The essay resulted in too much introspection. It was based on a series of 6 questions which probed into our histories while examining our decision to become helpers. I am drained, so rather than share deeply – or even shallowly – tonight, I’ll post one of the questions I had to respond to. I’m not asking you to share your answer here. It’s really personal, actually. But still, it is potentially a very powerful thing to think about. Because I love you all so much, I’ve included my own response.
Think of a time when you needed help from someone else in your life. What did you want/need most from that person? What did that person do or say that helped or did not help?
I am a recovering alcoholic, and have been sober for 15 years. My husband and I didn’t have the money to send me to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Instead, I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, got a sponsor, and began working the steps. During the Fourth Step a recovering alcoholic takes a personal inventory, writing down things said and done for which, at some point, amends will need to be made. Making the list is hard, but the Fifth Step is harder: sharing that list with someone else. It is similar to confession. There is this fear that “If this person knew this about me, they wouldn’t like me anymore.” Naturally this means that the person asked to listen to someone’s Fifth Step must be trustworthy.
The woman I chose to share mine with was my sponsor, and I loved her dearly. My only concern was that she was very religious, and I was terrified that she would reject me once she knew my two darkest secrets. I wanted to stay sober though, and for me that meant getting these things off of my chest. With that in mind, I chose to tell her those two awful things first, like ripping off a bandage. I blurted them out so quickly I’m not even sure I took a breath between naming them. Then I sat there, frozen, waiting for her reaction. She blinked, and then said, “That’s it? I did that too.” I cannot describe the relief I felt. With those six words I was accepted, understood, and no longer alone. Since then I have had the honor of listening to other women share their Fifth Step with me, and have been able to pass along the comfort that she gave to me. I’m forever grateful for that gift.
I am celebrating that, as of today, I have 14 years of sobriety. Hooray!
I’m filled with gratitude for the many gifts in my life. I share my life with the most loving, caring man I have ever known (who’s also lots of fun to be around- an important attribute). I have a close and loving relationship with my family, and am blessed with so many incredible friends, including you. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and 2 obnoxious cats who attempt to keep me humble by reminding me that my station in life is somewhat below theirs. I’ve told them that they may be king and queen, but I am empress and trump them all. 😉
In honor of my day I have gone to the bookstore and bought 7 more books. I also treated myself to a slice of Godiva Double Chocolate Cheesecake and a hot chocolate. Yes, I’m now suffering from chocolate overload, but it was well worth it.
Happy February 23rd everybody!
My proposed research project: the effect of meditation on self esteem. Hypothesis: practicing meditation daily increases self-esteem.
Still trying to come up with something for my literary research review paper. I’m limited to a topic under the heading of either “Depression,” “Addiction,” or “Non-traditional families.” I really don’t feel like researching addiction; I live with it. Ditto for depression. But I’m not feeling drawn to Non-trad families. My current idea is to review research into the therapeutic benefits of pets for people suffering from depression. There doesn’t appear to be enough professional, peer-reviewed articles however. Searching… searching… pondering… pondering…
These topics due in the morning. I’ll let you know what I wind up choosing.
It is such an uncomfortable feeling to find that you’ve wronged someone, however unintentional it might have been. I’ve recently come to realize that I’ve been doing just that, and to more than one person.
Part of it has been a matter of me sinking into a depression and shutting people out. I haven’t returned phone calls or emails the way I should have. Some of you have experienced this first hand, and I’d like to tell you how truly sorry I am.
With others it’s been a matter of me showing up late for things. Not chronically late – only a couple of minutes – but late nonetheless. I don’t know why I do this; it never happens until I’m comfortable with someone. Which is kind of worse in a way, because if we’re that close then shouldn’t I be making even more of an effort to not waste your time or to devalue you that way? I know that I don’t mean to do it. I get caught up in doing something else and lose track of time. This needs to stop.
Then there’s the matter of not meeting my responsibilities. Because of my back problems I have not been able to fully perform the duties of something I volunteered for a couple of years ago. I’ve been doing what I could but then letting the rest fall on someone else’s shoulders. At first I spoke with her each month, clearing it with her. But then it fell into a pattern and I stopped checking with her to make sure it was alright; I took her for granted. So I’ve let down the group, but I’ve also let down a friend. I cleared that up today and am making plans to give up that commitment altogether. It’s obviously not something I’m physically able to do anymore and it’s time to accept it, at least for now. My friend and I are back on good terms and all that’s left is for me to inform the group. Not looking forward to it, but it has to be done.
So there you have it: I’ve been a lousy friend. Bet you didn’t know I was such a crumb. But I’m making things right and working on being a better person all around.
I’m in a really bad space right now. I can’t think of a single thing I like about myself.
I know that I’m intelligent, but I don’t really care.
I know that others think I’m pretty, but I don’t.
I hate my body and am wearing baggy clothes to cover it. Not that I think that I’m overweight. I just don’t like it right now. An older gentleman (someone I’ve known for years) at my meeting yesterday evening commented to me afterward that he hadn’t been able to give me my usual hug because of the way my clothes fit; it created a reaction in him… He mentioned that the jeans I wore to my AA anniversary in February were tight, too. I don’t recall this, but am now extremely self-conscious. I’ve put on about 5-7 lbs. in the past year so the clothes are a little snugger, but I’m not going to buy a whole new wardrobe over it. Those lbs. are temporary as I get through this stressful time. But ever since he mentioned it yesterday, I just want to hide in tent-like clothing. In fact, I am. My clothes today are over-sized and baggy, hanging on me. Poor Randy made the mistake of calling me “Sexy” last night, for which I almost bit his head off. He compounded the mistake by insisting that I am. Great. I’m glad he sees me that way, I really am. But I didn’t want to be seen that way just then. Or now, for that matter.
I’m under so much pressure at the moment and all I want to do is curl up in a fetal position with my back to a corner, and cry.
The pendulum has swung from manic to depressed at such an opportune time, eh?
Yeah, I’ll get through this. I always do. I just needed to put this out there.
This made me laugh:
“From the time of my birth ’til I ride in a hearse, there’s nothing can happen that couldn’t be worse.”
While this really made me think:
“I remember the day I realized that I’m not trustworthy. I lived with the myth that since I ought to be trustworthy, that must mean that I am trustworthy.”
Although I took this photo while working on my powerpoint project for geography, it did not appear in the final product; I took this one just for myself. If you’d like to see the project that I turned in, I’ve made that available to you under the “My Town” tab above. I converted it from powerpoint to .jpg images so that everyone could see them.
Just a few thoughts I’ve had lately:
~In order to become a vegetarian, it really helps to like vegetables.
~Cruise control on lawn mowers? Really? Must be a guy thing.
~You may think that you live in a tiny town with nothing in it, but go out with a camera and the mission to capture its businesses, restaurants, architecture, cemeteries, religions, signs, schools, monuments, etc. You’ll find yourself wishing that your town was a little smaller.
~You should turn my scholastic efforts into a drinking game. Every time I speak or write “school” or “study”… drink! Just don’t drive after reading my blog.¹
~I don’t want to go to the dentist tomorrow. Which isn’t an observation so much as a fact.
~ At 38, I am old enough to be a grandmother. Yet another reason I’m glad I never had kids.
~Though they may disagree with me, I have way too many pictures of my cats.
¹To my AA friends: yes I shared this thought elsewhere
You’ll be happy to know that fears for the condition of my prostate were unfounded after all. Now I seem to have a crlkshtiwne – and assorted variations of it- condition. This is acceptable to me.
I’ve discovered that, had I applied to graduate rather than merely to transfer, I would most likely have been the valedictorian of my class. Phew! That’s one bullet dodged: no graduation, no valedictorian, no speech to make!
Also of interest is the fact that MTV is having some sort of casting call here soon. It wasn’t even a blip on my radar until a classmate came up to me a little while ago to ask if I was auditioning. The auditions are for students 18-21, and he thought I would qualify! I think I love that kid.
In unrelated-to-school news (and how rare that is!) my younger sister-in-law will be getting married next month, and the attendant festivities are beginning. I have to attend her bridal shower this weekend, which won’t be so bad. But they’re throwing her a bachelorette party on April 14th, and that’s going to be a pain in the ass. The original plan was to rent a limo and go to some clubs in Hartford. Already right there I’m less than enthusiastic. I’ll be hanging out with a bunch of young women, most of whom are strangers to me, all of whom are at least a decade younger, watching them drink. I truly don’t believe that I’ll be overly tempted to do any drinking myself; I’ve been to plenty of parties, even by myself, with no problems. It’s just not particularly fun for me. In fact, it’s a drag. I was trying to think of a way out of it when she called me the other night with a problem. It seems that they’ve decided that the limo rental is too expensive; they want to drive instead. Would I be willing to be a designated driver of one of the vehicles?
So now I’m stuck.
At the back of my mind I’m thinking “Just how expensive is the limo? I’ll spring for it if I can.” Only I know that I really need to save my money right now. I just don’t want to go, but for no good reason other than that I don’t feel like it. But this night isn’t supposed to be about me, it’s about her. So I’ll plaster a smile on my face and do the sisterly thing and suck it up while sipping on soda. I’ll have my cell phone on me, and it has both camera and video capabilities. Maybe I’ll use them and have something to use as leverage if I need to blackmail her into something in the future.
See? Every cloud has a silver lining.
Sorry about that… I got busy.
I finally sat down, made a list of schools I’m applying to, what I need to get done to complete each application and its supplementary materials, and am in the process of doing them. I have two that are due on March 15. I still have to finish filling out the applications themselves (mostly done, but some essays and blank fields to fill out yet). The other colleges aren’t due until April. Next up I need to get those financial aid and scholarship applications taken care of. Immediately. Deadlines are almost up.
I took that test last Monday (got a 90), and took another on Tuesday. I’ll get the grade today, but from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, it doesn’t sound promising. He’s unhappy with how the class did overall. Great. On a more positive note, the same professor wrote me a glowing recommendation. It brought me up for the rest of the day. I know I’m a good student, but I’ve been really stressed and hard on myself lately; I needed the validation. I feel so much better now!
In other, perhaps more important news, I celebrated 12 years of sobriety on Sunday! Cool, eh? Hah! It’s more important, yet I give it less space. Here. It takes up more room in my mind and in my heart, though, rest assured.
What else? I just broke a tooth. Biting into a nice soft slice of pizza. It’s not painful, exactly, but it does ache a bit. Hello dentist, here I come. (funny note: I actually typed “Hell dentist” at first, forgetting the “o” until I reread this entry. Make of that what you will.)
Yikes! Just saw the time… I’ll be late for class!
I’ll be visiting you soon, I promise.
Having to wear the wrist brace; it’s been hurting for a couple of days now. I think it’s the weather. The cold, damp, snowy days aggravate it. It hurts to type. But, as Wesley once said in The Princess Bride: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something.”
Well that sounded glum. But it’s a Princess Bride quote, so shouldn’t be taken seriously. Love that movie! My sister-in-law is getting married in April, and really isn’t into the whole traditional thing. She’s doing it, but grumbling. I told her she should get the priest to perform the ceremony like the one in the movie: “Mawage. That most bwessed awangement. That dweam wivin a dweam… and wuv, twue wuv…”
I think she actually considered it.
(here I apologize in advance to my redneck readers. I love you all…)
If it were up to her- and she admits this- she would have a redneck wedding like those on the CMT channel. Thank God her fiancé has something to say about it! He’s a redneck too, but for some reason wants a traditional wedding.
Bet you didn’t know we have rednecks in Connecticut.
One concession to her preferences though is that wedding favors to guests include bride and groom beer koozies. I’d link to them, but can’t find the ones she showed me. Basically one looks like the beer bottle is wearing a tux, while the other wears a wedding gown.
Hurray. Just what I need, eh?
If I have to attend this wedding (and of course I do, and even want to), then I’d much prefer a Princess Bride theme to a Redneck one.
Although either one would be amusing.