Takeaways from Rome Trip

I’m going to put a more positive post on top of this, so if you have found yourself at THIS post, you will find a reflective Mary.  Not a “Wow!  What a great time I had in Rome!”

I traveled with my daughter, who I admire so much it makes me cry.  Seriously.  She is a phenomenal person.  I always kind of knew that, but now I am just absolutely dumb-founded that this wonderful woman is in my life in any form, let alone being my daughter!

My friend I traveled with?  I had told my daughter and several others I was afraid this trip would ruin our friendship.  It had soured a LOT in the last few months.  I just had the feeling she was arguing with most everything I said, challenging me over ridiculous things, and generally acting like someone who doesn’t like me much.  I had expressed my concern to her, and she assured me we would have a great time!  The first day we were there, she yelled at me!  At the Vatican!   Yelled!  I have known this woman for 20 years and have never seen her act like this.  I know she was tired, and I was tired, but she yelled at me for a “look” I gave her.  And she said mean things.  Mean.  Which to me means that she was plenty irritated with me and the “look” was just the icing on the cake.

Being an AA member and having 30 years of practice at trying to resolve issues immediately, I tried to talk with her twice later that day, but she just brushed me off.  At that time, I resolved to enjoy the trip – my trip of a lifetime – and spend as little time with her as humanly possible.  I also had my daughter with me, who was awesome.  My friend was getting on her nerves too, but we resolved to not spend any time talking about her.  We would spend all of our energy enjoying our trip.  And we did.

On  Christmas day at dinner, I had an epiphany.  Really.  I know, 12 days early, right?

My daughter and I  each purchased the whole who-knows-how-many-courses Italian meals.  Oh dear God, it was beyond anything I have ever eaten!  But for dessert?  A fruit cup.  It looked divine, with all manner of fruit.  I took one spoonful and realized it was drenched in alcohol.  This has happened to me once before in my sobriety, and at that time, I ran to the rest room and spit it out.  This time I was in a restaurant that was too crowded to move, and I had no idea where the rest room was.  I swallowed the fruit, closed my eyes, and prayed.  I am quite certain it was less than a 1/4 teaspoon of some kind of alcohol, but it was absolutely the first time in 30 years that alcohol has gone into my system.  I felt like my head was going to explode.  Not one feeling of pleasantness at all.  It was slightly terrifying.  I prayed a lot.  Asked God to help me with this.  If my recovery is threefold, physical, mental, and spiritual, I asked God to let the mental and spiritual overcome the physical.  I had no compulsion at all after that, and it may sound silly, but I think that was by the Grace of God.

In that moment, looked across the Christmas table at my friend and her mother, and realized I am simply with the wrong people. Not that there is anything wrong with them, it is that there is something terribly terribly wrong with me.  They do not understand that, and they do not need to understand that.

You see, I am an alcoholic.  I am not like other people.  I believe that I am (not was) different physically, mentally, and spiritually than others.  And I am so very grateful for that.   I don’t believe a non-alcoholic could ever completely understand what was going on in that moment.  They looked at me like I was nuts.  Again, they don’t need to understand, but I do!

I think my experiment with hanging out with “normies” ended in that simple moment.  I need to be with people who are like me.

As this year ends and another begins, I would like to make some changes.  I want to blog again, it really added to my life, and maybe helped others on occasion.  I want to get back into the life of a devoted AA member.  No more hanging around the fringes.  I tried it, I lived through it, I stayed sober.  But my quality of life would be much improved if I embraced my true calling.

Seriously, I have a calling to work with other alcoholics.   I got sick of it and wanted to branch out, so to speak.  Time to get back to my basics.

My AA meetings, my AA friends, and working with garden variety drunks  (just like me).

My regular humble little church, in a poor little town in the middle of Denver metro.   No gold, no souvenirs, no pope.  Just humble.

My dumb old job where I am working years past when I should have retired if I were good with money – which I am not.  An aging female in the workplace is not having fun.  Why should I be different?  I will make the best of it for as long as I can.  And if I need to retire, I will.  I can change my lifestyle.  I have done it repeatedly in my 63 years.  I am good at being poor.

I need to reconcile who I really am with the life I am living.  I don’t intend to try to be who I am not.  If a person cannot accept three attempts to apologize, I can do no more.  Seriously, don’t like me then.  I can not make my face look other than it does.  And at 63, with 36 hours without sleep, and a painful broken arm, my face might not look really nice.

I am grateful, grateful, grateful for these revelations!

Not sure I have time to write that other post, but I hope to post lots of pictures of beautiful Italy.

Thanks for reading.



This entry was posted in Aging, Family, Feasts, Food, Friends, Gratitude, Roma, Sobriety. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Takeaways from Rome Trip

  1. daisyanon says:

    Thanks for this Mary and it is good to see you back. Sorry to hear about the broken arm. Well, I don’t have as much sober experience as you but I have been worrying about the fact that I increasingly have little in common with people outside AA even old friends (if they are not one of the two or three who know about me and AA). I have been fretting about the phrase in the big book ‘bridge to normal living’.

    But as you say – I will never be ‘normal’, I don’t know, and have never known what ‘normal’ is. I find I don’t even like a lot of people who consider themselves ‘normal’. I have always got on better with damaged, broken people. Maybe, like you, I will stop trying to be ‘normal’.

  2. Nancy G says:

    So glad to hear your voice again, Mary! We’ve missed you. What you have to say always resonates with me. And I appreciate you.

  3. Syd says:

    First, I’m glad you are back writing. I have missed you. And I am glad that you got through the tough times on the trip. I realize that I don’t know what normal is. I know that most of my conflicts are because of my shortcomings. And I rapidly get tired of being around others. I need my solitude to recharge. Let’s hope 2015 is a year of good health and peace.

  4. Connie says:

    Mary Mary: Thank you so very much for this post. I realize that I am ok and I am also different and that is ok. Thank you for being so open and honest. C.

  5. Dede says:

    SO glad you are back. Happy New Year.

  6. Mary LA says:

    Good that you’ll be blogging more in 2015. And I loved the pics of Rome!

  7. Joe says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!

  8. Joe says:

    Welcome Home, Mary.

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