Getting Back on Track

My original goal for this blog was to keep myself focused on how I was going to change the course of my life after giving up the alcohol (thus the name changing course now).  I’m determined to do better.  I write this for myself, so that I can go back and re-read, evaluate, and move forward.  If anyone else wants to tag along – that’s great too.  

I have time on my hands now.  Time I used to use to think about wine, buy wine, open wine, drink wine, hide wine, drink more wine, and then recover from drinking wine.  I have a lot of time on my hands now 🙂

I have a list of things I want to do to fill that time.  I’m tired of the term “bucket list” and am looking for a new descriptive word, but in the meantime – here is my list:

  • Learn to cook – well
  • Read impressive books – not frilly novels
  • Run – and like it
  • Paint (I wrote earlier about bringing out my supplies – they are still sitting there)
  • Play my beautiful piano regularly – learning challenging pieces
  • Search for a new job that will take me away from the computer and enable me to be with people!
  • Develop my relationship with my daughters and grandchildren.  They don’t even know I am forging this new life – alcohol free.  I need to share more with them.

That’s probably enough for now.  I’m going to keep checking back to see if I can check any of these off the list.  

Give Freely

In today’s daily reflection I read, “Before entering this program of Alcoholics Anonymous I was never able to give without demanding something in return.  Little did I know that, once I began to give freely of myself, I would begin to receive, without ever expecting or demanding anything at all.”  Now, I know I’ve learned that over and over throughout my life, but this morning I stopped to really think about it.

I never thought of myself as selfish.  But I’m not a big giver either.  Lately, I’ve been wallowing in some self-pity.  My two beautiful daughters are grown and living adult lives in other states, hours away from me.   They don’t call me on any regular basis (I don’t call them regularly either), but they are a text or facebook post away at any given time.

I turned 60 years old while we were in Italy.  It was my very favorite birthday.  Not because I was in Italy, but because I turned 60 and I still feel 30.  I love being 60.  I think of it as my half-way point.  I hope to live to be 100.   Okay, I know the math, but I feel like the first 20 years of my life were just “learning years.”  Learning to breathe, walk, talk, color inside the lines, stand in line, follow directions, balance a checkbook, drive, be responsible, etc.  So I figure my adult life began at 20.  That was 40 years ago and I have another 40 to go – so I’m at the half-way point.

Anyway – back to my selfish story.  It was a big birthday for me.  I got a couple “happy birthday” facebook posts while I was away…and that is always nice.  But I returned home to a stack of mail and not a single birthday card.  No card from my daughters, my grandchildren, my out-of-town friends.  I guess they all figured that FB was enough.  The only card I got was from my mother-in-law about a week before we left for our trip.  It was one of those flowery cards that she gets in bulk and keeps in her desk to send each year.  (That was mean – sorry).

I kept thinking – gee, I was a good mom.  I stayed home to raise them, took them to the park, played games, made homemade ice cream with them, blah, blah, blah.  Why didn’t they gush all over my favorite birthday?

So, maybe I’m not giving freely of myself.  Maybe I give just enough to expect something in return.  I started to read tomorrow’s reflection and it continues the lessons of relying on other people’s attention for my happiness.  I must learn to give freely.  I’ve got some work to do.

Hugs!

Sharing

I went to my weekly meeting last night.  The first since returning from Italy.  I sat thinking I wanted to share something.  I haven’t spoken at an AA meeting yet, and wanted to share how well I did, staying sober in Italy.  I thought it all through in my head, how I avoided the free wine offered on the plane over, the bottles and bottles passed in front of me at the Italian restaurants, passing on the drinks at the pool each evening.  And of course, don’t forget the business class treatment on the flight home!  I wanted to tell everyone how excited I was to find a package waiting for me at home with my “fuck you wolfie” bracelet from Belle.  I wanted to tell all of them what it meant and let them know how well I was doing on day 69.  Yes, I had so much to share.

The theme didn’t really match up with my story, but I figured I could work it in there somehow.  The meeting did not flow as it normally does.  Usually, the room sits silent until someone decides to speak (that is when I planned to speak up).  Instead, the first speaker called on a friend, who called on another friend, who called on another, etc. etc.  Till the end when the last speaker said “anyone else want to share?”

I couldn’t do it.  I could not speak about my success over the past two weeks.  I had just heard the most depressing stories.  Heads were hanging low as they told how they still struggle each day, taking the bus to rehab, no insurance, single parents with alcoholic abusive ex’s, funerals, illness…..I couldn’t do it.  Couldn’t talk about passing on wine offered to me in Business Class!

Perhaps the meeting changed last night for a reason.  Perhaps I just needed to be a listener last night.  I need to reflect.

Hugs…

Sober in Italy

Ciao!  I’ve returned from an amazing, two-week trip to Italy with my husband and six extremely close traveling companions (we are all brothers and sisters-in-law).  We walked the streets of Rome, Foligno, Florence and more.  I enjoyed the tastes, the sounds, the views – all while totally sober!  Those I left behind in the US were concerned about my ability to abstain, but I knew I would be fine.  I intentionally ended my relationship with alcohol two months before this long-awaited trip because I wanted to experience it totally sober.  Eight of us travelled together and six of the group enjoyed many, many bottles of wine.  Only one other was a non-drinker (and he never drank).  I just filled my glass with sparkling Pellegrino and clinked my toasts along with everyone else.

It was interesting that no one asked any questions of me.  These are all people that I have shared many glasses of wine with.  They must have wondered – but they didn’t ask.  My husband told me that his sister did mention something to him and he just said it was a personal choice I made.  Toward the end of the trip when she and I began to chat about all the wine that was consumed, she mentioned that she noticed I wasn’t drinking.  I then blurted it all out.  I just needed to share.  She was visibly surprised to learn I was not only abstaining from alcohol, but had admitted my alcoholism and was attending AA.  Probably too much sharing, but it felt good.  I couldn’t help but wonder who else on the trip might be helped by a few AA meetings.

I can honestly say it was one of the best vacations I can remember.  Not only because of the destination, but because my entire being was there in the midst of the history, charm and beauty of the amazing country of Italy.

Ciao!