Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 70: Keeping it Simple

Attended a morning meeting that I'd never attended before. 8 AM. And it was a whole new format and crowd to me... They say that because it's an early morning meeting instead of clapping they snap their fingers... (Needless to say, I forgot each time and clapped before I snapped!) Wednesday's overall topic for this daily meeting was to be "Gratitude". They read from As Bill Sees It, and that was also a first for me, as well... The page was on "keeping it simple" and like yesterday, chaos became a sort of sub-theme of the day. I realized that I'm addicted to chaos... I look for it... I seek it... Nothing was more chaotic than my happy hour bar where the drunken bartender could pour the liquor over-flowing all over the bar and then fall down a set of concrete stairs at the end of his shift... And hangovers guaranteed the same nauseous state of seeking more chaos... I'm grateful that I can keep it simple and avoid chaos... And when in doubt, just don't drink and go to meetings... That keeps it completely simple for me! Avoiding Chaos, (Kaos) it's not just for Maxwell Smart anymore... I shared, and identified myself as being a first-timer at the meeting and also shared my day count of 70 days today...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 69: No Longer the Child of Chaos

One guy mentioned at a morning meeting that he was a "child of chaos". He mentioned that the term somewhere is in the literature... I can relate: Growing up in a household where chaos ruled the day... The nightly dinner table was the most notable spot to breed chaos... Sooo, it's in my programming to seek chaos. The game was find CHAOS, then to drink over it! Whether it's sticking my nose into other people's transactions at the store. Suggesting human resources adjustments to a manager... Or engaging in escalating batty conversation with the dog-hating psycho woman that lives down my block and often throws open her window to yell threats and epithets daily... But today, I've learned to not be provoked and to just walk away from all the chaos. In sobriety, I don't have to act or react, I can choose serenity and live peace.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 68 Luxury Problems

One of the "benefits" (although that may appear to be an unfortunate word choice) of these AA meetings that I'm attending near Times Square, is that I hear sooo many stories of people who are really struggling with major, and sometimes life-or-death challenges... The "benefit" I get from these shares is the reminder that all my problems today are really luxury problems. I'm so grateful to have: 1) a roof, 2) good health and 3) food; All are available to me today. All the rest of my problems, no matter how I may focus on them, are luxuries in the grand scheme of things... My Higher Power puts these people in my path every day to remind me to enjoy the gratitude... But still, I feel a little guilty about it sometimes. And I accept that, too... I shared my day count of 68 days at the meeting this morning. There was a newcomer there with 40+ days today, so I wasn't alone in the day-counting dept.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 67

Went to an Anniversary Meeting at AlAnon House... TONS of sobriety between three speaker/ celebrants. Room was packed and I was the only one counting days! Amazing... One regular shared how he put down a drink at a park right near my apt in 1985 and went over and admitted himself into detox at Roosevelt Hospital across the street. He's been sober ever since. I'll think of that story often when I walk past that now renovated park... Another celebrant (that I know from another group) introduced me to his wife after the meeting... I've been doing a couple meetings a day most days... And at least one every day right here in my neighborhood... Usually on 46th Street, where there are (conveniently) soooo many meeting places and times. It's a gift to have meetings such a short walk away. And folks in sobriety, including my sponsor, assure me it's a gift if I never relapse. Two of the celebrants never relapsed and know the gift of first time AA sobriety. They all also talked a lot about Higher Power and how they couldn't do it without belief and the help from a Higher Power... As for me, I always had a Higher Power... But I never asked God to help with sobriety til arriving in the program 67 days ago. Up til then, I was looking to a Lower Power to keep me in a fog..... I'm 67 days sober today, and for that, I'm grateful.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 64

Have remained committed to doing an AA meeting (or two) a day... And it feels good to keep that commitment to myself... I shared in a mtg yesterday about my day of stumbling on a "new dive bar" while stolling thru Soho yesterday... Well, new to me and I immediately fixated on it, and my regular habit of wanting to visit just these kinds of places during my summer vacations. Over the years, my main blog has been filled with overt (and covert) references to such places... Fortunately, today, I don't need to "go there"... Had I done so, I certainly would NOT have enjoyed the spontaneous afternoon visit with friend who was having "a down day" after a recent chemo treatment. Instead, I enjoyed a yogurt smoothie with her and was able to brighten her day and keep her mind off her health troubles for a while. It brightened my day, too... A dive bar visit? Not so much... Was day 63 yesterday and no one had offered me a 60 day chip yet... So, I asked and I received... Felt a little silly as it's nothing more than a good luck charm.... But it's a better collection to have than "dive bar visit reviews"... Today is Day 64 and I'm definitely headed to a neighborhood meeting today. ..

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 60!

Just checking in... ... Am grateful to count day 60 today. Doing meetings... Counting days... Starting Fourth Step work with a sponsor... All is well... But for the grace... Listen to this song... It's the song that resonates for me today...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 55 Meeting & Gratitude List

Was feeling antsy midday after spending the day at home doing chores... So, I decided to wander over to a clubhouse meeting rather than wait for the usual 4pm one at that same spot... Was especially good as it was a beginner's meeting and pretty small. Everyone talked strong recovery... about the importance of meetings and not drinking a day at time... The speaker had 2.5 years after many "geographics" in his life, and each "geographic" eventually lead to a relapse... And had been incarcerated several times for thinks he did while drunk... The chair was an alcoholic and self-described "cracktologist" (with six mos) who ended the meeting stressing the importance of God in his recovery. At 4am when he needs help it wasn't always easy to get someone on the phone. He needed to turn it all over to a higher power in order to ask for help on a daily basis. Sometimes many times daily... He pointed to the signs on the clubhouse walls which read "Easy Does It" and "First Things First" and said "not a single sign sez 'Over-analyze how it works' or 'Think a lot about this program.' He believes in giving it to God in order to beat his addictions as his years of "thinking" got him nowhere. At this meeting day counters from 0-29 days shared first, 30-59 shared second, and then 60-90. Then to a "show of hands." I read "How It Works" aloud at the beginning of the meeting, and someone else read "The Promises" right before the Serenity Prayer at the end. Today is my 55th day in recovery.

I am grateful... For a good meeting today; Getting a slew of chores accomplished today; no urge to drink alcohol today; the thought of the taste of tequila seems distasteful today; the satisfying feeling that I am replacing my old habits with newer healthier ones, a day at a time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Days 53 & 54

Sooo glad to be back at my regular meetings in midtown Manhattan. What a gift to be able to walk to meetings at just about any time of day... Kind of amazing, actually... Still counting days... I've been the first to share at the last two meetings... And I appreciate that they are usually small meetings with ample time to share regularly. As a newcomer, I have found that to be an important requisite.. To find small meetings, share often, and break the isolation. Today is day 54. Am grateful for ALL of the above! Clap, clap, clap...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Days 51 & 52 Meetings and Gratitude List

Still sober... More thoughts on these meetings down here in this small burg in Maryland... Part of the difference, and I think it's huge, is that a large percentage of the attendees seem to be court ordered... There is a procession in the beginning of the meeting of people putting blue cards on the front desk that are rubber stamped by the stern-looking "tough love" chairman... A whole different dynamic than the NYC meetings where most people are there because they brought themselves to the meeting because they have accepted powerlessness... Now, I don't mean to take anyone else's inventory, but in the round robin clearly most of these blue paper people would "pass" on thier turns to share and couldn't wait to get out of there... Most left early... Not that they are bad people. Not that they aren't exactly where they need to be. And not I am not granting that "Acceptance is the answer..."... Just sayin that it adds an icy dimension to the whole meeting character that I find unsatisfying... But I'll be back among beloved New York drunks soon enough... Tomorrow in fact, and will surely hit a meeting straight away... A shout out to my sponsor who was kind enough to keep in touch with me during the road trip. Thanks, pal... Today, I am grateful... * That my folks are in relatively good health and relatively good spirits today... * For morning bird chirps... * the best little doggy in the whole wide world and his joyful rolling in the grass... * Deer... * Public library Internet access. Free, too!...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Days 48, 49, and 50 Meetings & Gratitude List

I'm on a road trip to see the family... I fully acknowkledge that I'm completely spoiled by NYC where I can walk to a meeting at any time of day in any part of town... Here in the boonies, they are fewer and farther between, and despite the fact that cell coverage is spotty, I have managed several important chats with my sponsor... The meetings are all "strange"... Stuff we do at the break, and at the end of the meeting they do first... And they close with the Lord's Prayer which seems ghastly too-denominational to me... But when in Rome... Anyway... So, I'm sober. Today is day 50... Not sure how much longer I'll be here before I flee back to the greatest city in the world... Stay tuned... Today, I am grateful... * For a little computer time at the local public library. * For the fortitude to attend meetings even though they aren't familiar to me... * For time to read... * For a happy doggy. * For the good health of my loved ones today!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 47 Meeting and Gratitude List

Hit a morning meeting today... Several newcomers on hand. This little meeting in the Times Square area never ceases to amaze with a revolving roster of visitors from out of town and/or other NYC meetings. Actually, it's in a building where one of my theatrical Directors used to live over top of a strip joint. So that doorway provides other memories, including lots of booze and smoke available at his parties in the 1980's and 1990's.... I needed to hear today's speaker's experience, strength and hope with the first and second steps, particularly... That was the thrust of his share... As for my own share, I told the group this would be my last time here for a few days while I hit the road trip... Am having a hard time locating meetings located exactly where I'll be for most of the time during the time slots that I can attend... But I'm sure it'll work out... Meanwhile, I've alerted my sponsor here in NY that we may need to to a telephone meeting together if I can't hit a meeting on any given day... He's cool with that. I am grateful... * That I was able to get to a meeting today. * That, today, I am able to trust that all will be fine with working the program for the next few days on the road. * For a strong sense of a higher power, today. * For all the birthday cards, wishes, and greetings I've received as of today. * For air-conditioning.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day 46 Meeting & Gratitude List

Shared at this morning's meeting that it's my birthday. The REAL one... Which lead to loads of "Happy Birthdays" from the fellow meeting-goers... Which lead to me saying that I've never really felt happy on it. Always in the shadow of the Fourth, this has been hangover day... While most friends are all off somewhere still celebrating the 4th, I'm actually perfectly content to enjoy some ME time... The challenge will come this week when I travel home to see the folks, as one program person has stated: "Nothing puts Miracle Grow on your character defects like family"... I'll spend some time today making a list of Maryland meetings while I have unfettered Internet access at home... It's a milestone, though, that this will be my first birthday in Sobriety... As I have joked to some friends... I drank enough in the first 50 years... I am grateful... * that I'm a healthy 51 today. * that I'm a healthy 46 days today * that there's a healthy doggy curled on my lap as I type this today. * that my folks are healthy today. * a healthy lunch today.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 45 Gratitude

Today, I am grateful... * For a fabulous Fourth. 80. Low humidity. * A loooong walk. * A hearty lunch at Brother Jimmy's BBQ * Fireworks down the street, if I want them. * Another day without medication. (Chocolate Citarella cupcake excepted!)

Day 45 Meeting

45th on the 4th! Got to a morning meeting at a place I hadn't been for a couple of weeks. The topic was sponsorship. I shared that I have one now, although for the first 30 days of recovery, the very thought of asking anyone to be my sponsor seemed too pathetic an idea to me... Now, it seems pathetic not to have asked someone to be my sponsor. Although it's not a procedure mentioned in the Big Book, sponsorship has become an integral part of the program. It's about "asking for help". Something that I have a very hard tome doing. Bought some 12 Step goodies at a nice shop called Choices after the meeting. I'll be back to that store, I'm sure!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 44 Meetings

Did two meetings today, and I'm home now, sober, and fine... I'm too tired right now to fill in the blanks of these theses... The morals of the story: "They can I can't" But "I can and they can't"!... And "choosing to get off the elevator that's on the way down"... Got down to Manhattan Intergroup after lunch (where I sincerely missed the dark beer that would have been good with the mutton chop!) and bought "A.A. and the Gay/Lesbian Alcoholic", "Daily Reflections" and the current issue of "Grapevine"... I shared my day count at both meetings.44 days.

Day 44 Gratitude

Today, I am grateful... * For A/C. * For a good tiring day. * For taking care of business and putting sobriety first. * That I am better able to show up for others when I'm sober. And * For the best little doggy in the whole wide world.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 43 Meeting

Started the day with a meeting at AlAnon House. Even though it's called AlAnon House, the meetings are AA. I don't know if they even have an Al Anon meeting at AlAnon House... What's up with that??... The meeting speaker set the topic as "putting AA first"... As one man put it... "It's either AA or Amen" for him! I shared about how I would collect little negative things throughout the day to add to my binge file for fueling a binge... And today, by going to meetings, I can focus on better stuff and not drink. I did two meetings yesterday... And am leaving shortly for a second meeting today... A luxury I have right now, during vacation, is all these meetings within a stones throw of home and I'm enjoying taking advantage of them... Today is day 43.

Day 43 Gratitude

Today, I'm grateful: * For the raging thunderstorm enjoyed from the comfort of my nice dry couch * That I am putting my program first today. * That I have 43 days under my belt. * Seinfeld reruns still make me laugh. * Afternoon naps during thunderstorms after writing a gratitude list. LOL.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 42 Meeting

Today's morning meeting featured a speaker visiting from California with 40+ years of sobriety. He was a first time winner, that means he never had a slip... He knew when he became involved with the program that all he had to do was "don't drink and go to meetings"... And before he knew it, it's been 40+ years and he doesn't know where the time went. He's had four marriages, and lost a son to AIDS... So things have still happened to him in his sobriety but he was able to cope with all the good AND the bad much better being sober... During my share, I told him he has as many years and as I have days and that I appreciated his qualification as it shows hope of a good long recovery without a relapse... "I realized I could decide that I've hurt myself enough" is how another participant put it. Today is day 42.