Thoughts on a Friday evening

Today was a good day.

I went outside this morning, and the sun was shining, birds were singing, and it really FELT like Spring. (Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons, btw)

Then I decided to go to a noon (AA) meeting that I’d not attended before. It was in a remote little place, between towns, in a church I’ve driven past hundreds of times. I had no idea that, at any given time, there was a group of folks saving one another’s lives inside.

When I walked in the chair person was reading from a recent Grapevine, which always encourages me. I had an article published in that publication, many years ago, and so of course I have always been fond of “Our meeting in print”.

The room looked like it could ordinarily be used as a Rec room for the churches’youth group. I spied an Air Hockey table, a jukebox, and a small setting area on one side with comfy coiches and chairs. There was a kitchen on the other side, and the bar area had 4 kind’s of cookies and a coffee maker, along with the usual literature options.

It was as if I’d strolled into a pleasant memory. If you’ve never been to an AA meeting, suffice it to say that by simply walking into the room, no matter what else is going on, or whether or not you feel any kind of way about being there, you are welcome.

Sick and worn out? Welcome.

Stinky and unbathed? Welcome.

In need of psychiatric meds but managing to somehow keep your shit more or less together? Welcome.

Nobody walks into an AA meeting by mistake.

It was nice to see a majority of gray-heads at this particular place. I haven’t been to many meetings of late where many of the attendees had over a year sober, and this cup looked to be running over with sobriety. With the emotional roller coaster I’ve been living in, it felt like a gift from God to slip into a seat at the back of the room, and listen.

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The coffee was hot, and someone had brought some carrot cake, with cream cheese icing. It was almost as if I’d called ahead and put in my order.

I think going to a meeting on any day that I’m not employed is a Good Thing. I left that meeting feeling hopeful and happy. Some one once said that you could think of “G.o.d.” as

Group

Of

Drunks.

I know that whenever I’m in a group of people working on a spiritual solution for the problem of alcoholism  (or addiction, thank you), my God meets me there.

I’m a greatful recovering alkie/druggie, today, and my name is Abbie.

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An Addict Fell in a Hole

pexels-photo-1601495_1553889831615AN ADDICT FELL IN A HOLE and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by and the addict called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him to buy himself a ladder. But the addict could not buy a ladder in this hole he was in. A doctor walked by. The addict said, “Help! I can’t get out!” The doctor gave him some drugs and said, “Take this. It will relieve the pain.” The addict said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole. A well-known psychiatrist rode by and heard the addict’s cries for help. He stopped and asked, ” How did you get there? Were you born there? Did your parents put you there? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the addict talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The addict thanked him, but he was still in the hole. A priest came by. The addict called for help. The priest gave him a Bible and said, “I’ll say a prayer for you.” He got down on his knees and prayed for the addict, then he left. The addict was very grateful, he read the Bible, but he was still stuck in the hole. A recovering addict happened to be passing by. The addict cried out, “Hey, help me. I’m stuck in this hole!” Right away the recovering addict jumped down in the hole with him. The addict said, “What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck here!!” But the recovering addict said, “Calm down. It’s okay. I’ve been here before. I know how to get out.” -Author Unknown

The moral of the story is that the best person to help someone struggling with a cunning, baffling and powerful ailment like addiction is someone who’s been there and recovered.

“…love one another right now…”

I found this on my cousins’ social media page. Been looking for something great to share with you…thanks, Margie. ❤

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality wheat and every season he won the award for the best grown in his county. One year a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed the farmer and learned that each Spring the man shared his seed with his neighbors so that they too could plant it in their fields…
“How can you afford to share your best wheat seed with your neighbors when they are entering their crops in the competition with yours?” the reporter asked….
“Why that’s very simple,” the farmer explained… “The wind picks up pollen from the developing wheat and carries it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior wheat, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of all the wheat, including mine. If I am to grow good wheat, I must help my neighbors grow good wheat”…
The reporter realized how the farmer’s explanation also applied to peoples’ lives in the most fundamental way… Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all…

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Sucker punches, feeling lost, and waiting on God.

I know, each day, that at some point I’m gonna take a hard punch to the gut. I can only bob and weave for so long before the son of a bitch connects.

But, guess what? I’m getting stronger. I’m becoming more resilient, again.

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Some days, it’s actually more annoying, that the grief keeps coming around. I KNOW it’s there. It buzzes around in my periphery, all day and night, just looking for a good time to strike. Almost like the most painful game, ever.

I know that my role, is to STAY IN TODAY. My Sponsor told me “Look a your feet. Where are you? Be there.” And the enemy is hard at work, doing his best to distract me with memories of regrets and dreams of a future that will never happen.

Ultimately, more often than not, I wipe my eyes and stare into the eyes of the devil. I remember Who is in charge; Who has my back, and Who is working ALL things together for my good. And the devil doesn’t stand a chance against my God.

I don’t want to say what I tell him, the one trying so hard to destroy me, now. You can fill in the blank.

My choice, in lieu of fighting back, is to pursue forgiveness. One of the “stages of grief” is said to be anger, and when I noticed myself drifting toward a generalised rage, I began taking steps to remedy that. A friend recommended a book, which has been helpful.

The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere is an easy read and very much scripturally-based book that delves into places a lot of Believers would much rather sweep under the rug. Anger is ugly, after all. Mr. Bevere points clearly toward the answers for resentment and woundedness, and does it without throwing any shade. (I don’t know about you but the last thing I need is to be shamed for admitting the darkness that still resides inside.)

So, today I’ve been thinking about how much I want to find my PLACE. I know that with #Jesus, I am home. With my amazing #husband, I am also very much home…

That leaves a whole lot of life still unsettled. Maybe I need to put some roots down, and the reason I’m SO freakin’ unsettled is that I have such shallow roots.

I want to know what my WORK is.

I want to recognise my CONTRIBUTION to the world is supposed to be.

So…listening to an Andrew Murray book about WAITING ON GOD.

How’s your March going? Please let me know. I want to celebrate your happiness with you. I need thinks to think about, outside of me.

Selfishness looks bad on me

Something I learned, a while ago, and recently remembered:
*When I’m afraid, it’s because I might not get something that I want or think that I need.
*When I’m angry, it’s because I’m not getting what I want or think that I need.
*When I’m carrying a resentment, it’s because I didn’t get what I wanted or thought I needed.

The commonality here, is ME.

All of those emotions come from my selfish and self-centered nature. I suppose others have found ways to manage the destructive actions that can occasionally accompany those feelings, but I find it’s best to focus, instead of on Myself, on Father God, and the example set by His Son, Jesus.
Finding a way to demonstrate the love of God – outside of “religion” (No preaching, please)- is the most gratifying way to turn my day around.
How difficult is it, really, to simply smile at someone, randomly?

Of course, “looking out for number one” is a natural behavior. Self-preservation is to some degree necessary. These things may be true, but it feels like my NATURAL default is a lot more greedy and egotistical (*EGO* Easing God Out) than ANYONE actually needs to be, to survive.

Making some adjustments, now.

I am getting back to the business of learning to be less of me and more of Him. However slowly, I am determined to progress in a positive direction.

When I am able be less self-centered, I am less apt to be offended, or feel hurt, or try to manipulate people or circumstances.

What can it hurt, besides my EGO, to show some compassion, especially for someone who’s not like me? Maybe instead of falling into the judgmentalism of which the world is so saturated, I can remember that that person was someone’s baby, or is someone’s parent or relative, that they LOVE? Maybe the mask they wear is their way of trying to feel safe. Maybe they would love to be my friend.

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That automatically makes the day a better one.

On anger and (lack of) acceptance, and of course, grief.

I worked today. It wasn’t unbearable. I have made a couple of friends there who help me to stay in the present, and find things to laugh about.

I have a co-worker whom I worked with briefly pre-the event, and then after, for a short time. I recently returned to that jobsite and she asked me how I’m doing with my son’s death and all…

…my honest answer is “I’m staying busy.”

What that means, is:

I do everything in my power to think about ANYTHING except for the fact that my baby is gone. I struggle every single day to keep my mind in between the lines, knowing that any drifting toward the curb will surely result in careening over the guard rail into the valley of sadness and regret. Although I don’t feel a desire to do anything, I am compelled to…keep swimming.

There was a self-help book that came out, probably in the 80’s, and the title of it was “I’m dancing as fast as I can.” Lately it’s more like I’m sitting in a rocking chair, rocking as fast as I can, but the effect is probably about the same.

Added to the grief of my son’s death is the fact that I find other things in my life, things that may ordinarily be moderately annoying, to be ENTIRELY UNACCEPTABLE. That’s where I have to do some footwork. I know enough about grief to realise that my irritability could be grief, slipping out sideways. And for that, I am, as they say, responsible.

I was in a class recently with someone who just frankly chapped my ass. This person was (just my opinion) overly self-centered, obnoxiously attention-seeking, and, well, maybe narcissistic. As evidenced by the looks on the faces of others in attendance, it wasn’t just me who was finding this person’s behavior a challenge to tolerate. For all outward appearances, this person was in attendance for purely selfish reasons, which was ironic especially when the whole point of the class was learning how to better SERVE OTHERS.

So, I got to thinking (in between perceived offensive behaviors), working on a mini-4th Step: what is it about ME, that this behavior is having such an effect on my serenity?

I learned from the Old timers in AA, many years ago, that if a person is getting on my nerves, it may be that there’s something of ME that I see in them. 🤔 Hmm.

Or maybe it’s a trait that I used to have, evident in all its ugliness, when seen in someone else…🤔

A few days later, I was talking about this situation with a friend. I had no sooner gotten out of my mouth how much I felt like punching this person, and realising that I was giving them ENTIRELY too much free space in my head, when my friend said “It sound’s like (they’re) really hurting.”

It stopped me right in my tracks. Mid-rant, to be honest.

Hurting.

I know something about that.

In fact, just a short period before this ass-chapping situation began, I had, myself, opened my mouth and said something for which I was compelled to apologise, the next day.  (Yes, it took that long for me to hear my conscience, loud and clear. Don’t you judge me!) I apologised to person #1 for a shitty statement I’d made about person #2, because apparently I felt uncomfortable in strange surroundings and wanted to be sure that #1 would want to be MY friend rather than #2. Such an immature and hurtful thing I did. My only reason/excuse is that I’m hurting and sometimes it comes out of my mouth in the form of me being an asshole.

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So, I can see, today, from this vantage point, that perhaps the person chapping my ass was, in fact, myself. After all, aren’t I the one who decides how I frame my life experiences? Don’t I  choose whether I become angry or not?

Yeah. I’m still a doo-doohead at times.

Which leaves me here, tonight.

Let me preface this by saying:

I am not depressed. Also, I am not suicidal. At all.

But I was thinking earlier about the shift in my thinking, a.d.

I had been pursuing becoming an entrepreneur, a lifelong dream. I was learning how to think like a successful business person, just absorbing all those “positive” and “motivational” phrases and quotes. Things like

“My best days are before me!”

But, now, guess what. I don’t believe that. I can not believe that there are better days ahead than what are behind.

For too many reasons to mention, it’s just not something, barring MIRACULOUS moves of God, that I’m willing to accept. Mind you, I do believe in miracles and God has shown up and shown off plenty of times…but my feelings tell me that the best days of my life are gone.

This has NOTHING to do with the incredibly strong supportive folks around me. Please don’t twist this into being about them. It’s just how I feel. It will pass.

And don’t get me started on the Mom-remorse for not knowing how to (adequately?) help my younger son through this nightmare.

………………………………………………………..

This is why I hesitate to write. I don’t have much to say that’s not wrapped up in shades of grief and mourning. If you see me on the street or in a store, you won’t know that these thoughts are my constant companions. I do my best to not thrust my heaviness of heart onto unsuspecting others.

But 3 days from now would have been Benjamin’s 26th birthday. 3 months and 2 weeks since he left us.

I suppose maybe someone will glean something helpful from this. Its really the only purpose for sharing these thoughts.

Thank you, if you’ve read this far. I am so very grateful for the kind and generous, emotionally available people in my life. If I can ask a simple favor, it is that you keep my family, Benjamin’s wife & friends in your prayers. 20160217_220356.jpg

 

 

 

A beautiful day to be drink and drug-free

About a week ago, it was typical winter weather, bitter cold and windy. Here, in Virginia, schools were closed and then had a 2-hour delay. We even had a few inches of snow!

Then, a couple of days ago, the temperature rose to 70°! Bizarre, even for Virginia.

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Today, my husband and I went out to run errands together, and it was a pleasant enough day.

Last night I was sitting in a meeting and a friend disclosed that about a week ago his child had completed suicide.

Yeah.

He has not chosen to relapse.

This is a beautiful example of the power of the spiritual program of recovery found in Alcoholics Anonymous.

I have so many things to say, and I need to say them. However, I feel like I just don’t have the words, right now. Maybe I should do an inventory to decipher what it is that I’m feeling.

Of late, my feelings are ever-changing, like quicksand…sucking me down…

In the desperate attempt to keep from feeling the emotional battery, I bob and weave furiously, dancing to avoid the right hook of pain and sorrow. More often than not, the punches land squarely.

I feel like there are a thousand emotional land mines all around me. I don’t know, maybe the death of my son was the impetus…I begin to recover from the devastation of stepping directly on a HUGE mine, then have a few days of comparable peace. Then out of the blue I step close enough to another mine, to set it off. The personal damage is much less, of course, but it ensures that my mind stays keenly on alert for any further, life-threatening  explosions.

Perhaps that’s why my verbiage is at such an all-time low. 95 days in. Part of the process, I remind myself.

I am walking in the dark now, gingerly, with arms outstretched, feet carefully searching for a safe spot on which to step. Whether or not such a place exists for me, now, I cannot say.

Moving forward, I am sure to encounter more death, pain, and plenty of other things over which I am powerless. My hope is to find a place where I can focus more on the births, and the healing, and laughter. Sooner would be better than later, but it’s in God’s hands.

I am reluctant to write while my days are more painful than not. Whether or not I will continue, only time will tell.

I shall remain…looking for reasons to smile, looking for His face.