Another Wednesday

Yesterday I had what might have been close to a panic attack.  I never have had a panic attack (except for one brief moment of panic right after 9/11), so maybe I don’t know what one is.  I got home from work and felt lonely, which is unusual for me.  I checked the  mail and have many frightening bills (including the IRS and State Revenue) that I don’t know how I am going to pay.  I talked to my always nice neighbor who was panicked herself about having offended another neighbor and friend.  I turned on the television and saw, for the 50th time, the bodies of dead children in Syria.  I changed the channel to desperately try to avoid this harsh reality, and was greeted by commercials hawking cures for dread illnesses – usually of people my age and slightly older.

I thought about getting older with dread and fear – these are not my normal attitudes about aging.

A very dear old friend is in the hospital.  I need to go see him today.  He was admitted on Friday for observation.  On Sunday night he had a quadruple bypass. He is just slightly older than I am, and in what I thought very good physical condition.  We used to run races together back in the 90s.

I called my sponsor.  When she answered the phone I thought she either had a cold or had been crying.  When I asked how she was, I realized she was crying.  Her nephew had been killed in a motorcycle accident.  I listened to her for a long time and murmured sympathetically.  She finally said “Aren’t you glad you called?”  and I could answer honestly that I was more grateful than words could say for her friendship and that I was honored to be there for her in a time of need.

I went to bed at 8 o’clock.  But had terrible dreams and woke at three after the worst nightmare and was unable to get back to sleep.  Dead children in my dreams.  This TV must be silenced forever.  I deeply care about what is going on in the world, but cannot have dead children in my face several times a day.  I was considering canceling my dish network account, I will check into that pronto.  I live in a place with absolutely no television reception without cable or dish, so this will change my life.  And maybe that is a good thing.

And now I change the subject for a moment.  I decided to go with this blog because I felt that I could no longer be an apologist for the organization I belong to.  I hate so much of what is going on there now.  I feel like a relic there.  No one wants to hear from an old lady who has been sober for a while.   People are stubbornly clinging to their atheism, and we all bend over and bow to their freedom to do so.  Yes, they are free to do so.  But I would like to see that respect of different views reciprocated.  It isn’t.

I dare not talk about how long I have been sober, because people tune me out the minute they realize it.  I have come to feel apologetic about my length of sobriety as if even saying it is being arrogant or prideful.  Believe me, I never say “I” stayed sober.  I am always clear that I am sober BY THE GRACE OF GOD.  And that is not just a cute phrase I use.  It is the truth.

I have come to undervalue my sobriety and I think that is a dangerous thing.  I met with a physician recently and told him a bit of my story.  He was dumbfounded at what transformation had occurred in my life.  I cried because I totally forget this.  He asked me to write a letter of recommendation for myself, detailing my history.  I cried more.  You mean I can acknowledge my sobriety, my life, my journey without offending someone?

It is not humility to act as if you are someone you are not in order to not offend someone.   It is dishonest and manipulative.

I have had a sign on my bulletin board since I left my husband in 1993.  It says:

Never, for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own experiences or convictions.  — Dag Hammarskjold

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20 Responses to Another Wednesday

  1. luluberoo says:

    Mary, we cancelled our TV months ago. All we have is Netflix and Amazon on demand for the occasional movie we enjoy on the week ends. It is FREEDOM to not have that biased, sensationalized crap that passes for news. And we save $70 a month we were paying for 200 channels we never watched.

    You are not the kind of person who can deceive..in blogland or in real life. I’ve said it before- you have taught me much about taking a stand for my beliefs.

  2. Kelly says:

    Humility is telling the truth about something. Making something out to be less is not humility, it is lying.
    It is not only in that organization that Christians of all kinds,( but at the present time, I think especially Catholics), are made to feel we must keep our mouths shut. Well, I believe that if we offend people by humbly (truthfully) living out our faith, then we are simply living the beatitudes. I also believe that the times are such that faithful believers will stand out in relief more and more against the backdrop, and it may test our faith, but it also will strengthen us.
    Do you have a favorite confessor or other trusted priest or spiritual friend? Some person to confirm you in your faith?
    I feel for you in your current state, also. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and just as you work the steps on your other program, I encourage you to work the depression steps. I know you already do get up and go out every day, get fresh air, see people, etc. Turning off the TV is a good idea, I think. It was an enemy to me during my depression. Play music you know will lift you up. Can you get to adoration here and there? I also recommend Mother Teresa’s 911 prayer. Say 9 Memoraries, 1 Rosary, and 1 Divine Mercy Chaplet. Yes, it takes around 45 minutes, but those minutes can save you a day’s or week’s worth of sorrow.
    I am currently listening to Give Me Jesus, by Fernando Ortega. It is featured on my blog. I don’t know if you will find it as beautiful as I do.
    God Bless you. You are in my prayers.

    • Thank you so very much Kelly. Thanks for coming by. I did go to your blog and listen to that song – it is beautiful! You have many good suggestions, I might actually follow one or two of them!

  3. Annette says:

    Oh Mary, I just can’t tell you how powerful this all is. For yourself of course….. but for those of us, your readers, who are finding our way back to God. Who feel that God has reached down and saved us quite literally from being so lost we might never be found. Thank you for your honesty!

  4. susan says:

    Mary Christine, I normally do not comment, but this time I will. I have not had a TV for years! I read the NY times online for news and watch my favorit shows via the internet (I also have a friend who lets me stream through her cable page in exchange for taking her to lunch once a month).I never feel uninformed, in fact I feel more informed than most because I am not numbed to death by constant TV noise. Try getting rid of the big ugly box. It clears up space — in your house and in your head.

    • Susan, thanks for your comment. I am always happy to hear from people who seldom comment. And these comments from folks who have unplugged from the TV are helping me to get the courage to do the same.

  5. Jackie says:

    MC,
    I followed your “other” blog daily. Please do not stop being an advocate of our program (AA). I, for one, know that it is truly by HIS grace any of us are sober. I may not have the “years” you have, but I began this journey in 1989 with some of the best old timers ever. They did not mince words. They did not pamper. It was work those steps or die. I live by that today. My homegroup has a treatment facility that comes in once a week. So many of the people that leave there come to use for awhile. Yes, they bring the treatment center mentality but I always say, recovery begins in our rooms. That dry out time that I had there was necessary but now….. get busy or die.
    Please don’t give up on “us”. We need you more than you realize.

    Jj

  6. Shadowlands says:

    The News gets me low as well Mary C, also the online papers but I can’t stop reading them although i tend to ignore headlines that are obviously too awful. Let’s remember what St Paul advised:

    “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
    Philippians 4:8 New International Version (©1984)(sorry it’s from a proddy Bible, I like their translations, you know what a modernist I am heehee!)

  7. Syd says:

    I know that I am powerless over so much that goes on in the world. From the large tragedies to the person who honks a horn at a stoplight, I can’t change what they do. I do know that I can change my attitude and outlook. I want to see the better side of our human nature. In meetings, I see many people in pain who don’t work the steps or get a sponsor. I see others who have found a solution. I choose to look for the solution and do my best to live optimistically. Living your truth is a good thing.

  8. sherryd32148 says:

    I have only been sober for 2 1/2 years and I can say that I read your blog everyday BECAUSE you have had such a life transformation, are so wise and kind in your advice and counsel, and know the organization of AA so well. You are a gift to this recovering alcoholic and I pray (to GOD) that you keep blogging about whatever your heart desires…because I will keep reading.

    Thank you for posting this so that I could tell you how grateful I am that you are here…(because…after all…it’s all about me you know.) 😉

  9. patty says:

    I want to listen to a(n old) lady who has the kind of sobriety you have, Mary. I love you, and you have helped me more than you will ever know!

    • Thank you Patty. I think of you when I wear those wonderful green jammies and see the tiny bit of maple syrup I have left. It is nice to know that we have these wonderful friends out there in the world.

  10. Mary LA says:

    I always appreciate your honesty Mary Christine and wish you were not going through such a hard time. I take care not to let myself get overwhelmed with bad news coverage because of my ongoing post-traumatic difficulties and I suspect your depression makes you especially vulnerable to anxiety and dread.

    Please do take care.

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