Saturday, January 31, 2009

My AA Retreat

I went to an AA women's retreat a couple of weekends ago. It was a huge learning experience for me. I had gone once before...3 years ago when I was all of 1 week sober. Surprisingly, I got more out of it this year.
I arrived Fri night. We studied steps 1, 2,3. I was asked to speak about step 1, and I did. 'We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable'. It's probably my favourite step. I gain power by being powerless.

I had what we call a 'spiritual awakening' while at the retreat. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. It's hard to explain unless you have had one. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. Few people, except for some alcoholics, truly understand the significance of that statement. It was an overwhelming sense that I was 'part of'.

On the Sat. night, a bunch of us played 'Charades'. Believe it not, I had never really played it before. We all wrote down either movies, books, people, etc. and put them into a box. We took turns choosing them. It was so much fun! One of my contributions was 'Dora', it was funny. The funniest one was one woman acting out 'Wizard of Oz'. Instead of clicking her heels together, she decided to make a spin of 'wiz'. Picture grown woman pretending to 'wiz' with her charade male part. We were crying with laughter.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I reinforced my commitment to my AA program, took time to talk to good friends, strengthened friendships, and made new ones.

I can't wait to go again next year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

All in all, it's been a pretty good holiday season.
I'm sober and I've stayed that way. While I haven't had the urge to drink, I did have a couple of 'off' times in the past few days. The girls were gone for just over a week. While it was nice to have the break, I missed them, but didn't miss them too much. They left to be with their father Dec 21 and I picked them up yesterday. I'm Jewish, so the x-mas thing didn't bother me at all. What is difficult for me is this time of the year, not because of the holidays, but because I am approaching 3 years of sobriety (Jan 21). Three years ago, I was alone while the kids were with their father and I hit the bottom of all bottoms. I've come a long way and don't want to make this post into a bad 'remember when'.

Obviously, like many others, I have spent some time thinking about the highs and lows of 2008. I can honestly say that there were far more 'highs' than 'lows'. In the past year I have more than doubled my income, moved to a great 'house' (it's a tri-plex and we have the middle floor, with 3 guys above and below us), got my driver's license back (lost it for 2 years - drinking), earned an awesome promotion at work, watched both daughter's grow into lovely young ladies, become a bit closer to my family, continue to grow on spiritual levels, etc.... In a netshell, that's my 'gratitude list' for 2008.

The 'situation' at work is now great. The one other assistant I was whining about is now pretty good. We had a couple of 'talks' on our last day of work for the year (x-mas eve, until noon). She actually apologized for the way in which she treated me and we discussed things. I told her it was in the past and we need to both let it go and move on. It was a great talk and I'm looking forward to working with her. Now, I can honestly say that I actually LIKE everyone I work with. I don't know a lot of people who can say that.

My daughter's are truly good people with kind hearts. They love me for who I am. While there are problems and life is never perfect, I know that no matter what, we can get through it. I heard a speaker once at an AA meeting who had a great message... 'there's a blessing on the other side of through' - meaning you have to go through things in order to receive the blessing. I'm sure I'm not saying (or writing) it so you will really understand it, but it was amazing and really made me think.

Money is not as abundant as I'd like it to be, but really, few people can say that they have 'enough' money. It bothers me that Scott (the ex) is to pay me $450/month (based on numbers we used, it's a fair amount given the amount he makes). It bothers me that he is a few months behind and can't afford the small amount he has to pay. I know I will receive the money, in Ontario we have the Family Responsibility Office - they 'take care' of support payments. He can't turn around and say that he couldn't pay one month and move on...that amount doesn't go away until he's paid up. All things considered, I have enough money to do things with the kids that we want to do (within reason...we're not hopping on any planes in the near future). Today I took them to see 'Bedtime Stories'. We had fun.

I'm learning to put things into perspective and to keep things simple. I am doing my best to keep the important things at the front of my mind. Is life going to end if I don't send a letter out immediately? Usually, it won't. Is it going to change history if I can't get to my daughter's 5 minute dance recital? It might, for her anyway. THAT is priority. There was one week when I left work early 3 days out of 5. Two for dance (end of the session thing), and once to take them to the dentist. It doesn't always work that I have the priorities straight. Sometimes I need help with them. I've also learned that it's okay to ask for help. That is a huge thing for me, to ask for help.

All-in-all, 2008 was a year that showed me how life CAN be, if I work all aspects of it. Nothing is perfect and along those line, nobody is perfect either. It boggles my mind how happy simple things can make me. It boggles my mind how much my life has improved from attending AA meetings and following some 'suggestions' (AA people will never TELL you what to do, they SUGGEST).

Here's hoping that 2009 is everything that you want it to be. I wish you, your family, and your friends, the very best for a healthy, happy, and safe year!