Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Don't just do something. Stand there.

Something my sponsor says to me often. When I feel like I need to react instead of respond that I might just want to stand there for a moment before I respond. I've been doing well lately with a few exceptions. It's a good feeling to accomplish something that has for many years been difficult.

I'm not liking alcoholism much today. Not like I like it any other day. But today it's especially hurting me. So many people I love who suffer and don't even know it. Some of them are sober, chemically anyhow, but not spiritually. A sponsee whose husband has a little over a year sober has stopped going to meetings. Stopped seeing his sponsor. He is bat shit crazy and every defect of character is blaring. He cannot see how much he is hurting his wife and children. She is growing through it, however, setting and enforcing tough boundaries of self care. I am so proud of her.

I am somewhat in a similar situation with someone I care about who is a dry drunk. Such a lovely person with a shitty disease. I try to be able to maintain a connection but find it impossible. I am so sensitive to alcoholic behavior that I just cannot tolerate it. Manipulation, anger, thoughtlessness. I find I recoil from it as if a hot flame. So I do the only thing I can do, pray. And hope God can do for them what I cannot.

So I just stand here. Feeling sad, feeling powerless. Yet knowing there is always hope.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.  If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also.  But are there no exceptions to this rule?  What about “justifiable” anger?  If somebody cheats us, aren’t we entitled to be mad?  Can’t we be properly angry with self-righteous folk?  For us of A.A. these are dangerous exceptions.  We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

If there was only one thing I could say to you

Is...It works.

It really does. If...of course, you work it. Otherwise you're just a paper weight, on an uncomfortable folding chair, in an old church. Short changing yourself of a life of joy, worthiness and peace.

As I approach my 27th year in recovery, I am simply amazed at where I am, what I have, the way I think, the friends I have, the love I feel. The love I receive. I feel like a child in a candy store who looks around and says "All this....for me?"

I never, ever could have expected to come into the level of emotional security I have today. The deep, bonding relationship I have with God. Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book:

“We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed. The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe.” 

This is where I am today. I only wanted him to get sober. So I would be OK. That's why I came into Al-Anon, to fix him so I would be well. It didn't quite work out that way, did it? I truly wish for my former husband to find sobriety again. I pray for hm every single day. And that really is the only thing I can do for him.

A few days ago I went to a meeting I do not normally attend. I went to introduce myself to what I thought was a newcomer. I extended my hand, said my name, she said hers. And it hit me. She was in my very first group 26 years ago. I'd been there a year or so, her husband and mine were in treatment together. I stayed, she left. And now, 25 years later, she's back. Getting divorced and in a lot of pain. She said to me "Maybe if I had stayed in Al-Anon, things would be different". Yeah, they'd be a lot different. Not necessarily still married, but she would have been different. She could've had what I have today.

Seeing her reminded me how incredibly fortunate that I am still here. That I have what I have. I never have to live the way I did before. I have a choice. I am blessed.

I want to let you all know I have received your emails to be added to the private blog list. Thank you so much for the kind and loving comments in your messages. I am deeply honored and touched that whatever I've shared here helps you. If you ever feel like reaching out to me for anything, I am just an email away. Please write anything, any time. I love you all.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Taking my blog private


 How do you know what it is? How do you know if you feel it?
 How do you know when you love someone?

So many tough questions for a Sunday.

As usual, I over think, over analyze everything. So let me try to keep this simple.  Love. When I want goodness for you even if I do not benefit. When I see you hurt and that makes me hurt. Probably, most especially, when you hurt me and I have to leave.
But I leave in prayer, not in pain. Prayer for you. Prayer for me.

Yes, I think that is love.

I will be taking this blog private, to read by invitation only. I would love my darling readers to continue following me. Please send me an email if you wish to continue reading and I will add 
you to the list.

I will leave this message up until 9:00pm, June 29th.

Thank you to you for always supporting me here over the years. I am grateful for your presence.



Anger versus hurt

Many years ago I went to a therapist to deal with my reaction to my ex's relapse into active addiction. And, though I didn't know it at the time, my severe addiction to him. This man was the son of an alcoholic father and had never been to a 12 step program. He said they were good for people, but he believed that for me, I would out grow the need for Al-Anon. It's been 11 years since I last saw him and it hasn't happened yet. I always thought that was an ignorant thing to assume if one knows anything about addiction. Perhaps he didn't know anything about addiction. Ha!

He did teach me at least one meaningful lesson. He called it "The wall of pain". Anger is the bricks, hurt is the mortar, that builds the wall between me and everyone else.

Take a minute to think about that.

I used my anger as a heavy brick to throw at those who hurt me in reaction to the hurt I felt. That hurt, when unresolved, formed as mortar to keep those bricks together. Thus, to keep you from hurting me again. But that wall also kept me from the world. Kept me from love. How do you learn to bring down the wall in order to love again?

The therapist wanted me on drugs.

He said my anger was so severe that I needed to be on some anti-depressant that had a unique "side effect" that helped to relieve anger. I cannot recall what drug it was but I did Google it and found no such benefit. I declined his suggestion. I knew I was again working the 12 steps, performing a great deal of service and combined with therapy, would be able to push through the wall and let the anger go.

So he fired me.

He said he would no longer see me if I did not get on the meds. I accepted that and never saw him again. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know that I did indeed process my anger issue through the 12 steps and with the grace of God, I am free from living in that hateful abyss of dark pain. I still get angry, however, I have a way of coping, processing and living through it and the wall has come down. When it comes to romantic relationships, I must admit, there is a different wall. "The great wall of don't-get-too-close, I am a commitment phobe". But that's for another post.

I always thought the anger came first, followed by the hurt. It's the reverse for me now. The feeling of hurt caused by someone I love (friend, family, boyfriend) would penetrate my sensitive soul so deeply it would transform into such deep anger. I clung to that anger as a rock in the sea. I was drowning in pain and it was the only anchor to cling to. When one has anger, one has no God.

When I finally surrendered, I was freed. From the bondage of self, and all that self had created. When I performed service: work in Al-Anon, taking on a new sponsee, helping at my son's school - whatever,  I started hating myself less, and loving others more. What replaced that pain was love. The last few weeks a sponsee has been going through a great deal of pain living with a dry drunk. She calls me at all hours and I am there for her. We have long talks, sometimes filled with tears, though always filled with God. I am able to return to her what has been given so freely to me, love.

In return, as always, I end of feeling extreme gratitude and very much connected to myself. The wall is down, I am allowing people to come into my life and heart.

And that's a good thing.