Puzzle

For Christmas one year I was given a Hershey’s Kiss 3D puzzle and another puzzle. The Hershey’s Kiss puzzle was little plastic chocolate colored pieces with pegs and holes… it didn’t have many pieces so I solved it quickly and wondered what possessed my mother to buy me a puzzle.

It occurred to me that it was likely someone providing gifts to needy children. Mom wanted us to have a good Christmas so she signed us up for a charity. That was rather forward thinking of her – she was very self centered.

The other puzzle I can’t remember except it was solved easily too – a chain comes to mind. Soon I was finished with my Christmas presents and wondered what I’d do now for entertainment.

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Damaged Goods

I’ve talked a bit about EMDR therapy and today during therapy I cried… not bawling, just some tears. I can manage to hold back and just let tears fall, if I could stop that I would.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. We focus on the trauma and then either move your eyes or have other stimulation that uses both sides of your brain… I’m not describing it well here. ugh. Continue reading

Random Memories

I cried the first night at the foster home.

I had been picked up by the police the Friday before, spent the weekend in a group home and then the day with a social worker before arriving. No tears during all of that but that night in own room of the new foster home I cried. Maybe it had finally sunk in that everything I had done that led me to this place all caught up to me, there was no where else to go.

I hadn’t ever faced consequences of any kind prior to this – not skipping school, smoking or drinking, stealing and vandalism never brought me any time. Until this time… until the one time myself or a friend had the “clever” idea to take the hinges off the locked door. I still believe that had we only taken the time to put the door back on the hinges I would have never been caught. Interesting that that’s the thought that still comes even after 30 years. Continue reading

Unity.. no thanks, I have plans

I don’t like people. (I frequently say “hate” which might be a strong word)

I’ve said that a million times before and it’s still true. One of my bosses says that too – I tell him he doesn’t because he’s so nice to everyone, but he insists that he does. Probably why I like him so much. I guess you could say I’m something of an introvert – I would rather spend time alone than in a group setting. My “fun” time is at home with a good book, writing or watching some TV. I find it very difficult to have “fun” in a group of people… can’t do it.  Continue reading

Rescued #fosterhome

It’s National Foster Care month and I’m an advocate of people becoming foster parents and even of kids joining the system when the situation warrants it. Not every parent, household or family is a safe place for a kid – but you could make a difference in a kid’s life just by offering stability, food, & shelter.

I write about this a lot – not just during this month but during the regular course of year when I reflect on being saved, rescued from a certain path. The only poem I’ve ever written that mattered to me is here:

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Some Hugs Are Better Than Others

I’m not a hugger… I wonder how many posts have started out that way on my blog? I’ll have to research that some day (anti-hug posts: “My Sponsor Wont Shake My Hand” “Obsess Much?” ). I opted to go to AA over NA because of the hugging that assaulted me at my first NA meeting… it was awful.

Sometimes a hug can be better… special… needed? Continue reading

Christmas 2014

I wasn’t sure how travel would be on Christmas day, many years ago I traveled on Christmas eve and the lines and crowds were overwhelming. But Christmas day was nice – no lines, no crowds and quick check in – I think even my flight had open seats available. I started a book a friend gave me Tattoos on the Heart  – kept me occupied the whole flight.

I rented a car and drove to Galesville from Minneapolis airport – the GPS suggested going a route differently than I normally would and that seemed to be pretty quick, before I knew it I was at my Ma’s. As I was driving down there was no snow on the ground, but the further south I got closer to my Ma’s the more snow piles that were still visible… was backwards.

Was great to see my Ma, Kenny (and Sheila), Rhonda (and Greg) and we had a good day, dinner and watched  12 Years a Slave – good movie. I did some computer stuff down there fixed the wifi password, found a crossword puzzle app Ma wanted.

The day after Christmas was when we celebrated – the nephews and grand nephews were there, was a really good time. Sheila cooked more than anyone could possibly eat. I got noisemaking toys for the boys (that’s what uncles do) and a good time was had by all. It snowed that night – a little over an inch so that pleased people (not me).

Saturday we had breakfast at Garden of Eatin and then I headed off to Black River Falls to spend time with Dawn, Ryan and Amy. Amy’s new place is very pretty and easy enough to find. Was great to see all three of them and spend time. Got to catch up and see what everyone is doing and had a nice meal prepared by Amy (Dawn made the dessert).

Then I drove off to the airport – was dark on my way up and many stupid people were on the road – people driving under 55 on the interstate – wtf people. I arrived at my hotel around 7:00 after dropping off the rental car – there are two places to drop off the rental car and I picked the wrong one and had to go to the second location.

Spent the night at a Fairfield Inn near the airport, was in bed by 9 and woke up at 4 to catch my flight. Travel on Sunday was similar to traveling on Christmas Eve – long lines, stupid people and screaming children.

Glad to be home, glad I got to see the family – now if only they’d all retire and move to warmer places.

David

I found out that my first sponsee, David R, passed away yesterday. David was a real alcoholic, he struggled to find the answer in AA and was the kind of drunk who’d been in treatment centers and involved with the courts countless times. He was, for all intents and purposes, hopeless – that’s the kind of drunk you don’t think is going to make it and then BOOM they get it and their whole life is changed… but that didn’t happen for him. He had brief moments of sobriety when I knew him, and then the crushing fall back into the disease – it was hard to watch for me, probably a lot harder to watch for his family. I feel guilt – maybe I didn’t read him the right part of the book, or show him how good it would be or … I don’t know, a million things, but it’s not about what I did or didn’t do, I tried – I reached out my hand and offered a way out, the same way that was shown to me, that’s all I was bound to do.

David is the guy I wrote about and got published in the A.A. Grapevine – ( Read story here ). I was working over nights at the Fahrman Center, a treatment center/halfway house, when David called and was suicidal. I talked to him for a good long time and eventually had the police get out there to get him – he was taken to the psychiatric unit at the local hospital, but not before he made me promise to come up and see him there and bring my fellow AA’s with me. That morning, likely before the sun came up I called all the guys on my list and a bunch of us went to see him. That phone call and follow up visits by AAs to him opened up an avenue for that hospital and the District to talk to one another, we started a pager program and started to carry the message to drunks up there – it changed things.

But David didn’t stay sober, I don’t remember when he got drunk after that – but I know he was sober for a while and he seemed happy. He kept focusing on getting his family back and how he could get sober if he had them, but I knew from the book that wasn’t the case…

“Let no alcoholic say he cannot recover unless he has his family back. This just isn’t so. In some cases the wife will never come back for one reason or another. Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God. We have seen men get well whose families have not returned at all. We have seen others slip when the family came back too soon.” Alcoholics Anonymous, pp 99-100

He wouldn’t, or maybe couldn’t hear that and he got drunk.

The last time I saw David he had called me and was really drunk, he was staying at a little motel down the highway and I went to see him. He looked pretty bad, was still drunk as hell and was hard to understand. He started to talk about bad things that had happened to him as a child- but then he just passed out.

I’d get reports once in a while from friends who work in the Drug and Alcohol treatment field once in a while – and I always hoped he’d show up one day at a meeting I’d get to when I was visiting, but it didn’t happen.

I’ve cried a bunch of times today – a few times for happy reasons before I heard this news – but mostly for David. I so want to grab a slipping newcomer and just slap him silly

“Don’t you see, can’t you see this will happen to you to”

“just do what we’ve asked, and you’ll see, it’ll all get better”

but I know that won’t work… I used to hear in meetings “You can’t see until you can see and you can’t hear until you can hear” and it’s sadly so true. For some there’s nothing I can do to help them until they’re ready – and some sadly will never be ready.

I was at my current sponsor Flo’s house when I heard about David today, I was helping him prepare a memorial for his first sponsor who passed a few weeks ago. And it was just the right place to be at the right time – I find it hard to cry in front of people, even my sponsor, and he left the room. Here we were, preparing to honor the man who had reach him only to hear about the loss of a man I couldn’t reach. That’s AA for you, I was where I was supposed to be today.

The old-timers and the book say that even though David didn’t stay sober, I did and that’s a good thing – that doesn’t make me feel better at all. I want it all, I want David to be next to me at a meeting grinning at newcomers who can’t pronounce anonymity and shaking hands at the door. I want them all to get it and to have a better life and to see how a few simple rules can change the world.

I believe in Alcoholics Anonymous, because it worked for me when I worked for it – I didn’t get it when I just stayed on the outskirts and watched others participate. When David was participating and shaking hands he seemed happier than I’d seen him before – I saw change in him. But our book says others are likely to see the change in newcomers before they see it in themselves, that may have been the case with David, I’m not sure.

There is a solution, I’ve found it, it was shown to me by sponsors who had it shown to them by sponsors who had it shown to them by sponsors… it’s been working for over 75 years now. We have a lot of people to try to reach out to, I want to be the helping hand to show them the way out, I want to see them help others and watch a marvelous fellowship grow up about them. I wanted that for David, I want that for all my sponsees – the fellowship I have around me is so vast now, reach across continents, internets and handshakes – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Rest in Peace David

DC Bound

This morning I’m boarding a flight for Washington DC. I’m very excited to see a lot of people and one cat:

Mouse

Danny (I had to put him first he has issues 🙂 )

Suzanne

Gary

Jim

Ana

Ian

Cynthia

Matthew

Jason

Laura

Steve

Steve

Steve

Al

Mano

and at the same time I am dreading going back – Washington DC has become like a trip to Wisconsin for me – rush rush rush rush rush rush… everyone wants to see me and I can’t see everyone – popularity breeds contempt… right?

I’m also picking up my portrait that my friend Ron painted of me, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet.

The most important part is I’ll get to eat my salad again!

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An Escape

In 1982 my mother decided to run from her troubles and move to Florida. This run she took us kids with her, which I thought was very considerate of her, in later years she couldn’t be bothered with kids tagging along.

I think this was our house on Elm Street

I think this was our house on Elm Street

We were living on Elm Street in Whitehall WI at the time, I was 11 or 12. Mom was buying through a HUD loan and it was nice – the bedrooms were downstairs for us kids and I think we had bunk beds. There was a huge back yard and we had family friends that lived on the same block almost.  Not to far away was the railroad tracks and the golf course – lots of things for a kid with an imagination to enjoy. We’d lived on this street before in a little red house where I broke my two front teeth and threw Kilo, the dog, down the stairs… long story. Aunt Gerry and her daughter Angie were living with us too, Gerry’s boys had opted to live with their dad. This was a house that has a lot of odd memories for me, I can recall us kids doing a performance for our parents (just like the Brady’s) a few times.

I can recall someone calling the house and asking if Mother was home and me telling them she went to the AAA Meeting – I had one to many A’s and Mom was very upset about me telling someone even though I named it incorrectly. So this was one of Mom’s attempts at getting sober, but all she really did in AA was date men, go to potlucks dances and complain about her life.

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