I Am Enough

Posted: September 19, 2015 in Growing, Recovery
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I got my cards read a few weeks ago. I had never done it because I’m skeptical of stuff like that and not really wanting to know what the future holds, One Day At A Time, right? But I already was at this holistic event with a friend who was going to do it and I thought, what the heck!

I sat next to her and the card reader to hear the reading. My friend thought she was very accurate and then it was my turn. The card reader asked me to cut the deck of cards while thinking of the question I wanted some answers to and then she started to place the cards on the table.

She told me that as long as I keep putting other people first, I’m never going to be completely happy. As an alcoholic, I thought I had always put myself first. When I thought about it some more, I realized that I tend to morph myself into the person I think other people need me to be in order to attract them and keep them by my side.

It’s an old fear of mine, “if you only truly knew me, you wouldn’t like me.” So my tendency is to try to “read” what the person or people in front of me need and try to become that. There are a couple of problems with that though.

By transforming myself into what I thought other people needed me to be, I never allowed other people to truly know who I am. Another problem is that even though I was pretty good at “sensing” what other people needed, I was never one hundred percent accurate.

Being raised by addicts, alcoholics, and people with mental illnesses will make you believe that you have to be everything to everybody. It will also make you try to control every little thing so that you can control the outcome but it doesn’t really work; and when it does, you end up exhausted.

Recovery has allowed me to be my authentic self. It reminds me that I am powerless over pretty much everything except most times my response to a situation. I have learned that I am not responsible for other people’s behaviors and that I don’t have to “fix” or “rescue” people. I have enough working on myself.

Today, I am enough. I am loved. I am loving. I am lovable. Just as I am.

Good Bye

Posted: July 19, 2015 in Grief, Recovery
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A friend of mine will be removed from life support today. His family has decided that after 19 days he has had enough. I think that’s what he would want too, he expressed as much in some of the conversations we’ve had in the past.

My friend has been on a medically induced coma since the beginning of this month. I took him to the emergency room on a Tuesday when he missed his CT scan appointment. He had been diagnosed with lymphoma the previous Friday. I was trying to help him as much as I could until that day when I found a meth pipe in his room.

I wasn’t even looking, I was retrieving some dishes that he had not been able to take to the kitchen and there it was, the proof that he had been on active addiction. I had suspected for a while that he was using but I didn’t have proof.

So I told him that he could either go to the emergency room or to treatment but that I could not allow him to remain under those conditions anymore. He chose to go the ER and got admitted immediately where he got diagnosed with pneumonia.

I didn’t have much hope that he was going to make it out of the hospital because he had to overcome the pneumonia and then get treatment for lymphoma. All of this makes me sad. This was all preventable but he neglected his health. He thought that if he ignored what was making him ill, it would go away but it rarely does.

He was a proud person, unable to ask for help. He wanted people to come to his rescue. I told him many times that I used to be like him, wanting people to read my mind and anticipate my every need. I learned in recovery that if I want to stay sober, I can save my face or my ass but not both at the same time.

That has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. I must allow people to be of service and not rob them of that blessing. That’s how I must I think of it so that it’s easier for me to ask for help.

Today I get to go to the hospital to pay my respects to his family and say good bye to him. There by the grace of God go I…


Posted: July 4, 2015 in freedom, Grace
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Yesterday, I met with a friend who was in treatment with me. He’s had a couple of major surgeries and his health is improving but has a hard time walking around. We drove to see another friend. She was working but she took a smoking break and came out to talk to us.

That was what we used to do. They’d get up at the crack of dawn to drink coffee, read the newspaper, and chat. Me? I would sit with them for a little while and then go wake people up to practice yoga. I had a wonderful time talking about life and our mutual friends.

Later that day, I visited the treatment facility where I was about six years ago. I saw a few familiar faces at the open meeting they have there. I introduced myself to a few people, and made new friends.

I saw my old self in the dressed up patient trying to look good for the visitors, putting on a brave face while in the meantime being scared and not even knowing it. This is the place where I learned to start speaking from the heart instead of trying to impress people with my brain. This is where I began to stop thinking that I had to be everything to everybody and that I am only responsible for my behavior. I learned to take responsibility for my actions and stop playing the victim role. And I can still do that most days.

Out of the 40 plus people that were there at the same time, I know one who has stayed sober the whole time and that’s not me. I relapsed five months after leaving treatment and got back into the rooms in March 2010. Four more are sober now but it’s hard to know where the rest of them are.

I try to come to this place once a year to remember how it was and where it can go if I stop working my program of recovery. I shared in a meeting last night that I made the decision six years ago to remain a beginner so that I would never feel like I know it all again. Knowing all was a heavy burden I carried for many years but I have remained free of that burden for over five years. I don’t have to play God anymore and for that, I am grateful.

Prayer Works

Posted: June 27, 2015 in Grief, Hope
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I came home to find a couple of friends waiting for me in their car. I parked and we went in to my place. One of them told me that the other one had been diagnosed with lymphoma. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of days and I was aghast to see how much he had aged and how much weight he had lost.

My friend with cancer could not talk. He stuttered trying to tell me how he was feeling but he was in so much shock that he could barely write his thoughts on a piece of paper.

After much struggling he said he needed to lie down for a little while. In the meantime, my other friend and I went outside so that we could talk about what the doctor had told them. It was not good. We won’t know if chemo is even an option until Wednesday when they can see the rest of the tests.

My friend doesn’t know if he wants to fight the cancer with chemo. The only reason he gave me for doing so was that, “mother would die if one of her children died before her!” My friend’s mother cannot take care of him because she’s got Parkinson’s. He told his sister about having cancer and she told him that she’d come visit him next weekend.

This all happened yesterday. My friend did not even want go to the doctor. My other friend had to force him to go. In my head, I started to blame him for not going to the doctor sooner since we have been telling him for months that he needed to go.

Instead, I just listened to him talk about his fears. I listened to him talk about how maybe after a couple of months of chemo he can start working again. I’m not a doctor but I have seen the effects of chemo on my stepfather and I know that it doesn’t always work. And when it does, it takes a long time to recover.

I hope he gets better. I hope that things work out. Once again, I am powerless. The only thing I have control over is how I react to the situation. My hope is that I remain a good friend and can be there for him.

Father’s Day

Posted: June 21, 2015 in Forgiveness, Recovery
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I hate Father’s day because I feel like I have to call my father and wish him a happy Father’s day. And in my mind, doing this would somehow imply that he was a good father to me. And he wasn’t.

My parents divorced when I was three years old but lived together until my mother remarried. I was eight by then. My mom left their home and I went to live with my maternal grandmother for a while.

I don’t remember him ever making an effort to see me. I would visit him every Sunday to get some money. There were many times that he would not be home. There were many times when I knew he was home, passed out drunk, and not open the door.

He promised me he would help me financially until I graduated from college but he didn’t. In fact, he hid the acceptance letter  that was sen to me from my number one school choice. I found the letter when I was helping him clean his place.

I was perplexed. I could not understand why he would do such a thing. He told me he was afraid I would reject him as my father if I went to that school. This made sense to me but it did not help me feel less betrayed.

I lost touched with him when he moved away. On a rare occasion when I visited him, one of his friends told me that I was a terrible son because I would not call him more often. I told his friend, “You know, phones work both ways.” My father only managed to tell his friend, “Stop. It’s okay.”

Many years have passed since then and I’m still the one who has to go see him or call him but thanks to my program of recovery I can see that he is doing the best he can with what he has. The only memory I have of his father is seeing him passed out drunk on the street. My father lost his mother when he was very young. I cannot imagine what his childhood was like.

So ended up calling him. I wished him a happy Father’s day. We chatted for a bit and then hanged up. And I feel better for it.


Posted: June 13, 2015 in Honesty, Sobriety
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Relationships continue to be a struggle for me. I am well liked by my co-workers, management loves me, and the people I work with seem to think I’m good at what I do. Professional life? Check.

I have a good relationship with my sister. We stay connected and I help her with my nephew who is a source of unconditional love for me. He recently called me on my birthday and sang Happy Birthday to me. Nobody had ever done that for me before. I felt so loved. Family life? Check.

Friendships continue to elude me. I know so many people and I get along with them well but I don’t receive invitations to hang out with them. And I know they get together because of social media. I see them going to the movies or having a pool party. Check? Not so much.

Let’s not even talk about dating. I see people with less sobriety than me getting in relationships so why can’t I have that? I say that like sobriety is supposed to provide satisfaction in all areas of my life.

Sometimes I feel like I should settle for somebody who is good looking but has not depth but I know I’d get bored so quickly. Sometimes I think I should settle for somebody who has spiritual and intellectual depth but I’m not attracted to but then I remember I’m too shallow for that.

Why is it so hard to find somebody who is caring, spiritual, good looking, a thinker, and who is madly attracted to me? I don’t know. What I know is that having a significant other is not a requirement to stay sober.

Life is good. I have everything I need. I have a Higher Power that provides everything I need provided I stay close to him. I don’t need a significant other but it would be nice.

Whole and Complete

Posted: June 6, 2015 in Acceptance, Love
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I asked an acquaintance to go out to the movies with me and he said, “Should we ask anyone else in the group if they wanna see the movie?” I replied, “What group? I have no friends!”

I do know many people but the longer I’ve stayed sober, the more I’ve seen people go out and I guess I have not invested the time and effort that takes to make new friendships.

A friend, in my opinion, is somebody who calls, hangs out, and checks on me on a regular basis. I am somebody who is caring and thoughtful so I’ve learned that not everybody is like that and not to be disappointed in people don’t behave like I do but it’s sure hard.

I have couple of coworkers well, one, who I really trust and admire but she is in a relationship and we live so far from each other that socializing outside of work is near damn impossible.

And to bring it back to me, I’m an introvert. I enjoy having people around but after I while I need some solitude to recharge and avoid feeling resentful. I am jealous of those people who can go to a meeting and socialize afterwards for hours and hours. Me? I go to a meeting, I join them to have a bite to eat, and then I’m ready to go home.

So that’s on the friendship level, now asking somebody on a date, no, finding somebody to ask out on a date requires an act of God. I do long for that special someone who understands me and accepts me just as I am but I practice being grateful for what I have instead of focusing on what I don’t.

I remind myself that I can still be happy regardless of whether I’m in a relationship or not, or whether I have one or many friends. Today, I choose to love and approve of myself just as I am. I am complete “as is.”