Friday, May 28, 2010

Piecing it all back together...

It’s been so long since I wrote a blog post that I feel a huge disconnect here. I don’t know where to start!

It’s been one month since my brother passed away. The reality of that hits me in waves. Little things seem to take me completely by surprise. Like today; I was driving in an unfamiliar area and noticed I was coming up on a cross street that was his name. It was surrounded by pine trees and I immediately choked up; tears overflowing. I remember watching him come home from the bus stop, taking a running start halfway down the block to hurdle one of the two Colorado Blue Spruce Trees planted in our front yard. Yes, they were small and I remember thinking how BIG my brother was. And still is. I will more than likely drive to that street, on purpose now, just to feel near him. I’m like that sometimes.

Moving last Saturday from my one room to my very own apartment was not as traumatizing as I had expected. A couple of people from the fellowship pitched in and I secured the services of 3 men from a local recovery home. When all was dropped into the center of the living room, all I could think of was getting everyone out. It only took 3 hours but I was physically and emotionally spent. Two of my friends wanted to stay and help me unpack, but that was something I couldn’t bear. There were boxes I hadn’t opened in over two years, and I knew I would want to be alone with my thoughts and feelings when I unwrapped precious as well as some probably very dark memories. Later in the week when I did that, I didn’t fall apart as I had anticipated. I was able to look at my past as a necessary part of me: good, bad, and ugly. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past 2 ½ years and am grateful that path brought me to where I am today.

The doctor added a beta blocker to my meds. A lot of the side effects I was experiencing were related to the fact that my resting heart rate was somewhere around 100. The BP was fine, and within hours of taking my first dose of the additional med, I was feeling much better. That was last Friday and it was a relief to not be experiencing the wildness I had been feeling inside during my move the next day. I feel 1000% better, if that’s possible. Tonight my ailments are, I think, due to either a sinus infection or an inner ear problem. Dizzy spells when I turn my head or refocus my eyes after tracking an object, and an overwhelming urge to vomit. Not fun. The fullness in my right ear lends me to believe it’s the inner ear thing, so I’ve been alternating ears with warm compresses. It seems to be helping but I didn’t want to push it this evening, so I’m snuggled in for the night. Vertigo is a scary symptom to me, especially when I’m driving or sitting still.

I spoke with Sponsor this evening (as I have every day for the past month, save twice when I just spaced it off) and explained what’s going on. We missed our meeting last week due to the move, and I really don’t want to miss this week, but I may stay home. I told her I’d play it by ear in the morning. (No pun intended, but it works here, huh?) She was firm in her direction that if I did not come that I’d better be doing a lot of writing. I did reassure her that I have continued to write nightly (though I have not posted anything here) and that while unpacking I found my step-work notebook and planned on picking back up where I left off on my 8th step before I got sick and the fit hit the shan in April in health and my personal life. The direction she has given me of late about the writing, and the specific area to focus, has been illuminating and I am grateful to be clearer in my perspective than I had been recently. I kind of got lost…rather…I lost touch with my program and I felt every bit of that bearing down on me in my words, thoughts, and my actions. I feel back on track now, and am amazed at how quickly one can run amok when a few simple things are “skipped”.

The holiday weekend brings so many thoughts and feelings that I will need to explore, so I see a ton of program work in my immediate future. The group I lead at Fouse on Monday afternoons has been canceled due to the holiday, so I will need to fill that time with something else recovery oriented. The regular Sunday beach meeting always holds a meeting on the holidays when they fall during the week, so I will start my day there. Who cares that I will be there the day before as well? They are a great bunch of people and I get to enjoy the ocean surf! I keep getting closer to asking for a commitment there. I don’t know what’s stopping me. This just may be a topic to talk about with Sponsor. Or it may be an opportunity to take contrary action. Hmm.

I apologize that this post is so disjointed. It has been a couple of weeks since I was here and just wanted to catch y’all up. (Yes I said “y’all. One can’t live in the South-ish for 17 years and not pick it up. I shudder to think what LA-isms I have adopted since being here! Maybe my AA Speak is enough.) In any event, thank you all for your comments and keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. It has been a character building time for me and without my sober fellowship, I don’t think I’d have gotten through it as relatively unscathed as I have. I am forever grateful.

Thank you for paying me a 12 Step call.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Countdown to Meltdown in 5, 4, 3...

I feel like I am teetering on the edge of a meltdown. My insides are racing and my heart rate reflects it. My mind is unable to focus on anything for any substantial amount of time. I am transposing words in the spoken word, and letters as I type. (Thank God for automatic spell check and correction!) My eyelids are heavy. My chest hurts. My eyes sting from holding back the tears.

I kind of resemble that chocolate bar that was put in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. It retains its shape until it’s touched. It’s only then that one realizes that it is melted; unevenly at that.

So, I’m just going to give in to it. You know…the gut wrenching, wailing cry. The cleansing type. I believe in them. While nothing gets solved in the outside world, it gives me a chance to purge. And purge I will.

Don’t worry about me. This isn’t a pity-pot kind of cry. This is an acknowledgment of my humanness and will no doubt be a time of prayer. Deep, spontaneous, and honest prayer.

Thank you for paying me a 12 Step call.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Keys To The Kingdom

I am now a proud tenant in Hollywood. Well, I signed the lease today and received the keys and garage remote. I spent 1 ½ hours taking pictures, measuring spaces and phoning friends from my new apartment. I even used the restroom and sat on the floor of the balcony.

This is a huge step, especially without a job. But again, circumstances are such that this was unavoidable. I must have faith that just as this opportunity materialized as I needed it, so too will a job, if I continue to be open-minded and willing to do what is in front of me in my quest.

As the feelings of elation ebbed just I little bit, I took my leave and headed to FH for dinner and a meeting. On the drive over, I thought of the chosen menu for today: Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. It was the House’s Director’s 39th Sober Birthday on the 10th, and it is always Thanksgiving Dinner for dinner the day she takes her cake. For me, it was fitting also. I have much for which to be grateful; today and every day.

I did, however eat too much. So much so, that I passed on the cake. Not like me at all. I don’t know whether it was over-consumption, or the anxiety of committing to a lease of my very own, or the lingering side effects (tachycardia) of the new drug, but I got to feeling pretty puny as the meeting started. I left rather abruptly once the meeting ended without the customary post-meeting chit-chat. I just needed to get home.

Tomorrow I will rest. I have no pressing issues, no errands to run. My trusty laptop will allow me to stay in bed and still perform my daily job search. Something I have not been able to do since I left for Chicago 2 weeks ago. Oh, yes, the car will need to be moved to avoid a ticket, but this doesn’t bother me as it used to. I now see a light at the end of THAT tunnel. :-)

I think I’ll need to say a little prayer (or 2 or 3...) that I overcome a particular set of character defects daily during the next couple of weeks before I move so that my car doesn’t get the boot. Sometimes knowing there’s relief ahead can bring out the worst in them, and me. Before Alcoholics Anonymous my car would have gotten the boot many, many times over. And I'd be broke from getting my car out of hock. (That is, of course, if I even noticed it was gone and/or could get sober enough to go through the gyrations of getting it back.)

I'm so grateful today to be able to anticipate the consequences of the many facets of my personality quirks. It doesn't mean I'm perfect, but I am learning.

Thank you for paying me a 12 Step call.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Que Sera Sera

Events seem to be moving at warp speed and totally out of logical order in my life lately. But that is MY perspective. I’ve come to understand over the past several weeks that everything is as it should be in God’s world. If I question or complain it only serves to place me out of step with God’s will. Each time I round a corner or navigate the opportunities for growth God places in front of me (some may call them “tests”), another circumstance is presented. I feel as if I haven’t time to recover or take a deep breath, yet I am grateful. The forward progress and amazingly calm, unflustered manner in which I am “handling” these issues, is a welcome, yet alien feeling.

In the next couple of weeks, I will be moving into a new apartment. When the deal fell through with my former almost roommate in March, I never dreamed that this would happen so soon, or as quickly as it fell together. Circumstances have made this a necessity. (I apologize for the vagueness, but again, much of this is not my story to tell at this time. When it is common knowledge, I will speak freely. It must be frustrating to read my thoughts without being privy to all the details.) I disclosed this decision and the reason to my roommates last night. I was slightly apprehensive because of the last “moving debacle” but said a prayer God would provide the right words and the acceptance of whatever developed from there. They were loving and supportive and concerned. Appropriately. It is a bittersweet event for all involved and I feel good about the outcome.

None of this would be happening if I were not sober.

*I would not have a friend with the ability to get me into a VERY nice apartment in Hollywood for not much more than I am paying for one room in the Mid-Wilshire area.
*I would not have the clarity to take care of what is in front of me, today, and not try to control the results.
*I would not have faith that the work I am doing today will take care of the future.
*I would not be a woman who could be trusted to do what she says she’s going to do.
*I would not be grateful to be in this position.
*I would not have an entire network of friends and resources from which to draw strength in the weeks and months to come.
*I would not know a loving God who wants me to be happy, joyous, and free.
*I would not be living my heart’s desire in the next couple of weeks, however difficult it may appear to be from today’s vantage point.

I am grateful beyond belief today that all of those “would not’s” do not exist. Life may not be the way I envisioned at one time in my life, but I’m at peace with how it is today.

Thank you for paying me a 12 Step call.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is he alone who has Faith on one hand...?

Yesterday I felt so…alive. And loved. This is not how I expected to feel on another Mother’s Day without my own mother and without my children.

I set my alarm so that I would not sleep past the point of no return. I really wanted to start the day at the beach meeting, as I attempt to do for all holidays and “anniversary days”. The presence of HP is so palpable there. Between my illness and FW’s passing, it has been some weeks since I could go. I’m grateful I could do so yesterday.

I heard from all 3 of my chickadees before I even stepped foot on the sand. What a blessing! This wouldn’t have happened had I not turned my will and my life over to my HP 881 days ago. Thank you, God.

Mickey Bush was the speaker and delightful as always. I have heard him on many occasions on CD’s and a couple of times in person, but this was a small meeting, comparatively speaking, that facilitated a more intimate approach than he is accustomed. He gave me quite a few new tidbits. The topic he chose for the sharing portion was “powerlessness”. Boy, have the events of the last several weeks illustrated that concept clearly for me!

I am actually grateful for my powerlessness. The admission and acceptance of that has brought me to rely on a Power greater than myself in all situations. Had I not been able to embrace that idea, I’m sure I would be spinning out of control right now with all that is happening around me. It seems as if there is a relentless torrent of challenges beating down upon me and the only way to survive them is to admit my powerlessness and turn it all over to the One who has all power.

I do not believe that God “tests” me. I believe He places opportunities for growth in my path. A HUGE opportunity lies before me as I will be placed in a position I have longed for over the past several years, though not under these circumstances. (More than that I cannot divulge just yet. This is not fully MY story to tell.) What I know is that I cannot choose under what circumstances my dreams are fulfilled. God has a plan and I must have faith. And that, I do.

After the meeting, and my share about powerlessness and how it relates to me, I received much support from my fellows and was invited to breakfast, which I accepted. After all, it was Mother’s Day and it has been so long since I have been treated to breakfast on this day. The gentleman, who provided this treat, is also in a unique position to help me in the next leg of my journey of growth. And he has offered to do so. Surprisingly, I have accepted, which is difficult for me. It is difficult for all of us but I have learned that there is no shame in asking for help. Alcoholics Anonymous has taught me that. It has also taught me that by accepting help, I am helping someone else fulfill their own spiritual needs.

So, as I start my day today I am filled with hope for the future. Today everything is as God intends it to be. And as Mickey pointed out: I’m not living life on life’s terms; I am living life on God’s terms. There is tremendous comfort in believing that.

Thank you for paying me a 12 Step call.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


With Mother’s Day being tomorrow, I was feeling kind of down. Having seen my children last week for FW’s funeral and not spending as much time with them as I would have liked, I was beginning to doubt my “mommy-ness”. Well, those feelings are fading quickly as I think about the day.

Navy son and I talk almost daily, and about some pretty heavy stuff. He’s been going through a rough time and has Liberty until tomorrow afternoon. Since he told me he would be off-base with his friends, I decided to give him some mommy-free space. I think he needs it.

Firstborn called this evening because she was feeling sick with a relentless cough. She needed my advice. And, she followed through with my suggestions, feeling just a little better tonight. During the NASCAR race she texted me when my favorite driver was wrecked and taken out of the race. We then texted back and forth about our favorite drivers and our “hated” drivers. It was really kind of neat. It warms my heart to know she still comes to me when she feels sick, and thinks of me when she is doing something she knows I enjoy.

Tomorrow is my regular day to phone my baby girl. I will do so from the beach or on my return home after the meeting. No need to alter our routine one day out of the year.

So, as it turns out, I don’t need Mother’s Day flowers, cards, or gifts to feel loved and appreciated after all. I’m a mommy every day. And I feel eternally blessed that I am sober and present for my children in all the ways that matter.

As for my mommy: She is my own very special angel and I miss her terribly, but I know that she lives on in my heart and my spirit. She is with me every day in all the ways that count.

What a blessing to live my life this way.

Thank you for paying me a 12 Step call.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why does it feel like I'm keeping a secret?

The need to be surrounded by the fellowship was very acute today, so I decided to attend dinner at FH before the Women’s meeting. It was kind of a mixed bag.

Sponsor spent most of the “down-time” between dinner and the meeting with her new sponsee who is a resident of FH. I didn’t feel neglected at all. I remember what a welcome relief it was when she would come to dinner before the meeting and I could escape the drama (much of it manufactured by my head) of recovery home living for just an hour by having one simple, private conversation. I was happy that my new sister in sobriety was able to benefit in that way. I was somewhat disappointed, though. There’s a lot going on in my head and heart that could benefit from spilling over, and somehow, a phone conversation about the very same issues just isn’t the same. We will not be able to meet on Saturday either as Sponsor is going out of town for the weekend. I will keep talking about my experiences over the last couple of weeks with friends, but there is so much history and family dynamics that Sponsor is privy to that cutting to the chase is easy with her. I’m not sure how much relief I will get with others who do not have the intimate knowledge of my past that she does. But, I suppose this type of thinking falls into the category of contempt prior to investigation. So maybe I better let go of it.

To that end, I’m a little perplexed by how guarded I am in some instances and how open I am in others. I noticed a couple of times tonight when women I have known through FH, some for most of my sobriety, greeted me with a kiss, hug, and inquiry into my well being, my response was that I was “good” while moments before, I was openly sharing my grief with someone else. Sponsor reassured me that it was perfectly fine to follow my intuition about with whom I felt safe sharing. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that. I mean, my health issues and FW’s passing are no secrets. Why would I treat them as such or not seek an opportunity to broaden my circle of support? Was I passing judgment on the type of support they would provide, or was I just tired of repeating myself? Was I being considerate of their current situation and not wishing to take away from their joy or drama by ignoring my own?

In the end, I think that it’s just something that maybe happens all on its own without rhyme or reason. I am still dealing with my feelings. There’s plenty of time to let the world know what’s going on. Right now I guess I just don’t feel a need to be my own personal town-crier 100% of the time. Word will get around, as it always does. I don’t need to feel responsible for how someone hears of my difficulties, how they feel about the manner in which they found out, or what they do as a result. What I am responsible for is extending the hand of Alcoholics Anonymous to anyone who reaches for it.

Thank you for paying me a 12 Step call.