different high schools we remained the best of friends. We went to the same college and joined the same sorority. We fought a lot like girls will do. Sometimes we would go weeks without speaking, but always made up, until we didn’t.

As young adults we hung out. We went on many vacations together before during and after kids. My husband and I are the godparents to all 3 of her girls, they are the godparents to mine. Our children are close in age and were the best of friends until things changed.

We worked in the same business for awhile and shared a lot of friends and activities.

We were always there for each other or as I look back, I was mostly there for her. I saw her through her postpartum depression. I was very close to her Mom and I was there when she was dying. I often kept my friends kids and cared for them as if they were my own. I really loved these people.

When I was really sick with my ulcerative colitis and surgery was looming, I was in dire straights. We had a big fight over something silly but supposedly all about me and that is when I had had enough. I needed a friend and she couldn’t be the person I needed. Our friendship became toxic and just like that we were no longer friends.

About 20 years went by.

We would occasionally run into each other around town, it was bound to happen when you have people, places and things in common. By a force greater than both of us we even ran into each other on the streets in Barcelona Spain. Talk about a strange coincidence. We would always be cordial, but there was nothing more. I kept holding on to that resentment.

As I look back, I am sad that I missed her kids, my godchildren, growing up. That we denied our girls their friendship. They are all young adults now.

This friend reached out to me years ago to get together for lunch to talk and catch up and at the time I was just not in a good place and could not handle it, so I did not do it. She reached out again last week and today we had lunch.

I was stressed a little about what may transpire, but it was actually a really nice 2 hour lunch. We talked about a lot of things; kids, families, common friends, sorority sisters old times and life in general. Of course we did not cover everything ….. as I am not sure where this reconnection is going. She has no idea what I have been through with my alcohol and pill addiction or my involvement in the recovery world. I don’t feel comfortable enough to share those secrets. But maybe they aren’t secrets. What about if there is a next time and we go out for drinks and dinner, then what? I know I am getting ahead of myself as we have made no plans for another get back together. It is the age old question on whether or not to disclose addiction issues.

She will never be my best friend again, but we don’t have to be enemies. Hopefully we can start anew and renew our friendship and move on from here. Her mom, I know is smiling from heaven she always was rooting for us.

Let’s just live and let live

Virtual Graduation

 

BCD29C23-E1FE-461E-A9FD-B2A2F76FC11F.JPGThis was supposed to be the postponed date for my daughters college graduation. Again we were supposed to be in Chicago this weekend celebrating this occasion with family and friends.   With the number of COVID cases rising it too, along with everything else was canceled.

It was a nice uneventful online ceremony.   The usual speakers.   The highlight was Loyola’s 101 year old Sister Jean speaking to the graduates.   She is an icon at Loyola, in Chicago and in the world of college basketball.  There were break out sessions for the different colleges at the university,   The whole thing took about an hour.

The graduates received a special graduation package to open during the ceremony.   It was a nice touch for an unprecedented situation.

I guess I shouldn’t complain, we had front row seats in the comfort of our own home.  I missed though all the pomp and circumstances and the celebrating as I am sure all the graduates did as well.

Kirsten and her friends have taken this all in stride.   It is not the graduation anyone wanted or planned.   Entering the next chapter has not been easy for these graduates.  Jobs are difficult to find in the midst of this pandemic.   In time I am sure everything will work out we just have to have a little more patience with the world right now.

Times are not ideal for many, I know a lot of people are struggling right now and have way bigger problems than a college graduation ceremony.  It puts things in perspective when you take the time to think of others who may not be as fortunate as we are at this time.

I know Kirsten will find the perfect job in God’s perfect timing.  She has a lot to offer and wants to save the world we live in for future generations.    I have faith that she can do it!

Go forth and set the world on fire Kirsten and fellow Ramblers!  Loyola University Chicago, Class of 2020.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now 53

Today is June 9th ….. My birthday and I am now 53 years old.    Time keeps marching by.   This year I am in Sarasota Florida with my husband and 22 year old daughter,  We bought a condo here with my brother and friend.   It is nice to get away, but you all know I like home best.

I went back and read the post when I turned 51 and all the gratitude I had for life.  Today I am still grateful, but life seems so much more complicated, out of control and in need of a makeover.

We are getting through this COVID 19 pandemic.   The lock downs are letting up and stores are opening, but people are still afraid and wearing mask while keeping distance.  Only so many allowed in restaurants and stores.  A lot of people are still out work and it is difficult to find a job. Most people are just over the whole thing.  But all are unsure of what will happen next and what our new normal will be.

Then comes the Black Lives Matters protests over the killing of a black man by a white police office.   I get the disgust, uproar and the protests, but I hate to see all the rioting and other people killed because of it.   Yes we need change and equality.   I get that, but destroying property and causing trouble is not to me the answer, but then again what do I know about being black … nothing.   All I know is that the rioting is scary and that we need a new normal of acceptance of all people.

The other thing that is going on is that one of my younger daughter’s friends passed away … the reason they are thinking is getting hit with tear gas at one of the above said protest.   We are still waiting for confirmation of the exact cause of death.  Rumors are flying around, people are harassing the family and social media is going crazy.  Definitely a hard time for the family and friends of this young woman and also this mother.

So this year on my birthday I am struggling to make sense out of life, struggling to stay sober and struggling to stay sane.    I just wonder what this world is coming to.    Sometimes I even struggle with what to pray for and about right now while things are in such upheaval.

I do look back and realize how privileged my life has been despite all the issues I have faced.   I had everything I needed during the COVID lockdown,  I am not in a city where violence and rioting is going on and my children are alive and healthy.    I can get the health care I need and the addiction treatment I need.  I have a loving stable family and many friends both in and out of recovery.     We have the means to survive.

So on this day, June 9, 2020 I am 53 years old.    The world is in chaos, but I can still find the gratitude I need to keep on Keeping on!!!

My Dad

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I will always remember May 28, 2010 …. The day my precious Daddy died.  He died suddenly with no waning of a blood clot to his heart.   This year, 2020 it has been 10 years since that day and I remember most of it as if it were yesterday.

I remember the middle of the night phone call ( 1:30 AM) from my Mom, arriving at the same time as my one brother, the hospital emergency room, the announcement call of time of death, calling to tell my husband that my Dad was dead and then Steve showing up with the girls who were 15 and 12 at the time and then calling a few close friends.  We gathered as a family around my Dad and said the Our Father.   To this day, 10 years later I can not say the Our Father with closed eyes without seeing my Dad in the ER and tearing up a little.

Growing up, my Dad and I were very much a like with our Italian tempers and often butted heads.  When I went away to college is when our closer relationship started.  My Dad was my biggest cheerleader and his support was always unwavering.    My family, Dad, Mom, 2 brothers and I all worked in the family pizza business.   I remember being in the office that Thursday before he died and the ordinary conversation we had before I left for home. I had no idea that would be the last conversation I would have with my alive Dad.

My Dad taught us well.   He was a family man, with a great belief in our Lord and Savior.  I know he is with his God in heaven and that gives me some comfort.  My Dad had done succession planning for the business with my brothers ( I chose not to be an equal owner operator – I wanted to be a mom to my children, not a business owner). Our company was like family and his death really had an effect all the employees and the community as a whole.   My brothers and our office staff did not miss a beat in keeping things going for our pizza chain and dough business.  My Dad did well.

I took my Mom home and stayed with her through the morning.    My brothers cleaned up the bedroom before we got there.   Neither of us slept much.   The TV drowned out our emotions.   Stupid TV informercials in the middle of the night early morning.

I don’t know how I became the strong one in the family during this time.    I planned and organized most of the funeral with some help from the family.   I was numb and just going through the motions.  It took me a long time to actually get to the grieving part.

I can not begin to say how many people were at his visitation.   The line was hours long for the duration.  I remember certain friends being there.  The support I had from my AA friends was incredible.  I probably would not have gotten through that time with out that support.   The actual funeral was beautiful with a packed church.  My Mom wrote a little something that the priest read and I remember his 4 grand daughters taking up the gifts for communion.  It was a special moment.   My Dad was liked by everyone.   The celebration of life afterwords held in a reception hall was full of wonderful stories and memories of my Dad.

I wish my Dad could see the successes of his children and grandchildren and our business.  He never got to meet my brother’s wife, Carey or little Caroline.   But I know he sees them.

They say over time memories fade and people forget.    I know many will never forget my Dad, He made an impact on many in our community especially his dear family and friends.

Our family is gathering on Sunday for a day of celebration of his life and to share our memories and grief.   I feel sad today missing my Dad.   I also feel grateful to have been born to such great and loving parents.    Life is for the living, but we can still cherish and miss those who are no longer with us.     So many memories ….. I will never forget my wonderful Daddy ❤️ .

Meeting Time

I have been feeling a little isolated from my tribe during this time of quarantine.   I had been doing zoom AA meetings and some meet ups with friends.   It is not the same in any way shape or form.   I have been missing the personal interaction, the hugs and the fellowship that takes place before and after meetings.

With that being said, I had been getting complacent with my meetings.   Zoom was just not getting it done for me and I have been getting irritated with the technical difficulties and with everyone looking to me to get them fixed.   I was getting nothing out of these meetings … I just could not pay enough attention, so I quit logging on.   We all know that no meetings is not the correct answer.  I was getting very irritable and just feeling out of sorts being “off schedule”.     I think a lot of the state and country is getting sick and tired of the isolation.   We want to stay safe and healthy, but we also want to get back to life outside of our homes.

So I made the bold decision to go to a meeting in person.   I have mentioned before that our club is still open for meetings.   I had not been to an in person meeting in over a month.  It felt good just walking into the room.   The chairs are socially distanced, we don’t hug one another or hold hands during the Lord’s Pray.   But still … some people just got too close. No one wore a mask (including me).   I loved being in a meeting, but at the same time did not feel totally comfortable with it.    I think the media and everything has everyone so scared of contacting the coronavirus we just can’t relax while we are out, I know I couldn’t.   It doesn’t help that I am one of those people they talk about that need to be extra careful due to the auto-immune disease.

I don’t think it is time yet for me to be at in person meetings, but I am not sure what to do now to get a meeting.   I am probably going to have to continue to suffer through those zoom meetings, it is better than nothing at all.   I also think I need to try some other zoom meetings away from the club …. ones I am not in charge of.    What I really need to do though is pay attention during the meetings and not get so easily distracted.

The million dollar question is when will all this be over?    When will we find our new normal way of life in light of this pandemic?    Everyone is getting anxious, I know I am.   I really need to reconnect with my people and I look forward to when we can do that … in person!

At Home …. Still

Well, we are going on close to a month of this stay at home order.   I have been keeping fairly busy with various tasks around the house.   I still have not really been anywhere.  Going out each morning to the little coffee shop in town to get my chai tea latte and coffee for Steve and Kirsten is usually the highlight of my day.    I have met up with a couple of friends as we sit in our cars at a distance to chat.   Face to face interaction with friends is very much needed.   I especially miss my in person sober tribe.

I have been doing the zoom AA meetings quite regularly, but it is starting to get old.  I have not been able to totally pay attention in the zoom meetings.  I have been very easily distracted in those meetings.   I desperately need to get back to the in person meetings.   Though our club is still open and operating, I am just not comfortable at this time in light of the virus and the stay at home orders.    I miss the fellowship of the meetings.   I have had drinking dreams and using thoughts and desire, by the grace of God I have not acted on those thoughts.   I do know that nothing good would come from it.   But too much idle time is not good for this addict and there is a lot of time with not much to do!

I have been trying to stay in contact with friends from the program and staying in touch with my sponsees.   I did a 3rd step with one of my girls via Facetime and I have another step meeting scheduled.  Working with others and getting out of self for bit is very helpful during this time of quarantine.   But still it is not face to face so it is a very different kind of step work.

I am trying to do some little task from home from where I volunteer.   We had a volunteer zoom meeting the the other day and it was nice to see some of the ladies I have been working with.    I have also done some virtual get togethers with my sober peeps, just to chat.    We are all trying to do the best we can to stay connected.

There are a lot of zoom meetings in the recovery community from all over the country and the world that one could join.  I have been sticking with my clubs meetings, but maybe need to try some others for something a little different.   I love how everyone in recovery is trying to help those in program stay the course.

I am still trying to find the gratitude.   I have everything I need.   We still have money coming in, we have food, we have a nice home to be isolated in and we are healthy.   I am trying to choose to find the good.   I am not going to say it is not difficult, because it is.  There is still fear, fear of getting the Covid19, the fear of the economic impact and just fear about what is happening in the world.    So many things that I can not control.

Life especially right now is so unpredictable and I have to stick with taking it one day at a time to try to keep my sanity while I am staying home.