Tuesday, July 29, 2008


And those who had seen it told how he who had
been possessed with demons was healed.

--Luke 8.36

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday. I am 55. I have been in recovery 25 years of this life. I have been sober and abstinent and facing my fears and dealing with “issues” and working steps and making amends and going to therapy with a more or less clear head for 25 years.

Many days over these years--and many days this week --I can only see what is still broken, how much fear runs me, how many bad decisions I make, how much I am addicted to something. But today, sober, abstinent, loving, taking care of a man I love, taking care of me, speaking up, making wise decisions, taking time to pray, to write and to thank God, I do see that something has happened and is happening in my life. I am sober and in recovery and grateful.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lessons from Drumming

Lessons from Drumming

Years ago I studied African Dance. One of the joys of that kind of dance is that it’s always performed—even in regular classes--with live drumming. The music is not separate from the dance and the drummers are not separate from the dancers. In 1994 I was in a summer dance workshop at Omega Institute. The teacher explained the relationship between dancer and drummer. I wrote these lessons on a card and I found that card this week. It applies now more than ever:

1. Listen for the beat under the beat.
2. Listen for the break; listen for the signs and signals that tell you to change or to stop what you are doing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Joyous and Free

Happy Joyous and Free: We are told this is the promise. We are told this is what recovery brings. And then life happens. It happens in recovery and it happens after many years of good recovery. “This is what we don’t tell the newcomer”, we may say to each other when we are in pain or life is very hard even with many years of sobriety.

But then I heard this at a meeting:

"Joy comes from my relationship with God.
So I can be Joyous even when I am not Happy".

How amazing is that? How wonderful is that?
This is also why we keep going to meetings even after many years. To hear something like that.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Overheard and Stolen Lines

Great things I've heard, borrowed and try to remember:

Recovery is the best revenge.

Don't do anything you're going to have to make amends for.

Don't worry about doing the new stuff; just stop doing the old stuff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Poems for Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman’s Bracelets

At the end of the day
It’s your bracelets I want.
Not your hair
Or silly headband
Not the girdle
Belting your abs of steel.
Not even your courage
But the bracelets?
Yes, the bracelets
that can stop death.

Wonder Woman’s Hair:

I’ve always wondered about
your hair—
Is that your natural color?
Ever tried blonde? Or even
Highlights—something like “Flaxen Mist”
(Clairol #425)
As an admirer I have to say
I could see you
with more light, you know,
just a few highlights to perk you up—
Sort of like the bullets now
Flashing toward your heart.

A Question:

All you have
I’d wish for:
And yes, the boots, the bracelets…
The belt? Well…
(hint to you: narrow belts are in.)
But your friends? That
odd bunch of
Justice League alums—
They’re comical, no depth,
Animated, yes,
But really, sometimes
don’t you just

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Gilda's Club for Alcoholics

I was leaving the Gilda’s Club orientation and I was cranky, annoyed and feeling unfit. I went to get some sense about taking care of the man I love who has cancer. But I left feeling like an unfit caregiver. Kind of like an unfit mother. I’m supposed to be able to do this. But I feel selfish and mean and I did not like the good cancer support people. I further resent that in my not liking of them I will, of course, be categorized by them as grieving. “Oh yes you’re angry but that’s OK anger is a stage of grieving.” I wanted to ask, “Is hurting you also one of the stages of grieving?” It’s the cancer Catch 22..any criticism gets reduced to a symptom. It’s kind of like cancer actually. Someone is a total prick about what they eat or like or feel like and it’s all symptom-otology.

As I was leaving Gilda’s I thought this will not work for me. I want a place where I can let it rip, where I can really be myself, where I can talk about cancer And caregiving but also about my work and my own health and my relationship and sex and All Of It. I want to be able to swear and I want to hear the full mix of other people’s stories and lives too. And then I realized that what I had just wished for was AA. I already had a 20 year membership in the best, most flexible and most comprehensive support group out there. I’m a member of AA and I have a place to go where I can talk about him and me and them and it. I can have all my feelings and I can be a part of other’s stories as well. I have it all. I have it in AA.