Friday, June 26, 2009

Expect the unexpected

I had not one but two disarming tricks played on me by God today. My friend Rich whom you all know as grabbed me before meeting this morning and gave me his 9 month chip. Pretty big for me because I received my 9 months when he started. I pray often for my fraternity bros who I know need what we have. It's a relief for me because I have had a haunting memory wrapped in guilt about a night where I played a part in getting him sent to detox. Now here he is 9 months sober! I wasn't expecting to start crying BEFORE meeting. Thanks a lot Rich! And seriously, thanks a lot.
Next I went into meeting and sat down next to my sponsor and gave him a card because today he was celebrating 20 years. He was chairing the meeting and called on a selected member to start calling off the chip milestones. In our group we do every month up to a year and then each year after that. After he called for anybody celebrating a year my sponsor stopped him and spoke up. I was shocked because something was not going according to plan. My sponsor said he wanted to acknowledge a birthday that our group doesn't normally recognize. He said he had a friend who was celebrating 18 months today. He stood up, hugged me and handed me a coin that has been the hardest one to get yet. I didn't even know it until I held it and sat through the rest of meeting recounting what has occurred in the last 6 months.
As I have blogged recently I have had a cherished friendship of 20 years finish. It was my best friend and brother Dave. He came to my meeting 6 months ago to celebrate and support me as I received my 1 year chip. Now he can barely look at or speak to me. And, he lives across the street. Of all the ideas I had about mending this thing the stupidest was... "Maybe if I go out drinking with him, he would see that this is so important to me I would even sacrifice my sobriety date." Didn't happen don't worry. My pain and anguish over this matter has nearly all left, as I have learned yet again, I'm powerless over other people. Any pain that still occurs for me is a sadness for his pain. I'm not even involved with his turmoil, but I get a front row seat to witness it from across the street.
So, thankfully and gratefully I was able to accept my sponsor's gift of 18 months with an honest, humble and grateful heart. My first sponsor always says, "That's a long time between cocktails" when somebody gets a chip. But, that's a long time between chips when you get used to having one each month. What a long strange trip this has been.

P.S. Now that I have 18 months does that mean I get a vote at group conscience or do I have to wait 18 years?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Need a meeting and can't

Work is very busy these days and I have not been able to get to my morning home group. I did get to a meeting in Estes Park Co when my family kidnapped me away for Father's Day. The weekend was great and meeting new drunks who were seeing the world as I was was cool. Anyhow, because of current work circumstances I still can't go but this is what I needed to say with them today.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
Good Morning. My name is Tony and I'm an alcoholic
I offer myself to Thee-to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!
4. Keep commin back it'll work if you work it!
Then my old friend Jim says, "Cause it probably won't if you don't."

Now off I race to sell the fish.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two sides of the same coin?

I in no way mean any disrespect or injury to codependents of alcoholics and abusive relationships. But I have a big question that is gnawing at me. Can I be a codependent as well as an alcoholic? Is there such thing as a codaholic? My wife is a friend of Lois W. and discusses her recovery experience with me freely. Unfortunately, I'm only one of her many alcoholic relationships in her life. From what I'm told she even brags on me to her home group because I'm the only drunk in her life trying to get better. Here is the kicker... I REALLY relate to what she is going through. Aside from her I don't really have any non alcoholic friends. My family is chuck full of abusive personalities and would be considered dry drunks by anybody in either program. My new adopted family are all recovering alcoholics as well. So do I find a different group from my wife? Does Al anon allow crossovers? Is there a special branch of AA for tweeners? I hear about members of my home group going to the other meetings but I'm honestly afraid I'll get stoned in the parking lot when they find me out. (with rocks not pot) The reason I ask is that the closest alcoholic relationship to me is all but finished and I'm sick about what to do. Any and all suggestions, advice or perspectives would be welcome. Unlike my home group, "crosstalk" is encouraged here.
Trying to,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Long time no talk

Hi I missed you. I was realizing that my cousin Ripgurl was probably about at the 1 year mark and I had to check out her blog calendar to see. Watch her blog and give her a shout if you can. Sadly I must admit that I have been taken away from this forum because of my need for immediate response. I have been sucked into all of the nonsense called Facebook. I like to call it the time vampire. Even though I have several members from my home group in my friends list it is really a poor substitute for this. Banana Girl has been around to point out how much time I spend on FB and not here. Sheepishly I have to admit that I arrive back here on my blog because my heart hurts from a fracturing relationship with my best friend. He moved his family across the street from mine and our excitement about all of the great possibilities have been dashed as our kids and wives have come to an impasse. In the past when shit would hit the fan between us the solution was always a good old male bonding drunk fest, finished with a sobbing game of, "You're My Best Friend Man." Now that's off of the table. I am trying to take the understanding, love and tolerance approach with his family and still maintain my family's necessary boundaries but that is easier said than done. I recognize my current feelings of restless irritable and discontent from my first 90 days of sobriety. One of the things that helped was being introduced to you all here by our friend BG. Another was gratitude lists. So here is one I should have done a while ago.

1. Drawing nearly 18 months of sober breaths.
2. My 1st 12 step opportunity just celebrated her first year!
3. My home group who seem to draw closer to me as my old drinking friendships fade.
4. My old drinking friendships who are now also my sober friendships. Love ya RC,Rubble and Paulie.
5. Being able to apply the AA 12 steps to quit smoking for the last 10 weeks.
6. My vegetable garden that allows me to think of all the metaphors gardening has with sobriety. When Bill W. wrote the 4th step he had to have been pulling weeds.
7. I bought my first bible in 35 years. It is a recovery themed bible with countless devotional messages pertaining to recovery.
8. Being well employed in the midst of this economy when so many are not.
9. Facebook because it has put me in touch with people whom I owe amends and connected me with old friends who are now also friends of Bill W.
10. Spending some of the best family time with all my girls that I can ever remember. That closed door of friendship with my buddy has put me and my family together like never before.
Thanks God