Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some Thoughts at the End of the Year

I spent the week before Christmas away visiting family. I ate lots of great food, enjoyed the company of my family and managed to keep my serenity for the majority of the visit. Towards the end of my trip, I felt increasingly homesick. Dire weather forecasts made me fear I'd never get back home to my man. My cell phone wasn't charging and I felt out of touch and almost desperate for him. When the plane actually touched down, I felt such relief. We drove home in a blizzard, but at least I was home.
My man and I spent our first Christmas together this year. For the past six years we've always been with our own families for this day. But this year we had a big tree and presents beneath it and I made Christmas breakfast.
He's been sober for more than 100 days and sometimes I don't think I deserve this happiness. I'm in the relationship I've always dreamed of with him. Yesterday we went to the bank and got pre-approved for a mortgage for our first home.
I still get annoyed with him sometimes. It's not like we're perfect now. He teases me too much, and trying talk can still be like pulling teeth. The TV is on a lot. And he gets mad when I bring up acupuncture for his bad back.
But it's good to remind myself of what I have to be grateful for. I no longer feel that anxious knot in my stomach every time he walks through the door. There are no bottles of vodka hidden in the garden, or empty nips in the laundry. He's not angry at the world, at his job, at me. He's relaxed, easy-going and silly the way he was when we first met.
As for me, I'm learning how to listen and how to pray. I feel a belief in a Higher Power that I never had before and that feels good! I can dream about my life and my future without fear, only excitement. I've made good friends here!
Every once in a while, I sense a little tingling in the back of my neck over when this bubble might burst. But even that is manageable with what I've learned in AlAnon. I can't worry about the "what if's" and "might be's". All I can do is the next right thing and be grateful for every moment that I have.

And so, with nothing but gratitude and hope in my heart, I pray that we all have happy, healthy and serene days for all of 2009 and beyond.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A growing awareness

I'm in Indiana this week, visiting my family and of the many thoughts this invokes, the one I'd like to explore right now if that of Health and Health Consciousness.
My divorced father lives alone just a block away from his widowed sister. They are very close, best friends. My father is 63, retired and in very poor health. What strikes me about his health is that I believe most of his problems are somewhat self-inflicted and probably could have been prevented had he taken better care of himself when he was younger. Now, he's too damn stubborn to do anything. His day consists of reading in the morning, playing guitar in the afternoon and watching tv at night. He goes for days at a time without leaving the house. He eats at his sister's most nights. She's a great cook, but a vegetable is an afterthought with dinner and usually consists of canned greenbeans or creamed corn or canned asparagus loaded with mayonnaise. In fact, mayonnaise is a major ingredient in most of her cooking, along with butter and cheese. Don't get me wrong, I devour everything she makes. I'm talking about some real, serious, old-fashioned comfort food. But it's no wonder she's seriously obese. It's no wonder her knees hurt. It's no wonder that my Dad has a huge gut, gets heartburn almost every night, and suffers from irritable bowl syndrome so badly he can't travel to see his daughters or grandson.
Good grief, look at how they live!

(God, grant me the serenity...)

Now my mother just ran a 10k for her 60th birthday. She is extremely active--swimming, walking, canoing, etc... Frankly, I think she's in better shape than I am. She eats extremely well; lots of salads, fruit every morning, whole grain breads, minimal butter. She's happy and healthy and will probably live decades more to watch her grandchildren grow up. I recently encouraged her to try accupuncture.

From AlAnon, I know that I cannot change my father. I cannot make him healthy. I cannot make him change his lifestyle, improve his mood or make him a happy person. I'm starting to accept that. And I can learn from him and his sister. It's very important to take care of myself. I want to make the effort to eat right and exercise, because I don't want to be old when I'm 60. I want to by spry and able to enjoy that chapter of life.

There is also the geographical element to Health and Health Consciousness. My father and aunt do not have much money and in Indiana in December fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive. I think that in Massachusetts there may be more access to this type of food. I certainly haven't seen a Whole Foods in Indiana. The consciousness perhaps hasn't made it to Indiana yet. Isn't that typical of the coasts and larger urban areas to be more progressive? I hope I'm not insulting anyone, and I know it's not always true. My mom lives in Vermont which is extremely rural, yet also quite progressive in many ways. And I'm sure there are people in Indiana who don't purchase farm raised shrimp from Thailand, even though they're a bargain at Wal-Mart. But sometimes that's what's affordable when one plans a celebration with the family.

Enough for now. This rambling train of thought needs to ramble over to my aunt's for some cheese bombs and heart-attack dip. YUM!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


My beloved has 84 days of sobriety. My gratitude is overwhelming. He is the man I have always loved and knew to be, except now he is not hidden by the disease. Slowly, without realizing it, I have gotten comfortable and content with our new life, new pattern, new habits. Our future feels secure and bright like never before and I could not be more pleased. A thousand thank you's a day couldn't express my gratitude to my higher power. And I cannot help but be optimistic about our future. We're finally talking about the possibilities ahead, like buying a home, having a baby, and getting remarried (not necessarily in that order!). I am overjoyed and amazed.
I know we will face hard times ahead; it is inevitable. But I've found prayer and a higher power and I've seen what we can work through.
Miracle of miracles, I have faith.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Revelation

I am not expected to control anyone.
In my meeting last night I heard many people say this very thing and I nodded and smiled, but didn't truly experience the revelation until I started my drive home from work after a crappy day. It all began with a dream I had last night. I'm taking a prescription pill to help me stop smoking and the side affect that I'm experiencing is vivid dreams. Last night I dreamt in vivid and excruciating detail that I had to fire one of my gardeners after they did something very stupid on our biggest property.
I've written about this property before. If I was a good blogger, I'd know how to put in one of those fancy links to send you to the exact post. But I don't. Look for "Was this a Test?" from 10/21 for pictures and tales from The Manor where no expense is spared.
Today's schedule put me at The Manor and I drove there the whole way with this dream in my head. I was working with a couple of knuckleheads, who are all right on their own, but together make me feel like I'm babysitting more than anything else. Knucklehead 1 is almost certainly high all the time and Knucklehead 2 is usually hungover. Nice enough guys, just not particularly thoughtful, dedicated or careful.
Our task for the morning was a very thorough weeding of the entire 60 acres. Weeding at this time of year removes a lot of perennial weeds that would spread and cause serious headaches next season. Today was warm and it was probably our last chance to get any remaining weeds. We started all together, but Knuckleheads quickly got ahead of me. I found myself following behind them, on my hands and knees, carefully picking out all the weeds they missed. Every time I looked up, Knuckhead 1 was strolling along, every few feet finding a weed. I felt myself getting more and more frustrated. Finally I brought 1 over to an area he strolled by and told him this wasn't my idea of thorough. He kind of chuckled and shrugged and made some pretense of being more thorough and then moved on.
A few hours later, the afternoon crew arrivied with truckloads of greenery for decorating The Manor. Things got a little chaotic and no one was sure what to do. I became extremely frustrated with the situation. Everyone was doing their own thing, with no consistancy or direction. Eventually, I remembered that there was supposed to be a crew to continue weeding, and a crew to decorate. Unfortunately, that meant I had to take Knuckleheads 1 and 2 back to another part of The Manor to weed. By this point I couldn't even look at these two without wanting to shake them as I hard as I could. I weeded with them for less than an hour before I got the call from my boss saying that if necessary, I should leave to prep for tomorrow's meeting. I wasted no time and was gone by 2pm. Knuckleheads probably got high the minute I was out of sight. The decorating crew probably used too many garlands and we'll have to reorder. The owner of The Manor was onsite driving around in his billion dollar Audi watching the disaster unfold, but I just couldn't take anymore. I can't do the work for them all. I can't control every garland they string, weed they pull or eye they roll at me. I can't control what the owner sees or thinks. I can't control what they say about me. I can't control whether they enjoy their job or not.
And not only that, my boss certainly does not expect me to be able to do all that. So the only person who was putting all this pressure and stress and frustration on me, was ME! What a revelation! And I don't think I would have recieved it without AlAnon. Wow!