Morning prayer and meditation on a recent camping trip

Today I celebrate 35 years of continuous sobriety.  I am so very grateful to a loving God and to Alcoholics Anonymous.

A month or so ago, I had another nightmare about my former husband.  This time we were living in a hovel, I had come home from work to find there was no furniture, he had left, which was fine, except – I was on the lease.  And on and on in the dream.

I woke up and had to tell myself over and over again that we are divorced and have been for 25 years.  I still couldn’t shake the fear, so I got up.

I walked into the living room and looked around.  I started to cry with gratitude.  The moonlight was shining in the windows, and my house was lit with the softest most beautiful light.  I stood in my living room and cried.

Because in that moment, I realized all that I have.  All that has been given to me.  How God has carried me through every single crisis, every single depression, every drop of anxiety, and all my worry was for naught.  God had me all those years, and he still holds me in the palm of his hand.

God has been so very good to me.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.  His wrath will come to an end; he will not be angry for ever.  He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.  For as the heavens are high above the earth, so strong is his love for those who fear him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins.

Psalm 103

Posted in Depression, Dreams, Faith, Fear, Gratitude, Meditation, Sobriety | 17 Comments

New Pyrex Bowls


Now that I have received my first paycheck, I have made a couple of impulsive purchases.  I don’t think $12 for a set of three bowls is going to set me back too badly, but perhaps if I made a hundred silly purchases, it would.  And I could easily buy 100 little things.   I must get very very serious about my money in these last couple of years of earning.

But first!  I am going to North Carolina this weekend to see two of my brothers. I am so excited to see them.  It has been 2 years.  They are 81 and 80, the 80 year old is in a nursing home and has been for years.  He has Parkinson’s disease, which is a pretty heartbreaking disease.  And scary.

Every time I think I don’t want to exercise, I just think of him, and I get out there and do whatever it is I am supposed to do that day.  I have a triathlon in a little over a month and I have been training.  Even at the end of these days when I am so tired.

I am into my 4th week of work this week.  It has kicked my butt more than I could ever have imagined.  I am so tired.  So tired.  I am also picking up one of my granddaughters after school each day, so I am working from 7 to 3 to accommodate that.  Then driving for well over an hour to pick her up, drop her off, and get home.  Exhausted.  I will get used to this, and she will be out of school in 2 weeks.  Phew!

This too shall pass.  Everything does.  Absolutely everything.

I am realizing how much the world has changed and how quickly and how I am from an entirely different era.  I am very glad of that.  I am glad I raised myself, even though having available parents would have been nice.  I am glad that back then it was easy to let yourself into the house after school and make your own dinner. I really didn’t think I was neglected or abused, it just seemed like that was how I was living.  My kids were also “latchkey kids” because I was so busy working and trying to put food in their mouths.  They also did not and still don’t think they were abused or neglected.   It was no great scandal back then.  Thank God.  They are all three very independent people, and I am grateful for that.

You know what else I am grateful for?  Being sober.  Having old friends who have also stayed sober all these years, and being able to see them on a regular basis.   I can’t imagine what my life would be if not for the Grace of God and the program.  What a miracle!

Thank you for so many nice comments on my last post.  I think I am going to try to blog more regularly.  I will try to actually collect my thoughts first in the future.  ha ha.  Maybe not.  I also popped into the confessional this weekend impulsively…. the priest asked me if I hadn’t had time to gather my thoughts and I told him no.  He very kindly took me through the Ten Commandments and asked me yes or no questions.  It was one of the most wonderful confessions ever.

Love to you…. Mary Christine

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Another Year, Another Tulip


This brave little soul just decided to bloom today.  It is 73 º outside, so it has been fooled.  It is supposed to be nearly 80 tomorrow, and then a huge snowstorm on Wednesday.  Ah, life in Colorado.

An old blogger contacted me today and it was just so good to feel connected to the blog again.  It is really silly to not post anything anymore.  I get discouraged when people don’t read, but usually someone reads my posts, and if I posted more, I might get new readers, you never know.

I am going back to work in 2 weeks.  I am more grateful than words can say.

I need money, I am not good at living within my means, and having my granddaughter move in has just blown up my budget – to put it mildly.  I am very grateful that my 20 year + employer has asked me to come back again.  For the 3rd time.  It is a permanent part time position and I am so excited about it.

I need to be engaged in the world.  I need to have a place to go and people to see.  I have volunteered for many things at church, but it just isn’t the same as being gainfully employed.

The most amazing things have happened in the last 8 months.  I have grown tired of knitting!!  Of all the things to happen, this surprises me the most!  I cannot watch TV for more than a few minutes because I find the current political environment so infuriating, frustrating, and terrifying.

My sober daughter is drinking again, and it is my worst nightmare.  Just horrifying.  Her 19 year old daughter is living with me.  She has some pretty dreadful PTSD and depression.  She feels like a full time job, but I am so very grateful I have the space and the means to take her in.  She was completely out of places to go.  I think she is getting much better with the stability and calmness of my home.

Can I just tell you that daughter decided about a year ago that she really could smoke pot and still be sober.  That lasted a couple of months before she was drinking again.  After over 9 years of sobriety.  And she is back where she was years ago.  She is a bad drunk and I am so scared for her.  I *should* go to Alanon and take my granddaughter with me.

It seems that at least in Colorado newer people are smoking pot and considering themselves sober.  I guess because pot is legal.  But sober is sober, and smoking pot is not sober.

So that is it in a little nutshell.  I hope to hear from one or two or more of you.


Posted in Garden, Gratitude, Sobriety, Spring, Weather, Work | 12 Comments

Journey through September


Pansies in the garden

It’s Monday morning and I don’t have to go to work or anywhere else.    This is one of the best things about retirement.  No dread on Sunday.  No schedule on Monday.  There is not even Mass at my church, so I am not off first thing to go to Mass.

I asked my son in law to help me paint my guest bedroom.  My dear brother and his dear wife are coming to visit me in October.  I took at look at the guest bedroom where they will be sleeping and realized it needed to be freshened up a bit.  Paint is always a good first step I think.

My dear son-in-law has ulcerative colitis and has been very sick lately.  I asked my daughter if he would be able to help.  She said yes.  He said yes.

They got here on Saturday and I said “Oh hell no, you are not painting.  Go sit down and what can I do to help?”

So today I shall paint the guest bedroom.  Please God, I hope I can still do this.  I used to love to paint.  I find it very difficult these days.   Aging is a real thing.

I tweeted something on Saturday night and my phone is still lighting up every minute or so.  I have felt like removing the tweet because it was very personal.  And now it has been like over 2,000 times and retweeted almost 500 times.  That is a weird feeling.

I can blog my heart and soul out here, but it is anonymous.  Or at least I convince myself it is.  That tweet is something entirely different.

This is what happens when I try to blog every day.  I blog about the extremely mundane life of a Catholic Retired 66 year old woman who has been Sober for 12,481 days (one day at a time).  Thank you for joining me on this journey.  xoxox

Posted in Junk-blogging, Retirement | 6 Comments

An Ordinary Thursday Afternoon


I was in a triathlon on Saturday morning.  I had broken 2 ribs in August, so I had not trained.  I had kept walking daily throughout my recovery, and tried swimming and biking in the last couple of weeks and found it felt OK, so I did the race.  I knew I would be slow, because I am not running, just walking, and I hadn’t really trained.  But I did finish, and did not come in last, and wasn’t among the 20 people who did not finish, so I felt good about it.  Imagine my surprise yesterday to see some race photos where I am smiling and look happy!  So, that is what is above.  Me, walking along, feeling happy.

I think lately I may be doing a little bit of comparing my insides to other people’s outsides.  As an alcoholic, it seems there is always something that is there to fill that hole in my soul.  First it was alcohol, then drugs, then back to alcohol, then absolute abstinence from alcohol and drugs.  Then I had coffee and cigarettes, and I used both of them to wretched excess.  At seven years of sobriety, I was able, by the grace of God to quit smoking.  And as a result of that, my coffee consumption fell precipitously.  I really did like men an awful lot and relationships and dating take a lot of time and energy and sometimes make you absolutely ecstatic.  And then miserable.  In the end, that was something that I realized I would need to give up if I were to follow God as I wanted to, and felt called to.  That is difficult.  It is an entirely different lifestyle to live alone and not have any desire to have a “special someone” in your life.  Aside from God.

Through a great deal of time spent in prayer and meditation, I have realized I still am clinging to a major defect.  I like to buy things.  I like to get things.  I like to have things done.  I want what I want when I want it, pretty much.  In my working life, I could convince myself this was all OK because I worked hard for every cent I had and thought that as long as I was tithing and paying my bills, I could do what I wanted with the rest.  Sometimes that had led me into debt.  A few years ago, I was able to pay off the debt, and now I avoid it like the plague.

Recently, my neighbor and I decided to get our houses painted.  We got two different painting companies to come out and give us estimates.  Her house is much smaller than mine, so her estimate was approximately $3,500.  while mine was over $5,000.  It would be absolute folly for me to spend that much money right now, even though my house needs to be painted.  I had to say no.

It hurt me to say no.  I want a happy shiny freshly painted house like my neighbors!  Thank God I do love her enough to be happy for her.  But still pretty miserable for myself.

Then I thought about the fact that she wears jeans and men’s t-shirts every single day of her life.  She wears sneakers every day, for every activity.  She bought her house when it cost less than $100,000. and has just stayed there.  She has no debt.  She saves money.  She does not take trips to Europe and Hawaii.  She eats things like bologna sandwiches and hot dogs for dinner.   She doesn’t spend a couple grand on a bicycle just because she wants to.

This feels like the final frontier in recovery for me.  I just need to sit still and be satisfied with what I have.  I must stop thinking the next thing I purchase is going to make my life complete.   I know how untrue that is.

One day at a time.  Seriously, just like early recovery from alcoholism.  One day at a time. And doing things like unsubscribing to all the e-mails notifying me of SALE!s on everything I ever clicked on.  I can live very easily on what I have.

And I can eat soup.  And my delicious sour dough bread.  Simple.

It is time for me to knock off the acquisitiveness and covetousness.

By the Grace of God.


Posted in Bicycle, Clothes, Food, Friends, Meditation, Race, Sobriety, Thrift, Training, Triathlon | 5 Comments

Retirement 3.0


I retired for the third time on September 5.  The next day was the 24th anniversary of the first day I started at the hospital.  This time when I retired, I felt the way people are probably supposed to feel.  A little bit sad, and feeling very reflective about all the years I had spent there.  Thinking about the young woman who started there and the old woman who drove away on that rainy Wednesday afternoon.

All summer long, I just wanted to be off work.  But when I truly walked out the door, I was sad and dreading the months to come somewhat.  This is not my first go-round and I know the perils that lay ahead.

Although it has hurt me almost physically, I have gone to mass nearly every day.  It is a hard time to be a faithful Catholic.  To realize that when you have been “playing by the rules,” and acting the way you have been taught is right, you might be in a terribly small minority.  That is painful.  To think that I may have confessed a small sin, bordering on scrupulosity, to a priest who may have been sexually abusing children, or at least participating in a culture that is tolerant of such behavior – produces a lot of anger in me.

Have almost walked out of mass a couple of times.  Most recently on Sunday at a nearby parish, that I really don’t normally feel happy attending, when one of our prayers was “for the victims of abuse in the church.”  Yeah, I almost stood up and yelled and stomped off.  But I didn’t.

How bout we stop praying for the victims and stop creating new ones?  How bout we stop promoting people who have participated in the culture, if not the actual abuse?  How bout they get evicted from their palatial homes and live like the rest of us?  How bout they take off their fancy red hats and silk garments?

The church is calling for OUR repentance on behalf of the church, but I see very little clerical repentance.  It is time.  It is past time.

I have decided to start blogging again, but I am not very clear what I am doing here now. At one time I had a blog really directed at people who needed to get sober or were in early sobriety.  As time passed, I realized that I was probably not the best person for that message.  At one point, I had another blog about fitness, to talk about training and races, and that was super fun.  I met a lot of really nice people, and learned a lot about marathons.  For a very brief period, I started a real Catholic blog.  It was terrifying, and I backed out of those waters quite quickly.  In 2012, when I was going through the worst depression of my life, I started this blog.  I just wanted to blog honestly about being a Sober Catholic.  And now I can add “senior” to that description.  Gross.

I felt at that time that the term “sober” was a qualifier to the Catholic.  Like somehow a Catholic who wasn’t perfect like the rest.  That I am an alcoholic, and got sober, and in spite of that, I am still trying to be a Catholic.

Now I feel that if more people were “sober” instead of besotted by lust or deviance, we might just have a better church.  I will gladly proclaim my sobriety and my Catholicism.

I hope I get some readers.  I miss blogging.  I promise I will be more cheery someday.

Posted in Retirement, The Church | 9 Comments

Scandal in the Church

I’ve been asked by people who know I am Catholic, what do you make of this?  How can you still belong to this church?  How can you trust that your priest isn’t an abuser?

I went to confession last Saturday – after the McCarrick scandal – but before the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report.  I so fortunate to walk into the confessional and see a retired priest I know well and love.  He just said “What’s up?”  And I told him that I was so sickened by what had happened in the church I felt like leaving the church.  He just said “me too.”  We talked for a while.  I made a good confession.  I received absolution.  And I left, resolved to do what he told me to do.

“Keep doing what you are doing because it is the right thing.  They will all answer for what they have done.”

I am sickened by what McCarrick was able to do.  I am sickened by the fact that he was promoted within the church when it was an open secret that he was an abuser.  He was promoted.  He was a cardinal!

The Pennsylvania report is beyond appalling.  I am sickened to read of the abuse of children, of course.  But I am horrified to read, in black and white, the complete lack of any kind of human or meaningful response on behalf of the church hierarchy.  They all just covered, lied, and obfuscated.  There was no care or concern for the victims or their families.  There was no apparent shock at what these priests were doing.  These priests were not an anomaly.  It was a culture.  And it appears to have gone all the way up through the church.

It would strain credulity that somehow what happened in Pennsylvania was confined to Pennsylvania.  Certainly it was, and may still be, happening in parishes, dioceses, and archdioceses throughout this country.

The dearth of meaningful response is not reassuring.  I expected to hear about this in homilies this week.  I have been to mass three times, and not one word.  I expected the good priests and holy people of social media to be expressing their shock and horror.

Instead I have heard vague and tepid requests for prayers for the church.  Oh really?  Prayers for the church?  Yes, I am praying for the church.  But I want more.

In my onion, Cardinal McCarrick should be in prison.  I want Cardinal Wuerl in prison.  I want the church to condemn what they have done.

I don’t want to see any more responses about being “saddened.”  I don’t want to hear any more euphemisms for rape, ritual child abuse, and cover-ups.

I am angry.

I will not stop being a Catholic though.  I will not stop going to Mass.  I won’t let the evil one’s victory to be complete.

full disclosure:  My late uncle is one of the priests named in the PA Grand Jury report.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments