“See me. Feel me. Touch me. Heal me.” -R. Daltrey

Hello, family! 

I’ve missed you so much!

I began a job several months ago, doing what I do 😉, and haven’t been here (primarily) because I have to be very careful about what I talk about. 

I’ve been able to get to at least 2 meetings a week, and it’s been an unbelievable blessing.  Left to my own devices, I don’t spend time with other people. After my current employment began, I was reminded of the things I had been missing by isolating.

I missed seeing other miracles and being seen as one, myself. I missed the feelings of being “a part of” and acceptance. In isolating, I was not where I was supposed to be.

Now, I get to use every gift God’s given me, each time I clock in. I expose my scars and bandage up client’s, every day.  The Big Book says we “will not regret the past”, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be completely THERE, but there’s no question that it’s the painful experiences of my past which allow me to come alongside those “still suffering”. 

They say that the Human Services field has among the top burn-out rates of any occupation. I can see that. With that in mind, I daily pour myself out in the name of (love) lifting up individuals that, to be honest, most people wouldn’t even want to talk to. I know that God has placed me where I am, and I am full of gratitude for being used by Him. I actually get paid to share my experience, strength and hope with men & women who have none of their own! 

Is it always a cake walk? Oh, heck no. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been beat up, by the end of the day. I reckon that’s why they call it “work”.

I truly don’t have words to adequately describe how it feels to see the flicker of hope in their eyes, when they realise that they’re not alone, and that someone understands and cares. 

So, that’s a synopsis of my last 6 months. How have you been?  

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Holidays in Sobriety

For those in early sobriety, this time of year can be fraught with potential (recovery) land mines. 

Workplace Christmas parties, family get-togethers that we can be under a lot of pressure to attend, and the increasing reminders of alcohol (& etc) everywhere can all be overwhelming. 
For many of us, just the thought of spending an extended period of time with our families can be a stressful proposition. Past hurts are revisited, and the family can be confused or angry at the sober person for no longer partaking with them…

What I know is that there are always AA/NA meetings. Usually there are marathon meetings on Christmas and New Year’s, which are back-to-back meetings for 24 hours. Christmas/Hanukkah will have events in church/temple, for those who prefer those instead of (or in addition to) 12-step meetings.

The biggest thing that will help you to make it through the next couple of weeks with your clean/sober date intact is to be PROACTIVE. Spend time with people who are also in recovery. Non-drinkers or users can be great people, but they’re not gonna be able to share with you their experience in celebrating the holidays sober, in spite of themselves. I know I went to at least one meeting for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s of my first 5+ years. 

If your recovery is your priority, you will be able to begin 2017 with the same clean date that you have now.

I am grateful for this new way of life, and for being able to be present for my family. I am grateful to be able to learn how to care for MYSELF, as well as others. 


See more every Saturday @ http://www.drunkless.com !

What happened…(Part 2)

I continued living a fast and dangerous lifestyle until I discovered I was pregnant at age 27. I was married, but since I was  a REAL alcoholic/addict, it wasn’t my husband’s child.  I knew that I needed to make some changes to how I was living, so I stopped dropping acid as soon as I knew about the baby, and cut out the drinking soon after. 

The pregnancy went easily enough. I loved the idea of having a baby growing in my belly, and I had dreams of finally being loved by someone who wouldn’t leave or betray me. 

Growing…up

I began attending IOP classes at about 4 1/2 months pregnant, and after that was over, I moved into a residential Mother/baby program. My clean/sober date fell when I was  6 months along (I wasn’t ready to give up the weed at the same time I quit everything else, so that took a little longer), on Thanksgiving of 1992. I wasn’t elated about going into the program, living with so many other (CRAZY) women, but it made sounded to me that it was my best option. I had enough sense to recognise that my child was going to need the best that I could give (him), and getting clean and sober in a place that would take care of us both sounded like a brilliant idea. 

God used that tiny boy to teach my battered and scarred heart how to REALLY love. 

A week after my son was born, I was out at a meeting picking up my 3 month chip. We were still living at the Residential treatment place, and I was starting to become familiar with the little guy. 

I came in and found the woman who ran the place, sitting with my boy laying under blankets, on her chest. She said “The poor little thing just can’t get warm.” So she instructed me to take him and lay down with him on my chest, under some blankets, until he got warm. She was a Nurse, and I was learning to take directions. It was probably around 10 pm. I did what she told me and we tried to go to sleep. At about 4 am, after a sleepless night, I went to the office to the staff on the night shift to see what she thought. I found out later that she used to work at the local Children’s Hospital and it was no coincidence that she was working that night. 
She took one look at my baby and told me to get my coat on. 
We went to the closest hospital and they swept him into the Emergency Room quicker than I’d ever seen anyone go in.  He didn’t even go through triage. After a few minutes, the nurse told me that he was going to be taken to the Children’s Hospital by ambulance because they couldn’t help him there…

If you missed the first post, you can find it here http://www.abbieinwondrland.com/2016/09/17/one-grrls-story/

“Sit With Us”

I just had to spread the word about a brilliant app created to help kids find someone to sit with at lunch, thereby reducing the likelihood of their becoming a target for bullying.

I know that those who stop by wondrland are some of the most compassionate and creative folks around, and I want to ask you to share the info about this app with any – and everyone you can. (The link is at the bottom of this post.)

Too many of us grew up being bullied, and those scars don’t go away. Thanks. My Tribe is the best. ❤

​http://sitwithus.io./#!/News

Y.E.T.s

I don’t think I’m the only person who listened to people talking in meetings and did a mental checklist: “haven’t gone there, haven’t done that, etc.” At that time, I was still trying to figure out whether I was really in the right place.  

I remember hearing women in treatment with me talking about things they’d done to support their habit.  They said things like “I’d be looking over at the pipe (in the middle of *the act*), thinking ‘just a little while longer, baby’ ” I could imagine that, but I hadn’t gone to that place, yet. I think it was the codependent gene plus NO business savvy whatsoever that kept me from that particular business. I envied the women who had been financially compensated -however slightly- for their wares. I just wanted to be ‘loved’. I suppose that was my weakness. 

In retrospect, I’m grateful that I wasn’t quite that hard, because I know how people become that way. I’ve been through enough self-destructive and emotion-numbing experiences, without adding even more, thanks. 

I hadn’t gotten any DUIs, YET. I hadn’t gone to jail (for more than a few hours), YET. I hadn’t subjected my children to the horrors of a using parent (only because I wasn’t blessed to not have kids while I was using), YET.  I hadn’t been in any vehicle accidents while under the influence, YET…

The Oldtimers told me to listen for similarities. I had put myself in dangerous situations. I had been in abusive relationships. I had lied, cheated, stolen, and murdered. I hadn’t thought twice about cheating on my mate, or about taking yours (just because I could was reason enough). I had driven when I could barely make out the lines on the road. I had awoken on the side of the road where I’d finally given up on finding my way home. I had placed the addiction ahead of my love for anyone else in my life. I hadn’t considered that the entire time I was living in direct opposition to my own values and morals, I was damaging my own spirit. I had no idea the depth of the devastation of my heart and mind, wrought from the years of “not caring”. 

I had become so much less than human. By the time I was done, I really felt like a bloody pile of flesh. And I volunteered for the vast majority of it. It was what my master required. But I digress.
The Old Farts in the Rooms told me that “YET” stood for You’re Eligible, Too. So, if I continued on the trajectory I’d been on, I was most assuredly going to sink even deeper into the depravity that I had heard about, and more. 
Today, I can apply the YETs to my life in a very different way. I haven’t gotten a degree YET. I haven’t become a Grandmother, YET. I haven’t travelled out of the country sober, YET. I haven’t been an “Empty-nester” YET. I haven’t been a home owner, YET. 

I’m blessed beyond measure. I know that my Tribe is there for me, and I know that I don’t have to EVER go farther down on that elevator than I had when I got off. The Program taught me to be grateful. And I surely am, today.    

“To be honest…”

Whenever I hear those words, I immediately wonder, “was everything up until now a lie?” I mean, if you have to clarify that AT THIS TIME you’re telling the truth…you could be an alcoholic/addict. 

I don’t lie anymore

I’ll never forget the time I heard a guy with 30 days or so -again- say in a meeting that since he stopped drinking, he didn’t lie anymore. I’m not sure if it was part of a ploy to hook up with a new(er)comer, but he sounded sincere when he said it. 

Seriously?

 I was surprised to hear that, to say the least. Especially from this person. But, you know, that’s his stuff. (I did choke a little on my coffee, though, as I was trying not to laugh.) 

What does honesty even look like?
According to the Bigger Big Book, we don’t really know the full story of what goes on in our own heart & mind. “Cash-register honesty”, now that’s easy enough to identify, but what about…the rest of our lives? 

When I was going to meetings with Dad, where they were mostly Crusty Oldtimers (The Winner’s Circle in Lakeland, in case you’re curious), they taught me a more comprehensive way to find out what MY truth was, at any given moment. 

Checkity check yoself before you wreck yoself

They taught me to check my motives. Sounds easy enough, right?

 Here’s an example:

I want to give Joe Blow a ride to a meeting (even though my Sponsor warned me about fraternizing with the opposite sex).

What’s my motive? Obviously, I want to be a friend, and help him out. Sounds good, doesn’t it? And that may well be PART of the truth.

Check it again

They told me to check my motives again. 

What’s my real motive? Well, it’s a nice thing to do, and I’m trying to think of others first. That sounds legit. It’s most likely a part of my reason for giving him a lift.

One more time

Yep, they told me to check my motives 3  times!

What’s my REAL, bottom line, honest to God motive? Siiigh. I don’t want to do this. 

I want to do a favor for someone, so I’ll have leverage on them whenever I need a favor.

I want others to see me doing “Service Work”.

I’m so lonely, I just want someone to talk to. Besides, I have trust issues with women. I’ve always gotten along better with men. 

And finally, the TRUTH:

I don’t know how to act without a man in my life, and he looks at me like he’s interested, and my self-esteem needs some help (which he appears willing to *ahem* stroke)!

Hm. That’s a lot of work!

One thing about being a World-Class Liar for so long, is that you can’t tell when you’re lying. (We’ll talk about denial in a future post.)

So, in summary, I need to check my motives 3 times (sometimes more) whenever I think something. Because I am selfish and self-centered to the core. I even do nice things for others (altruism isn’t unheard of, even among people like us) because I GET SOMETHING OUT OF IT.

So it’s bad for me to do good?

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to do for others! It’s good to be helpful. Kinda like the idea of doing a good deed and not telling anyone. 

If you were to take a younger person under your wing (say, niece or nephew) because they needed guidance that their parent couldn’t give them, that’s a good thing, and more likely to have a positive motive. 

On the other hand, if the only younger folks you’re willing to spend time helping are, for example, the kids in your church’s Youth Group – where you’re sure to get more than a few pats on the back – instead of the one that you KNOW is in a bad place, that very few people would know about, and that you could definitely help…well, you tell me what the motives there, are.

I’m never gonna get that.

Honesty is one of the strange new concepts that sobriety/clean time requires that we learn. One day at a time. Sometimes slowly…

Saturday afternoon contemplations

I feel like I want to write something – God knows there’s plenty of verbage flying around in my mind – but I’m just not sure what.

Comparisons are baaad, mkay?

(Please excuse the South Park humor) I don’t have a functional radio/cd player in my ride, so I’ve been immersing myself in Recovery podcasts. It’s really been a blessing, and it’s good to be sitting in traffic, listening to “my people” talking about the kind of life that I -and not so many other folks -have experienced and lived to tell about. I catch myself laughing (a great recovery tool in its own right) and nodding in agreement on my way to and from work, and for that, I’m really grateful. (See links at the bottom of the post for some of my favorites.)

Just one problem

The drawback being, my (internal) Committee – you know, the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee – is forever comparing me to them. The guys and gals who are so witty, so good at expressing themselves, and (clearly) kicking ass in their own lives. They tell me that all of the writers and/or podcasters are infinitely smarter, younger, more attractive, better at their jobs, less damaged, self-confident, domestically skilled partners, living with financial security, great parents, being paid to do the work that satisfies their hearts and souls, and on and on ad nauseam…

Getting into the Solution

It helps me at times like this, to refer to the list of positive qualities that I’ve written down that sits at my make-up table.

image

My positives list

Last week I solicited these from a couple friends who’ve known me for a long time, and from one wonderful person who’s seen me in a professional capacity, which is to say that we worked together. They were able to give me a respectable list of positive qualities, to be sure. Just knowing there women causes me a great feeling of gratitude. I’m humbled to have them count me as a friend.
I need to read this list DAILY.
I think I’ll go do that now.

Hang on.

To be honest

I suppose since “honest” is one of the words my friends described me with, I should tell you that what I referred to as a “make-up table” is, in reality, an ironing board in a closet where I put on the make-up before going into work. Ok, so that’s cleared up.

Anyway, it’s a difficult task, letting the positives come into my mind without immediately deflecting them, shooting them out of the sky like so many skeet shooters. I mean, I’ve known me for a REALLY long time, and I’ve SEEN some of the things I’ve done AND STILL DO. Some, more than just occasionally!!

What would I tell a friend in this situation?

Asking myself that question has been tremendously helpful. I have a gift for exhortations, but I am so often completely incapable of speaking to myself with kindness and grace.

Soooo….

If I were talking to a friend, I’d remind her that we tend to judge our own insides by other people’s outsides. The “beautiful people” may feel insecure and unworthy, just like me, but maybe they’re just better at hiding it.
Maybe I need to work on forgiving myself for being imperfect. Maybe I’ll pursue that counsellor I talked to my GP about the other day, especially now that I’ve got insurance again. Maybe it’s time to adjust the meds again.

Anyway, it’s gonna be ok. I’m working on transparency, here, again. I don’t know if any you struggle with these things, but if anyone else does, I’m hoping this will help.
You’re not alone.
It gets easier. It really does. I promise.

Here’s links to some of my favorite pod-talkers. (Soundcloud ROCKS,YO.)

Since Right Now / The Recovery Revolution

Sober Courage

Bad Story

Buzzkill

High Wire Girl

I so wish podcasts were around when I crawled back into pseudo-reality. They’re quite brilliant, and they go great with a strong cuppa joe and a bagel.

Posted from my cabin in the mountains.