Thursday, November 26, 2009

God and the Woodpecker

November is gratitude month and believe it or not, as of today, I have not sat at one gratitude table.  In Michigan it seemed all we had were gratitude meetings in November!  I hated those meetings.  People said, "I am grateful for my sobriety." I always thought, "Big deal everyone in the room is sober."

I learned the biggest lessons of my life in March of 2009.  First, I need to back up a few months.  I had a beautiful backyard in Michigan with a creek and huge old trees.  In my kitchen was a big sliding glass door and I could sit at my breakfast table and behold nature.  Out in my yard I had a tiny little bird house with a tiny little hole in it.  Every spring these little birds would come and have babies birds and leave at summers end.

In the late fall of 2008 I was watching out my door and along came a red-headed woodpecker.  He started pecking away at the little hole in my little birdhouse.  At first I wanted to shoo him away but I had never seen a woodpecker up close.  So I watched in fascination as he hammered away.  When he left I looked and to my horror the cute little hole was big, ugly and out of shape.  Before I could get up from the table along came these bigger birds.  They made their home there in the birdhouse.  The imperfect house, in my eyes, became a perfect home for those birds!  My gift was a lesson about perfection and God's grace but it doesn't end there.

In March of 2009, the movers came and went and I was wrapping up a bittersweet move from Michigan to Mississippi.  I was cleaning out the last remaining things from the kitchen and I looked out and saw my poor run down birdhouse.  I was wondering if those little birds would live in that house ever again.  All of a sudden a huge storm started.  It got very black and the wind blew very hard.  The river was way above its the banks and the huge trees were water-logged and heavy.

When the storm ended many trees had fallen across my backyard.  Part of my garage roof was torn back and I had minor damage to my house.  My fence had collapsed under the tremendous weight of those huge old trees.  I looked through the limbs and devastation and there, standing proud, was the birdhouse.  What a beautiful gift my HP gave me!  He showed me His grace and His love.  If He cared so much for His birds, I knew I was "worth it".  I also knew everything would be O.K. and for that I am very grateful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gifts From "HP" and My Cousin

Getting gifts from my Higher Power is always great but the one I got this time is beyond my dreams.  I know the gifts were always there but anger and fear blinded from seeing them.  It seems the more I thank "HP", the more I am able to see and the more I receive.  As with everything in my life, that too is cyclical.  And as with everything in my life, more is being revealed to me.

I always thought I had lost my childhood memories.  Years of abuse from my parents and years of self-inflicted abuse left me immobilized by my own self-loathing.  I thought I was worthless, unloved and incapable of loving.  Little by little my program taught me otherwise.  Doing a fourth and fifth step helped me see where I was the problem.  It also allowed me freedom to grow beyond my wildest dreams.  I was able to love and to be loved.  I have been to my dad's grave and forgiven him.  My mother and I talked about "it" before she died.  Mom will always be in my heart as a "best friend".

I know my childhood had to have good no matter how dark because I wasn't completely lost.  I just could not remember any good.  So I prayed on it.  I did a first step on my childhood, so to speak.  And then, as the old song goes, "Along Came Sally".  In birth order Sally is our maternal grandmothers' oldest granddaughter and I am next.  I grew up with Grandma near me in Michigan, Sally lived in California.  Sally's other grandmother lived in Michigan as well.  The Grandmothers were friends and I had a relationship with both of Sally's grandmas.  Sally's mother is the oldest of three sisters and my mom is the youngest.

It started innocently, I found Sally on Facebook and emailed her.  She emailed me back!  I told her I didn't know anything about her sibs and kids.  We emailed that information back and forth and on it goes.  We have shared childhood memories, some I had completely forgot. We have shared information about ourselves and our families.  I cannot wait for new emails and hate when I get busy and cannot respond right away.

When I write her I start writing "my dad did this or that".  Then I stop and think, she doesn't need to know that.  So, I erase and redo.  That process has allowed me to "re-frame" my childhood.  To completely free myself of the darkest thoughts and find the good.  Thank you HP for one of the most precious gifts I have ever received!  They say, "when the student is ready".  I am here to tell you for me that is the truth and her name is Sally!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just Put "IT" on the Blackboard

My home group meets 4 days a week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 12:05 P.M. We call ourselves the Spiritual Progress Group.

The meetings here in Mississippi are different from meetings in Michigan.  There are still smoking meetings everyday and not very many speaker meetings.  (I don't attend the smoking meetings as I am a recovered nicotine addict.)  The big thing is there are only two Big Book Study's.  I went to one and no one showed up.  The other I have been invited to but I have not attended yet.  I cannot find any 12 & 12 study groups.

I miss my Big Book study groups and felt sad that I could not get to the only one in town.  And here is how this program works, just put "it" on the blackboard.  You see, many years ago I had no place to go for Thanksgiving.  I told the Alano Club Manager we should have Thanksgiving Dinner here, at the club.  He said, "Put it on the board".

We had a marvelous Thanksgiving dinner that many attended.  That was 24 years ago and I believe they still have holiday dinners there several times a year.  So, with that in mind, I put my desire for a Big Study "on the board".  Or should I say I brought it up at our home group meeting.  The Spiritual Progress Group now meets five days a week and Wednesday is our Big Book Study!  And for that... I am grateful!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wow still procrastinating, sponsorship and Tradition Three

When I started this blog I told myself I would post something everyday.  My first post was October 24, 2009 and I have only four posts to date.  This post will make five, not quite everyday!  Deep breath, what is the real issue here?  What is it I am really putting off?  OH! I know... Finding a sponsor here in Mississippi.  A real sponsor, with a sponsor and with a telephone!

It is hard because there is something about me that is different from others people!  I know you think everyone feels that way but in my case it is true.  In the "bible belt" I cannot be honest about who I am.  I feel if I cannot be honest it will be hard to find a sponsor.  I am not rolling about in self-pity.  I am speaking the truth.  When it comes to some matters, some people in the program do not follow Tradition Three (The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.).  I thank my HP everyday that everyone doesn't feel that way!  (I might use that in my gratitude journal tonight! One down two to go.)

I am curious, do I need to be 100% honest with my sponsor?  Can I omit the part about who I am at the very core of my being?  One of my friends in Michigan told me if I do not live my truth I am denying others in my position the wisdom of my journey.  Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coat Hangers and Safety Pins

I have had a ton of stuff going on in the last few weeks.  A new doctor, oxygen and new medications.  I think I am doing great for a 61 year old that smoked too much, drank too much and had way way too much fun.  So I am here in Mississippi and I needed a new doctor.  The new doctor wanted new tests and oops, I am not getting enough oxygen. Oh, and one more thing the cholesteral is way too high.

I told her I am opposed to taking medications.  She was fine with that and wrote me a prescription for fish oil for my cholesteral.  She ordered a monitor to check my oxygen levels at night and I was way too low.  She then ordered oxygen at night and a sleep study.  The sleep study requires another new doctor.  Yikes!  Scarey stuff.

And here is how my wondrous life goes, my sponsor Wendy called me.  We chatted about nothing really but I got out of myself.  I have trouble calling because I never can figure out the the first few words when I am, well to be honest, scared.  People don't live without oxygen.  My mom died from lung cancer and on and on the fears swirled.  Wendy helped me find something else to do and she didn't even know it.  I looked for and ordered CD's by Holly Martin and Poor Boy Rice.  It takes me forever to do that kind of stuff.

Oh the title of this blog? I did laundry after the oxygen came the other day.  When I was hanging clothes up there was the coat hanger with the safety pins on it.  It was my mom's.  Mom always wore skirts and always pinned them to a hanger with safety pins.  This treasure was my unexpected inheritance.  After mom died I was given a bunch of her old clothes to take to the Goodwill.  Somehow this lone coat hanger with the pins got left behind in my closet.  It seems just when I need a Mother's touch there is her coat hanger.  The safety pins were no doubt pinned to her blouse like a medal before they were pinned to this old hanger.  I can still see her removing the pins from her blouse and lovingly pinning her skirt to the hanger.  And now that old hanger lovingly embraces me.