Monday, February 25, 2008

Teen Aged Pregnancy

Awhile ago I saw "Juno" which being a movie about a teen ager who got pregnant and seemed to be a kind of comedy, interested me. I had a friend who worked at a school program for pregnant teen age girls. We were both puzzled as to why this happened with birth control finally easily available. Well, apparently, like in the movie, sex isn't planned and so the couple isn't prepared.

In the old days, birth control was just not doing it. But at sleep overs the girls whispered in corners about how impossible it seemed to not do it. I would guess that about half or more of the steady couples were doing it. And there were a lot of pregnancies. So sad because lives were just derailed by the disgrace, shame, secrecy and responsibility of a child. Now, of course, there's not so much shame and disgrace but there's still the responsibility which teenagers are just not ready for. Lives are still derailed. I wish I knew what the answer was because all of us lose when teenagers have to grow up before they're ready and lose their dreams of the future.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Solving Problems

"It appears to me that most of the wrenching turmoil in people’s lives—whether or not they are alcoholic—derives from too stubborn persistence in trying to resolve insoluble problems. That is why the philosophy contained in the Serenity Prayer is one of the most important guidelines I’ve found in A.A." © 1973 AAWS, Inc.; Came to Believe, 30th printing 2004, pg. 111

I love that phrase: "wrenching turmoil." That should be my middle name. Learning to live with unsolvable problems has been one of the greatest challenges I've ever had on my journey. Ron's health and money problems almost tore me to shreds. I loved him absolutely and knew he was a thoroughly good person through and through. But he had a terrible flat spot in his brain where money and health were concerned, and both of those problems of his had a tortuous effect on me. He was sick a lot in the last 10 years of our marriage which disrupted his showing his love and caring for me. A huge loss for a love junkie like myself. And money - oh my God. I couldn't believe the craziest things he said. He never did believe he was an over spender even though his outgo exceeded his income consistently.

Somehow, with the help of advisors, I managed to live with these unsolvable problems - after, of course, trying absolutely everything I could think of to get him to solve them many, many times! What I got from that experience was a clear sense of how "wrenching turmoil" feels. If I get that feeling, I know I've come in contact with an unsolvable problem. The only thing to do is pry my fingers off the problem, pray for acceptance, go to a whole lot of meetings, check with other people to make sure I'm not missing something and giving up too soon, and then buckle down and learn to live with the problem. That knowledge has come in very handy in learning to live with my current disability. I've heard over and over in recovery that acceptance is the key to everything, and that how I respond in impossible situations is what will give me peace of mind - NOT changes in my circumstances. Hard to do but worth it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Progress, not Perfection

Well, I'm still working on that todo list but I'm finally seeing the end of it. And I'm not adding more things to it. Of course, the goal was to finish by the end of January and start the new year off with stuff done... Nevertheless, I feel pretty good about how much I have accomplished considering how little energy I have on some days.

I had my sleep study and now have a CPAP which still isn't being used since I can't figure out how to get the distilled water in there - but I'm close! I have been to physical therapy several times and can easily do all the balance and strength exercises Kathy gives me. In fact, I've resumed doing a little yoga. I can do down dog, warrior and triangle - not perfectly but well enough to really help my back. The yoga was something I added to the physical therapy exercises that I do almost every day now. I've resumed my meditation practice and have been able to be fairly consistent (5 days out of 7 most weeks). I've started eating my own cooking most of the time instead of take out. And since I'm getting enough sleep and better nutrition, I'm not hungry all the time like I have been for so long. I've even been able to feed some of my friends here and there. My will is almost finished. I still have to talk to some members of the family about it before it's finalized, but it's very close. I've gone through stacks of papers and thrown a lot of unnecessary stuff away. Extra blankets and sheets are now stored in those packages where you vacuum out the air - the thing is, the seal on the packages isn't great so... But they're stored anyway. My closets are now cleaned out and everything is where I want it so I can hang up my clothes after washing them! The black history event the Alzheimer's Association puts on each year as outreach to the African American community was a huge success. I didn't do much except help with some details and cheer Beverly on, but I did feel part of the success since I insist that we do it. There's more but I'm getting bored with this. So finally and best of all, I've arranged to do the first in a series of classes for recovering people that I know is needed but I'm not sure is wanted. The only way to find out is to offer them and see what happens.

The ability to do all of this is purely a gift. I just had a small disagreement with someone yesterday who insisted I was unique and wonderful because I have accomplished so much in the face of adversity. I insisted I was not unique and that everything I do and who I am is a gift. I'm totally not who I used to be. I enjoy the compliments but I know for a fact that I have not changed from my own resources. The love and support from friends, the love and strength given to me my higher power - all are the reasons I can do anything.

Thank you.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Valentines Day Present

This is my beautiful granddaughter, Rebecca, who was born on Valentines Day and is therefore my Valentines Day present every year. My oldest two grandson's were born on my birthday and the day after my birthday respectively and are, therefore, my birthday presents every year. So thoughtful of their mother to have these babies just to please me. And I am very pleased!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


"One is happy as a result of one's own efforts, once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness - simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and above all, a clear conscience. Happiness is no vague dream, of that I now feel certain" - George Sand

I've noticed that when happiness is discussed like in the quote above, there is no mention of Prince Charming or large sums of money. I was raised on fairy tales where people suddenly became rich and were swept away by love. Of course, I am a child of the 40s and 50s, so everyone was taught this stuff. They didn't mention work, self-denial and clear consciences. If they had I wouldn't have believed them. I've been in love and I've had the experience of having enough money. Both are delightful. But I've also had the experience of not being in love and not having enough money and still being pretty happy. It's a relief to know that I have some ability to be happy no matter what. Right now I'm pretty happy. No prince charming and not very much money. I'm still pretty happy!

Monday, February 11, 2008


"If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed." Ancient Chinese proverb

Another great way to say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I used to think I was just a leaf in the wind - at the mercy of the people, circumstances and events in my life. Then I had an awakening due to my recovery program. It turns out that I'm responsible for my life through the decisions and choices I make. Not that I have control over others, the weather, world events, etc. but I am in charge of my responses. What a freedom! My life changed enormously.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Perfect Rose

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

-Dorothy Parker

This is really pretty funny. But I'd be very happy with one perfect rose. I've got some terrific Valentine's Day cards around here. Ron and I had a mushy card contest going - not just valentines. Which ever one of us cried, the other one won. Before Ron - I don't actually remember getting valentines - except, of course, in school when every one got one.

Almost everyone I've ever talked to hates Valentines Day. Men tell me they don't know what to get so they just ignore it. They're afraid their sweetheart will hate what they get. So, of course, women hate it because - well, that's obvious. Someone - maybe me - should set up a 900 number to give ideas to men for what to get for their sweethearts. For example, jewelry is always good. But lots of women might just be thrilled if he picked his dirty underwear up for the rest of the year.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


"If your children were afflicted by fearful images, you would take them in your arms and rock them with a lullaby. And so we must begin to treat ourselves like our only child...We intensify fear by trying to force it away...the first step in healing fear is accepting it. " Unattended Sorrow. Stephen Levine

I lived my life in terror; driven to action by it; desperately trying to escape. I remember being afraid when my children were afraid because I didn't know how to comfort them - because I didn't know how to deal with my own fear. It was torture; only relieved by ingesting chemicals or being absorbed in reading something.

In recovery I was taught to examine my fear, talk to someone about it, and then get out of myself by helping someone else - although some of my suggestion-givers suggested I make my bed and go to the grocery store. They also suggested that I turn my life and will over to the care of God and be willing to accept whatever happened after that. I still had/have fear from time to time. I was so attached to Ron that his health problems caused me extreme fear, but I eventually began to have relief from that.

Right now I'm grateful because I really don't have fear - a little mild anxiety about money and health but even so the anxiety is really mild. At my age both those things are realistic to have some anxiety about, but the anxiety is mostly about not being able to handle whatever happens or just anxiety about being uncomfortable. It's really not enough to even cause much of a ripple on the surface of my mind.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


It really worries me that we're being told that spending money is what will help the current problems with the economy. I don't get it. It works the other way around in my household budget. When there's trouble, the answer is usually to spend less. As I've said before, I possibly should try to learn something about economics instead of just having opinions but I'm almost afraid if I learn something it might mess up my simplistic ideas. That might be a bad thing.

Businesses would still make money if people quit spending money on stuff they can't afford and don't need. The business that would make money would be the ones selling food and other necessities. That might not be a bad way to live for awhile. For every dollar I earn and then spend on something I don't need, is a certain amount of my life/time that I've wasted, because to earn the dollar I spent time and energy doing something.

"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run."- Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


On Monday I got up and did my morning stuff and then went back to bed. I felt really, really tired and just couldn't get it together. When I lay down I really expected to go right back to sleep but I just lay there feeling exhausted. I never did feel any better although I lay down all day. I finally fell asleep pretty early in the evening. When I woke up yesterday morning I didn't feel particularly rested although I had been resting for 24 hours.

Yesterday was a busy day - I had one appointment after another and made it to all of them. I was surprised when I went home in the afternoon that I wasn't particularly tired. All at once I was aware that Monday was Ron's 25th AA birthday. Our AA birthdays were really big days for us. Both of us loved the program, loved recovery and were absolutely joyous about celebrating. So some part of me was sad and it was expressed in physical tiredness. I've experienced this before - on the anniversary of my son's death I have been tired like that and unable to rest but didn't realize what day it was. I eventually learned to be aware and to spend the day remembering my son and celebrating his life instead of lying in bed.

Evidently I've passed into another phase of grief where my conscious mind isn't going to alert me to what day it is, but my body is going to grieve without my awareness. Interesting. I've never read about this in any books about grief but I'll bet I'm not the only one. I'll mark Ron's AA birthday on my calendar so I can celebrate it with awareness.

I'm so grateful for the awareness I have. Otherwise I would think I was crazy or something awful. It's not awful - it just is.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Love and Fights

"When we have been attacked, the mystic's prayer is to feel from God the love that has been denied us by someone else. We pray for the ability to send love to someone who has withheld it from us, that we not contribute to the ....suffering between us...When someone has not shown us their love, our power lies in knowing that they would have, had they known how. " Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace.

Boy, do I wish I could do this. Attack = defend/counterattack in my hard wiring. Certainly only the grace of God can make any kind of change in my hard wiring. But from years of experience with loving my husband and knowing him in depth, I know it was true that on the occasions I felt attacked, he was usually attacking himself at some level. Every once in awhile I was able to respond in love; but mostly I defended and attacked back. Except for the time when he was really mad at me about something and in his frustration attacked me with the worst thing he could think of. He said I was the worst housekeeper he had ever seen. That time I was struck dumb. At that time I thought housekeeping was a waste of time, and took a certain amount of pride in only doing what I absolutely had to. So, it was the worst thing he could think of to criticize me for while I could be a little bit proud of it. Weird. I almost laughed. Glad I didn't.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

What You See is What You Get

The saying above was from Flip Wilson's Geraldine character on his tv show in the 70s. I loved that show. I think "funny" comes a lot from surprise and his show was surprising. Geraldine was a self-confident woman that put herself out there big time and didn't seem to care what anyone thought. She knew she was magnificent. One of the first things I was told in recovery was that we're only as sick as the secrets we keep. I was sure if I told someone all my secrets that I would be judged and rejected. But that's not what happened. I was loved and accepted instead.

These days I am not on guard all the time like I used to be to make sure no one saw the real me. It has become a habit to be who I am. I sometimes catch myself, however, keeping quiet about what I want for fear someone will think I'm grandiose. I'm working on letting those secrets go too. It works.

"Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love." - Reinhold Niebuhr

Saturday, February 02, 2008


"I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome." - Golda Meir

Oh, this is very strange. It's exactly what I need to apply to my current situation. I didn't know how much of the time I try to figure out how something is going to work out as a way of determining what to do. And, of course, I have no idea how something is going to work out since I can't read the future. No wonder I get stuck. So, all I really have to do is ask my Higher Power and my heart "what is the next right thing to do?" Wow! Amazing. I usually have little trouble with this way of deciding a direction. But once I start trying to predict the future, I get really scared and get stuck. Okay. Onward.

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