Thursday, December 31, 2015

Celebrate Responsibly (my yearly reminder)

... do yourself a favor. Tonight is a night when so many will be out celebrating the end of  2015 and the beginning of 2016. Please, make a plan. If you drink, don't drive! If you drive, don't drink! Not complicated. But it does require some thinking ahead. It requires you to think about using an alternate form of transportation such as a taxi, or using a designated driver, or being a designated driver. It might mean that you provide a place for your guests to stay, or that you provide a driver. There are many ways to be responsible.

Now I have nothing against enjoying yourself. I have nothing against those who choose to enjoy alcohol. Personally, I will be celebrating 35 years of sobriety in a few weeks, but that is because I am an alcoholic. I do not begrudge you one sip. But I do want you to think ahead and plan accordingly.

If you drink, please do not drive. I don't care how much you drink, one drink or several. Drinking and driving do not mix.

Lives are changed, destroyed in the blink of an eye. When my husband was killed by a drunk driver not only was my family destroyed but the family of the young woman who killed him was changed forever.

I know, most people think this can't happen to me. The young woman who killed my husband did not think she was impaired when she got on the freeway going the wrong direction and hit him head on at 60 miles per hour.

So, celebrate.Enjoy the party! Have a great time, but have a plan in place. Please.

If you drink do not drive!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Ignite the Flame

The quote for today is...
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.~~Albert Schweitzer~~

 This is why we must all learn that we are valuable, worthy individuals, women of immeasurable beauty. I am reminded of something that happened when I was still working at the grocery store. I had a young woman and her daughter, about 5 years old, come through my line. I was commenting on the fact that I saw kid food, and then I said I see healthy food, I bet Mom is eating healthy things. The little girl said "That's because she's fat." I looked at the little girl and said, "Mom's not fat, Mom is very beautiful, and you look a lot like her." The little girl said "Except I'm not fat." Even though we were very busy, I took a moment to look in the eyes of the mom, and said "You know that when you say things about your body, you are building your daughter's body image. Please know that you are a beautiful young woman, and if you choose to believe otherwise, you are wrong." I could see in the eyes of the Mom that she did not know that,that this beautiful woman who was not overweight, did not know that she was beautiful.I hope that she took in what I was trying to tell her. I hope that somehow she would learn that she has beauty and value so that she won't pass on the wrong message to her daughter. 
We all know people, women especially whose light has gone out. We may indeed be one of those who is in need of rekindling. We may have let someone teach us that we are not beautiful because they did not realize their own beauty.So today, choose your words carefully, speak aloud your beauty and worth. Speak it even if you don't believe it yet. Speak it until you believe it.The next generation of woman is listening and learning from you. When I was the same age as that little girl, I was blessed to have a teacher who taught me the truth, and who chose to kindle the flame in me. I am deeply grateful every day for that. I choose to keep my flame burning so that I may kindle another flame. This is how I honor the one who taught me.
Today I leave you with a traditional Navajo prayer...I open my meditations with this...
As I walk, as I walk 
The universe is walking with me 
In beauty it walks before me 
In beauty it walks behind me 
In beauty it walks below me 
In beauty it walks above me 
Beauty is on every side 
As I walk, I walk with Beauty. 

Peace and Blessings,

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November is CRPS/RSDS Awareness Month

Awareness months seem commonplace these days, and so it can be easy to ignore them. Then of course, something hits home with you in a personal way, and you feel the need to be part of the awareness. As the parent of a young man with autism, I have written about autism awareness. This month, I am writing as a person with RSD.

What is RSD/CRPS you ask? Well, according to the National Organization of Rare Disorders "Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS), also known as complex regional pain syndrome(CRPS), is a rare disorder of the sympathetic nervous system that is characterized by chronic, severe pain. The sympathetic nervous system is that part of the autonomic nervous system that regulates involuntary functions of the body such as increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels, and increasing blood pressure. Excessive or abnormal responses of portions of the sympathetic nervous system are thought to be responsible for the pain associated with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome."

Now, this post is not to seek sympathy, but to increase awareness. So many live with what are sometimes called invisible diseases. It can be difficult for those who love us to come to terms with the fact that we are in pain. My late husband hated my pain more than me. He felt completely helpless, not an easy thing for a loving spouse to feel. The first few years-I experienced my first symptoms in 2001 on our honeymoon-I felt a lot of guilt. Yes, guilt. It isn't easy knowing that family times and plans depend on how Mom is feeling that day.

It took a year before I found the doctors I rely on. Rare disorders are like that. Most doctors have limited knowledge of the disorder and even less knowledge of how to deal with it. I was misdiagnosed by several doctors. Really unfortunate because if diagnosed early there is a chance to stop the progression. I was progressed into phase 3 of 4 before I found the right doctors.Still, I was not finished with unknowing medical professionals. After I found my wonderful neurologist, who not only knew what was wrong with me, but knew how to help me, I had to change my primary care  physician. The one I had been using quite simply looked at the diagnosis from the neurologist and told me there was no such thing as RSD and that I was imagining it.

Now RSD has been in the medical literature for 150 years. The name has changed through the years, in fact the name has changed since I developed it in 2001, but it has been written about since the Civil War. So, you can imagine how disheartening it was for a physician I trusted to look me in the eye and tell me I was imagining the most excruciating pain known to exist. He simply refused to continue treating me if I persisted in seeing my neurologist for treatment of the RSD. For me, this is underscores why  we need to have an RSD/CRPS awareness month.Even doctors need to be educated.

Twenty five years ago when I first started seeking answers for what was different about my son, it became obvious that educating people was going to be part of the equation. I had never met anyone dealing with autism, and so I found myself researching and studying so that I could educate family, friends, even the doctors and educators we were dealing with. Fast forward,and I am find the same need to educate when it comes to RSD. Luckily, we now have more avenues open to research, share information and connect with others doing the same thing. All too often when you are dealing with something you can feel isolated, as if you are the only person in the world who has to go through what you are going through. In this day of social networks and awareness months it is so good to know that there are others out there who understand.

While no two people have exactly the same experiences, it is always helpful to know that you are not alone. This disorder is not easy to live with. There is no cure, and as horrific as enduring the physical pain can be, the psychological and spiritual pain can be even worse. It is not easy being in pain, being treated badly by the medical establishment,misunderstood by friends and family, needing large doses of narcotics just to get through the day. It will wear you out. It isn't even easy to describe the pain you are feeling.OK, imagine that someone has set your nervous system on fire, is applying a cattle prod and attempting to shred the flesh from your bones with a giant meat fork, all at the same time. I told you it was hard to describe the pain that an RSD patient endures. NOW multiply what you imagine that might feel like by about 10,000.You might be getting an idea of the severity of the pain. Honestly, that is the best picture I can give you. Now imagine that the pain that is constant at about a 6-7 out of 10 can be spiked up to about a 12 out of 10 (I am not exaggerating) simply because the fabric of the skirt you are wearing was touched by a puff of wind. The pain colors every moment of your life. Every breath you take. Am I enjoying a sunset on my deck? What if the wind comes up, what if the fabric in this skirt is scratchy, what if I simply breathe deep and the pain flares? You have to think about these things,and learn to deal with them.

Of course, RSD is not the only disease/disorder that involves chronic pain, there are way too many. It just happens to be one of the diseases I have (it is the only one I talk a lot about, I won't bore you with the other 4). There are an estimated 5 million people worldwide suffering from RSD.The reason I talk about RSD is so that other people can be encouraged to talk about what they are dealing with. It is my small way of saying that you can learn to manage your pain, and perhaps even to manage to have a life in spite of it.

You can learn to manage the pain with medication, good doctors, and with the meditation and breathing that you use for so many things.For me Faith is so important in learning to manage something like this.Some days you might be stuck in poor pitiful me mode, but Creator will not leave you there. Most High will whisper to you that your next blog post should talk about the pain. So Spirit will nudge you to share your stories, share about the pain that is so integral to what is going on in your life.Share that I really do believe I have the choice to pray for healing, the choice to deal with the disease should healing not come. Life is all about choice. I choose faith in my Creator to overcome even the most painful disease known to man. What choices do you have today?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

perspective--little things that are big things

You know, sometimes you can get so caught up in the stresses of life that you miss the little things that are a reminder that you are truly blessed. 

Yes, life is difficult sometimes. You get behind and there is just no way to ever get caught back up. Honestly, for many of us, we no longer have hopes or dreams of getting ahead, it's breaking even that stays just out of our reach, and wears you down. BUT, even in the midst of that, it seems there is always something that will bring you back to the reality that life is a good thing.

I admit I have been struggling with depression again. It's just hard to be behind all of the time, and every now and then I give in to wallowing. 

But the good thing is I know I have good friends,and I hope I have value to the world. 

So, you go along wallowing and then the littlest thing can make you snap to.

My son is autistic. He has never said the words I Love You to me. But, he does things that let me know. At my  infant sons christening I asked Most High to help me make sure that my son would experience the magic of childhood. The answer was the gift of autism. The most amazing blend of special needs, genius, and faith that is my son. My son believes that God will always provide, and that whenever we meet a challenge, Mom can find the answer. My son trusts me to help him learn to navigate a world he has trouble understanding.

But, even knowing all of that, sometimes I just wish he could tell me he loves me. AND THEN, he does.

Well, he doesn't use words. He does things like bake cookies, or carry all of the groceries in from the car, or opens a tight jar lid. Or the one I noticed recently is the TV.

 I only watch one show that he doesn't watch, and I admit, I always have to ask him what channel somethings on if I am the one with their remote in my hand. But, the last couple of weeks, as I get ready to watch TV on Monday night (yes, I admit to loving dancing With the Stars) I have noticed that no matter what channel we were watching earlier in the day the TV is already on the correct channel for my show. It is such a tiny little thing, but it shows me my son cares. He loves me. 

Well, either that or he doesn't want to hear me ask "What channel number is ABC."I am choosing to believe he loves me. It's the perspective I embrace today.

Peace and Blessings,

p.s. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there, just in case. I told a friend who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs. So, just as embarrassed, I am pointing out the button. Blessings.

Monday, October 5, 2015

gas prices and a reason to smile

So, we filled up the gas tank Friday. We haven't filled up in a while, mainly we tend to get a few dollars worth when we have to.Fortunately (or unfortunately) we don't get out much and so we manage to keep from running out of gas--by the skin of our teeth some months.

 Friday we had to have gas, the low gas light came on, and we had planned on the gas station as one of our errands anyway. We have a fuel rewards card from the grocery store we shop regularly,and we had been watching the gauge and the prices--because truthfully, it often seems if we need gas and we stop to get some the next time we are out the price has dropped...or if we decide to wait until the next errand day, the price has gone up. Its all futile, gas is one of those things you have to buy--no matter what the price is or how far behind you are on your other bills.

BUT, this time, we got lucky, we had a good amount on our fuel saver card, and it was payday, and the price had gone down a couple of pennies.

Now, I don't pump gas--that is my sons job,and he is very methodical about it. The last thing he says before starting to pump is "I have to ask, how much." Then I usually give him a dollar amount and he is always right on the penny.

Friday, with the reasonable prices and the discount I debated, and told him to go ahead and fill it up. He chuckled and said "You now what that means."

The young man in the pick-up next to us overheard our conversation and asked "What does it mean?"

"Well, it often means with our luck the prices will go down." I answered. "But we don't use a lot of gas, so it is a chance we have to take." Then while my son pumped gas, this young man and I had a nice chat about the weather, and weekend sports.

He finished filling his pick-up, and as he was getting in the car said "Enjoy the nice weather, and thanks for filling up. I drive over 200 miles a day in my job, and if you filling up causes the price to go down, I will be grateful. I'll think of you next time I get gas."

Now there are several things to enjoy about the conversation. First, I don't get to chat with strangers all that often,  I don't get out much. Second, how nice that the next time this young man gets gas he will think of me when he looks at the price, and for some reason that makes me smile.

Connecting with other human beings-even if just for a moment at the gas station-is always a great way to enjoy the day!

Peace and Blessings,

p.s. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there, just in case. I told a friend who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs. So, just as embarrassed, I am pointing out the button. Blessings.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Parking Lots and other anonymous venues

What is it about parking lots? They seem to bring on the worst in people.

Honestly, do people who are probably perfectly reasonable people in real life become total jerks when they get into a parking lot. Or do the people who are actually jerks in real life just stand out when it comes to a space with defined parameters such as a parking lot.

Of course, it may also depend on the parking lot. The parking lot at the grocery store where we shop is one of the most ill-planned, ill-conceived parking lots in the world. Seriously, I have been shopping at this shopping center for years,and still, once a week as I look for a space I say out loud "Whoever designed this parking lot has a lot to answer for."  It is so strikingly badly designed that it hits you every time how awful it is, even after years.

I actually expect people to be disgruntled in this parking lot. This parking lot gives credence to those who believe in karma, or Feng Shui, or the laws of attraction, or just plain good energy vs bad energy.  This parking lot would be a great place for Dante's sign--Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here.

So, what is it that allows people to become or exhibit hateful behavior towards random strangers in a parking lot? I think, it's the anonymity. Anonymity is often used to be hateful to others. Now I don't get it, and you probably don't get it--but there it is. Some people are so immature and miserable in their own skin that being hateful to other people somehow makes them feel superior--andall the more so if it is done anonymously, so that it isn't someone who can actually tell them they are wrong and knock it off.

Social media acts this way too--people who wouldn't dream of saying bigoted, or racist, or downright mean things in real life can use the anonymity of social media to attack other people. Just last nght on facebook, someone decided that the profile picture I use of my late husband and I sharing a kiss looked like two men kissing. So I received messages telling me I was an abomination, God hates me and I deserve to die. Now, I am no stranger to being criticized for my appearance--I am after all The Fat Lady, and I was the Fat girl, strangers choosing to tell me how ugly they found me has always been part of my experience. But, I don't remember  being told I deserve to die before--simply because some old fool thought I was a man kissing another man. The worst part may have been the old fools profile picture-a man standing in front of a Cross wearing a clerical collar.

Now lest we think it is technology that has allowed this to flourish, let me share that those who have lived prior to the cyber get will probably remember the anonymity of slam books. What is a slam book, you younger folks might ask? Well, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and The Fat Lady was in junior high and high school, the mean girls (and guys) would take a spiral notebook and write hateful ugly comments about a person. This notebook would then pass from mean girl to mean girl and when it was full it would be slipped under the door of your locker or in your desk so that you could read just how ugly and awful and what terrible things you deserved to happen to you. All anonymously of course. So, the technology has changed but the intent is still there. Use anonymity to make yourself feel superior by bullying and humiliating someone who fits your description of "other".

It's wrong. It has always been wrong. But, unfortunately it has become more open--hell, even presidential candidates are doing it these days, and a certain segment of society is reveling in it and feeling like that gives them permission. So, those who would kill a man because of his skin color a hundred years ago are still around. Yes, they are still killing people, but they are also using social media to vent their hate. It's just wrong. And honestly, not enough of us who know its wrong are saying its wrong. When our politicians, our religious leaders are modeling hate--it becomes all too easy for those who hate to feel justified. AND IT IS WRONG!!!

Some days I think must have fallen asleep and awakened in a different universe. Or maybe I am just getting old,but honestly, I don't remember civil discourse being so polarized and divided when I was younger. People have always disagreed, not seen eye to eye on things from religion to politics to current events to sports. I think, back before we communicated through a keyboard we remembered that those we disagreed with were fellow human beings because we were looking them in the eye.It was possible to engage in spirited debate and still remain civil.

It is possible to have friends that you are diametrically opposed to what they support and still remain friends. I know this because it is true in my life. I have friends from all political and religious parts of the spectrum and we love each other. I think it maybe because while we can think the  person is wrong or misguided we can respect that they have the right to feel and believe what they do. We understand that people can honestly look at things and understand them differently. Different doesn't mean someone is right and someone is wrong, it simply means different.And, honestly, differences can be discussed without demonizing or marginalizing the other persons opinion. In fact, as members of society we should each make it our project to bring the civic conversations in this country back to this.Because, the truth is, words have power, and you have no way of knowing who you are hurting with your words.

So, whether it is the guy in the parking lot yelling at me because I parked in a regular parking space rather than the handicap space my license plate entitles me to--yes that happened--or it is some anonymous stranger on Facebook choosing to tell me I deserve to die, we need to stand up and say it is wrong. Knock it off.

Just knock it off. Yes, I know the people I really want to say that to won't be reading my blog...but honestly, it needs to be said.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Be Done With It

I have a bad attitude today. That is really unlike me, life is hard, but even though I struggle with depression, that is different than just being in a bad mood. So,needing an attitude adjustment I went looking through the files of things I have written, ands this one from 6 years ago spoke to me today.

So, here it is, letting go of yesterday and concentrarting on today--in other words remembering to live in the moment!!

Today's quote.... Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~~ 

I don't give in to despair often. Even though I struggle with depression and a host of other health issues, I tend to be the cockeyed optimist most of the time. Sharing and teaching those around me that we have choices, and that our truth is that we author our own story. And I believe that, I really do. So, it was totally out of character for me to cry in frustration this morning. But I did.

Surprisingly, it helped. No, it didn't change anything, I still am desperately struggling. I still have no grocery money, no money to pay the electric bill...but crying actually helped. It doesn't make sense that crying helped, but I feel calmer now. 

So, even though I don't see how to change the end of the story, even though it seems impossible today, I choose to believe that this is not how the story is going to end. I choose to remember that I have to power to believe that. My faith wavered, and I cried. Turns out crying is good for you. Now that I am calmer I can remember that at any given moment I have to power to choose how the story ends. I can remember that even when I am feeling most out of control,something as simple as releasing the fears by crying can help me change the end of the story.

You know it is so easy to become cynical these days. Turn on the TV, check your newsfeed on Facebook, read a message board. Everywhere you look people seemed to have become mean, hateful, lacking the simple human qualities of compassion and kindness. It honestly doesn't matter what your political, or religious beliefs are you can find examples of people who just seem to have forgotten how to behave towards other people. If you are in a difficult situation yourself, it starts to feel rather personal. It starts to feel as if you just have no right to exist if you are down on your luck.

I admit that when things are going badly, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed.Believe me, I know! I know that when in the midst of troubles we are often at a loss as to how this could possibly turn out good. But I also know that we have the choice to believe that it will. I know that it is all too easy to believe that my life is harder than anyone else, that I am the only one I know going thruogh this much hardship. But the truth is every person you meet is struggling with something. Life is not easy for any of us. So we must remember to choose to live in the moment, to choose in this moment--to finish each day and be done with it!!! Moving on to the new day!!
Peace and Blessings

p.s. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there, just in case. I told a friend who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs. So, just as embarrassed, I am pointing out the button. Blessings.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Well Played Coco-Cola marketers

So I bought a diet coke when I was at the grocery store. Totally out of character for me, but I bought it, and I am going to tell you why...

When I was growing up every kid in the neighborhood had a little plastic license plate on the back of their bicycle with their name on it--yes, I know, these days we don't put our children's names where all the world can see them, and I totally agree with that (but I digress). When I was going up everyone had the little license plate with their name--except me.

You could find the display with the name plates in most places, dime stores like  Kresge's and Ben Franklin (I am old) the corner drugstore, the grocery store. If you went to an amusement park, you could find souvenirs--hats, keychains, cute little wall plaques with your name on them. Unless you were me.Or someone like me with a not so common name.

Now my name is not all that unusual. I had an aunt and a cousin with the same name. I was named after my aunty, she was my favorite person. Heck there is even a book in the Bible with our name. But, no little plastic license plate or souvenirs.

I told myself it was OK, they probably wouldn't have spelled it right anyway--most people misspell it 99% of the time--which I have always found more than a bit odd because of that aforementioned book in the Bible. But you know, when you are a little kid, not finding your name felt like a rejection of you. As a grownup I am well aware that it was not a rejection, but when I was 6 years old, it felt like every kid in my neighborhood counted more than me.

Now, when Coca-Cola started the campaign with the names on the bottles, we bought my son one right away. He has a nice classic name, mass produced whenever name items are sold. Truthfully, I didn't even look for my name, because I just assumed it wouldn't be there.

So, there I was in the grocery store and I rolled past the Coke display and what do I see out of the corner of my eye? A bottle of diet coke with my name on it. MY NAME--Spelled correctly and everything!! I tell you, I had a visceral reaction and I grabbed up that bottle and held it and looked at it  in wonder. There was my name.  After all these years, I had been mass produced.

So, of course I bought it. Which is a bit silly, because I don't drink diet coke. My son doesn't drink diet coke. But there is a bottle of Diet Coke in the fridge. it will probably stay there for a long time, I'll probably empty it out eventually--but that bottle with my name on it will go on a shelf to be admired. Because ESTHER is a good name, and because those Coca-cola people are really smart marketers. Touch us where it matters, in our very identity, and we will buy it--even if we don't drink it.

Well played Coca Cola, and THANKS from the little girl who even though she knew it wouldn't be there looked for her name on every personalized souvenir she came across.

Peace and Blessings,

Monday, April 20, 2015

Did you know I danced?

It's been a few months since I wrote something...time seems to slip past me faster and faster these days. I really didn't mean to not write anything for that long, I just got busy worrying with other things I guess.

So, for my facebook friend who discovered my blog and messaged me to let me know that something I had written had touched him in a visceral way, Thank You, you reminded me that I should make time to share.

It is hard when you are struggling with the day to day stresses of life sometimes to remember that you have something to give back to the world. It is all to easy to get wrapped up in the struggles and forget that you weren't always old, and poor, and in pain. It is all too easy to forget that even though you are old and poor and in pain you still matter, you can still touch someone else's life. 

So, I can't promise to be upbeat all of the time. 

I can't say I won't continue to worry about the problems--like being out of money too soon this month and stressing about it.

I can say, that for today I will try to remember that there was a time in my life when I danced. I will try to remember that while I can't dance like I used to, maybe I am still dancing in new ways. 

I am stressed--I am also extremely blessed. 

I am multi-faceted that way.

So, thank you facebook friend for the reminder that I have something to give, it is all too easy to feel useless, and we all need to be reminded that we aren't.

Peace and blessings,

Monday, January 19, 2015

One More Year-One Day At A Time

Oh my word, I haven't had a drink in 34 years!

Today is my birthday. Not my belly button birthday, my day I got clean and sober birthday. Today I am celebrating 34 years of sobriety. Celebrating 34 years of choosing to deal with life and all its challenges, obstacles, defeats, and victories without using drugs or alcohol. 

I don't remember when alcohol wasn't available to me. My older brothers-14, 18, and 21 years older than me- were the kind of guys that thought it was cute to give a baby or toddler a sip of beer, or whatever cocktail they might be drinking. There was always a bottle of whiskey in the kitchen cupboard, and when my dad wanted a glass of wine in the evening, he sent one of us to get it.Alone in the kitchen, no one was there to see me take a swig for myself. If there were family gatherings, not much attention was paid attention to what you were grabbing out of the cooler. After all, the men usually sent a kid to get the beer out of the cooler. So I developed an enjoyment of the taste and effect of alcohol at a very young age. It was an easy way to make life stop hurting for a little while. 

Of course,as soon as I left home it was no problem. I looked older than my age, and was never carded. Really, the first time I was carded was on my 21st birthday. There was a new guy at my liquor store, and he carded me and wished me a Happy 21st birthday. The owner was shocked, since he had been selling me alcohol for 4 years. But, he didn't make a big deal about it. I was a very good customer. By the time I was 21, I was drinking every day. I had started down that road as a teenager with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. I was self medicating with drugs and alcohol for several years. When I was diagnosed, I started letting go of the drugs, but consumed more alcohol to make up for it.

I drank my way through college, and 5 years into my working life. I managed to get good grades, and do good work while I increased my drinking. I had good jobs, but my drinking caused me to make some really, really stupid decisions about men and relationships.Just like the song says "Looking for love in all the wrong places."

I knew that eventually I would have to quit drinking. I knew that it was impossible for me to drink in moderation, and I hated that, because there were things I truly enjoyed and did not want to give up.I truly enjoyed choosing the right wine for a good meal. I truly enjoyed a cold beer on a hot afternoon.But, as much as I wish I was, I am not the kind of person who can stop with one glass of wine, one cold beer, one mixed drink. So, I had to listen to the small voice and quit. The last time I got drunk was on a Sunday night. I had been to a party. I don't remember much about the party, I had been drinking all weekend of course, but for some reason I got really drunk at that party. I think that I totally embarrassed myself, and a friend suggested we leave and go somewhere else. We ended up at her Mother's house. I don't remember how we got there, but I do remember sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking to her mother until 5 o'clock Monday morning. I drove home and got in the shower and then I decided to call in sick and get some sleep. I had never done that before, I always went to work. In fact, I got in the shower intending to get ready for work, but while I was in that shower I started getting quiet, and when I get quiet I can hear the small voice, and the voice said "It's time to heal." 

So, I called in sick, went to bed and slept for a couple of hours. When I woke up I felt like crap.I never got hungover, but that day I was hungover. I spent some time feeling sorry for myself, but then I remembered hearing the voice. I knew that it was time to stop numbing the pain, time to stop dulling the memories and to start healing the wounds. I called my doctor, and went to see her. I had a good talk with her and she referred me to a therapist. She called him right then, and he saw me that afternoon.It was Monday, January 19, 1981. The therapist said that he would work with me, but he also suggested that I go to AA. He got out the phone book, and handed me the phone. I made the call and found a meeting that evening. That was the beginning of my journey to health and wholeness, a journey I am still on. It is not an easy journey to start. It is not an easy journey to continue, but it is a journey I believe we must all undertake.

So, here I am. I haven't had a drink, oh how I have wanted to, but I have not had a drink.My Higher Power and I are taking a journey. One day at a time.

Peace and Blessings,