Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Being grateful

Today I went to try on dresses for my daughters upcoming wedding. Upcoming as in September. Nuttin'! I think the worst part is that I weigh  20 pounds more than I used to and it is very uncomfortable trying on clothes that are a size 12. I know, I know....whine, whine, whine. Nobody but me has been putting the junk food into my mouth, so I only have myself to blame. My husband tells me that I am too hard on myself and that the weight gain is more pronounced inside my head than what he notices on my body (may the good Lord bless him for that comment). But I see it and I feel it and I know it's there and I want it gone. Menopausal weight gain and quitting smoking don't go together in the least. Yesterday I craved a smoke soooo badly! Man! The urge was soooo strong, even tho it has been 17 months since I quit. And I heard the voice of Satan in my head tell me that just 1 cigarettee wouldn't hurt me and that HEY!!, maybe if I started smoking again, maybe I could loose these 20 pounds. HA! Glad that I didn't fall for that lie. I just wish that there was more that I could do to drop a few pounds. I walk 2 miles a day and my knees are really feeling it, even with the good walking shoes I bought. I read somewhere that the only thing that takes off weight gain from menopause is cardio exercises and I don't think my knees would be able to support the stress of running and jumping around. More excuses? I don't believe so, but I can tell ya that I need Advil to get through the day with my achy knees and finger joints. So, on the side positive  I am grateful for Advil for my achy joints, grateful that I did NOT cave in to the urge for a cigarette yesterday, grateful for all the crap that I shovel into my pie hole on a daily basis, grateful for my 2 year old grandson who lets me push him in his stroller as I walk my miles everyday, grateful for walking shoes, my husband, my IPOD, earbuds and worship music, the glorious sunshine for walking in, for a good nights sleep last night, for waking up today and I am grateful for the opportunity to do it all over again tomorrow. Learning my lessons and feeling my blessings! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

A study in contrasts

How is it that I can have nothing to say and yet the "voices" inside my head never seem to shut the hell up?!?  Now, mind you....these are not really audible voices. I am not hearing voices per se, but I can and do keep up a constant chatter with myself inside my own head. And let's just say that I am never, ever lonely for the sound of my own voice. That is one of my biggest faults...not knowing when to be quiet. Wait...that's not true. I do know when to be quiet and how to keep quiet. What I had a problem doing was defending myself. I didn't know how to do that correctly in the past. All I knew how to do was clam up and silently fume. Living with an alcoholic rendered me mute. I lost my "voice" and the ability to defend myself. His words to me, when he was angry and drinking were like shards of glass being thrown at me. And when he was done telling me what an awful person I was, he would pass out and I was left sitting there, bleeding to death from a thousand small cuts, a thousand small cuts to my very soul, cuts invisible to the naked eye, but all too real to me.  And I would remember his ugly, ugly words for weeks and I would remember how they made me feel. And yet, I can distinctly remember letting my mouth run even though I new he had been drinking and I knew arguing with him was futile and would end up with me being verbally abused.  So when I shared last Tuesday night that living with alcoholism had rendered me mute...was that the truth? Because I don't really remember being mute, but I can distinctly remember not being able to utter a word in my own defense. I can also remember the sound of my own voice arguing with him over his alcohol consumption. So what do I do with this contradiction?? What is the truth? Was I mute? Or wasn't I? How is it possible that both answers can be true? Because that is the conclusion that I have come to. Both answers are right and both answers are true. I did learn to not open my mouth to defend myself cuz it only made matters worse for me and I did yell at him for drinking too much when he drank too much. Just goes to show you how this disease can make two sick people react and respond to each other in horrible ways. I am glad that Alanon showed me a way to a better existence whether he was drinking or not, and whether he was sober or not. (I will say that things are a lot quieter around here since he became sober. Not recovered, mind you, but him being sober is better than what he used to be. And me being in Alanon makes me better than I used to be too.) Now if I could only get these voices in my head to mute themselves. One day at a time Lolly. See the lessons and the blessings for what they are. One day at a time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

An ass out of you and me

I've often heard the saying that to assume something means to make an ASS out of U and ME. That was the two of us this past Sunday, my husband and myself. Our day started out glorious. We were on a motorcycle ride with my sister Darlene and her husband Raul, and my cousin Michelle and her husband Peter. Just out for a day of riding to Wisconsin to see the sights and the scenery. I absolutely adore Wisconsin. Must be the Midwesterner in me. I love the rolling hills and the lush green countryside. It is our usual destination when we take the Harleys out. (There ain't nothing much to  look at here in Northern Illinois.) Anyway....
Darlene has the map and knows which way we need to go. She is the "Cruise Directer" as she like to call herself. We were in a rural area (dairy country remember. Lots of farms) and the radio station started getting all fuzzy and static-y. As Raul started fiddling with his radio station dial, Darlene said to him..." Our turn is coming up here.....You need to turn left here....here....HERE!!! LEFT HERE!!  And poof....we drove right past them because my own Harley "pilot" was also adjusting the dial to the static filled radio station and wasn't paying attention until too late. We had no choice but to swerve around them, in order to avoid crashing into them and we kept on driving down the road a little way. As soon as we spotted a place to turn around, I said to my spouse "We need to get you a copy of the map."  And he assumed that I meant that he was at fault for not turning or for not knowing where to turn. What I meant by saying that he needed a copy of the map was that I felt bad for him that Darlene had a map and he didn't know where we were going. I felt badly that he was dependent on Darlene for giving him directions on when the turns were coming up. So he gets mad and tells me that it isn't his fault and if I think that I can do a better job of driving the Harley then I should take over the driving. He said that the radio was distracting him and that it needed to be kept off, so I said "Fine...shut it off and nobody is at fault for anything here... you missed a turn..no big deal" and he still wouldn't let it go. Bitched and harped about missing that turn and whose fault it was or wasn't ad nauseum for the next 10 miles. When we finally stopped at a restaurant for lunch, he was spoiling for an argument. In the past, I wouldn't have obliged. I would have kept my mouth shut and fumed all day but instead I addressed his loud, angry, argumentative tone by stating rather loudly myself "You want to fight about this right here in front of the whole town of Pleasantville Wisconsin ? Cuz I'm fine with that if you are! LOOK!!! You missed a turn and it wasn't your fault. There is no one to blame and NO ONE is at fault. Shit happens! Raul got distracted by the static and so did you. Darlene may or may not have given out the left turn indication to late...Whatever! I said you needed a map not to infer it was your fault. I said it cuz you needed a map so you would know where we were going and not get caught up short like that again." I had meant it in a positive way and he just couldn't see past it. He assumed I meant it in a negative way. To fast forward just a smidge...we ended up talking it out right there, with our voices low and calm  and we came to an understanding and our day wasn't ruined the way it would have been in the past. And I can only thank the powers that be at Alanon for teaching me a better way to handle volatile situations.  It works when you work it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My gratitude

My sister and I are doing a Bible study class together. Just the two of us, so it's really personal and intimate. I love being able to say what I think a certain passage means. I like being able to interpret the meaning of a passage and apply how it relates to me and my life. The same can be said of my Alanon meeting too. I like the way you can "take what you need and leave the rest". I like how the program makes you think about certain situations and things in a different way than before. Maybe not different per se, but in a manner that I wasn't accustomed to. I also like how Bible study, Spirituality and Alanon seem to cross over each other, at least in my life they do. Last weeks Bible study was about gratitude. The ABC's of Gratitude. The homework  assignment was finding something to be thankful for that coincided with that letter of the alphabet. My A was Alanon for soooo many reasons; the main being that it saved my life. It truly did. Cannot imagine where I would be today if I hadn't found my way there. Some of our answers matched even though we had not compared our gratitude lists until we had met again for the next Bible study. It was kinda like a WOW moment for the two of us. She didn't have anything for the letter Z but I did. Zipping my lip was what I had written down. Another gift from the program. Nowhere else had I ever heard of or learned the necessity of shutting my mouth. Of learning to just    Shut.    My.    Mouth.
Cannot believe the difference that one little lesson has made in my life. Huge! It's not keeping silent like I used to do to avoid an argument or to even punish my qualifier for pissing me off by getting drunk and passing out. It's not even being silent cuz I had "lost" my voice and was unable to defend myself when he, in his active drinking, had become emotionally abusive to me to the point where I had learned to cower and keep silent so as not to give him anymore ammunition. No, this silence feels healthy. This Zipping my lip is more like a life saver type of thing. And I feel like it has saved my life and probably his life too, if I'm being honest. This Zipping of my lip is of a calm nature, very Zen like. Dare I say reverent and maybe Holy???  I have learned to Let go and let God. It seems an amazingly simple thing to do, yet it was something that took me 29  years to learn how to do. Grateful to the program for teaching me how to unclench my hands, and my jaw and to just let things go; to just let things be AND for my Higher Power, Jesus Christ himself, for making Himself known to me and for letting me know that I am loved, forgiven and redeemable. Amen. Loving these gratitude lessons that show me how blessed I really am!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What's in a name?

I am sad today. Really sad. The neighbor two doors down from us has a pit bull named Spike. The neighbor right next door to us has 2 Chihuahua's named Coco and Nemo. They also have a family member that comes to visit and she brings her own little Chihuahua over to play when she comes to see her family. I don't know her dogs name. We have two Chihuahua's of our own; Chico and Keena. I bet you can already guess where this is going and I wish that I could say that you are wrong, but you aren't. It wasn't Coco or Nemo or Chico or Keena. It was the little 8 month old Teacup Chihuahua who was only here to visit the family.  Somehow it got thru the fence between their properties and Spike did what pitt bulls are known to do. I am not a fan of pitt bulls. You hear so many negative stories in the news nowadays and I have always been worried about my own dogs living only two doors down the street from a "doggie villian". I have heard Spike kill Squirrels in the past and I know he has gotten out of his fence and terrorized the neighborhood and other dogs before. But this wasn't really Spikes fault and I hate having to say that, that it wasn't his fault. But it wasn't and I'm really not looking to place blame. But I am haunted by the last sounds that I heard that small Chihuahua make. It wasn't pretty and I want that sound out of my head. I want the sounds of grief and terror from the Chihuahua's owner and her family members out of my head. I want my own fright and sadness over that poor lil dog to get out of my head. I wish that I knew it's name, cuz that way I could at least say a prayer of comfort for IT, the family and myself. I guess that I don't really need a name, but it would feel better to me if I did. I don't want to think of it as IT. But I also don't want to ask the family what the dog's name was because I am actually afraid it would make me feel sadder somehow.
  I keep remembering how the cute little thing would run around the neighbors yard with its little pointy white ears, flat back on it's tiny little apple shaped head, and run and run and run...as if to say "HEY! Look at me!! Look what I can do!!"  Right now this memory is bittersweet for me and only seems to make me want to cry harder. I wish so much that there was something I could do. There isn't and I know this. Just wish I knew IT's name. Or maybe not. No lessons or blessings for me today. Just grief and sadness for them, for me and for IT. God speed to you my little four legged neighbor friend.
 Enjoy that view from the Rainbow Bridge :(

Friday, June 1, 2012

Went to my Tuesday night meeting. So glad I did. Perfect meeting for me to go to. Of course I knew that would happen. It always does. Somebody shares the right thing or the topic of the night is just the thing that I needed to hear. Funny how it works that way. Another newcomer showed up. She was distraught, exhausted and crying; a real mess. Oh how I remember being there in that ugly, lonely, dark place. At the bottom of your own life...unsure if you should get back up or if you even know how to get back up anymore...or  if you even want to. It's sad to me how another persons raw pain can help remind me how far I've come in the program. Wish it didn't have to be that way....I wish other peoples pain and anguish didn't have to be a marker for my progress. But it is nice knowing that I have the skills now to help myself and it is also nice knowing that in some small way maybe I will be able to help them as well. I love it when the program works for me. I love how I feel when I go and I like how it reminds me all over again why I am there and  that I do need to be there every Tuesday night.  Thanks Ladies for a great meeting!
And Sylvia??? Keep coming back. It gets better. It really does. It works when you work it!