Watching Karma Come to Fruition and Other Things I Didn’t Expect to Expect

Resentment:  n – the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.

The word stems from the French word Ressentiment or “to feel again” from prefix “re” and “sentir.”  It is also a Philosophical notion from Nietsche.  According to Wikipedia:  “Ressentiment is a reassignment of the pain that accompanies a sense of one’s own inferiority/failure onto an external scapegoat. The ego creates the illusion of an enemy, a cause that can be “blamed” for one’s own inferiority/failure. Thus, one was thwarted not by a failure in oneself, but rather by an external “evil.””

That being said ………

I had a job that I loved, a job I was good at.  This isn’t just my perception; I received glowing commendation letters from funders following audits and site visits.  Outside agencies and coworkers and clients alike praised me.  They did and they still do.  That’s a fact.

A new manager took over and she “cleaned house.” I was a part of the house-cleaning.

[You know what?  I remember through the years hearing people lose their jobs to “politics” and “house-cleanings,” etc.  In the back of my mind I wondered if there was more to it, if the person who was fired really had some underlying contempt for authority or really wasn’t such a great employee as their self-assessment says…. yeah.  I was a little judgmental.  I put the “mental” in judgmental.  I was positively stunned that this lady could do this to me, that these things really happened and that I had little recourse in our “at will” state of employment.]

Compounding this …. or expediting it, I should say, was the fact that there was a lady who worked there who wanted to move up the ranks and had endeared herself to this new monster manager [birds of a feather….], and reported every little thing to her …..fabricating things if necessary.  She did not just do this to me.  There were others who were suspended and even fired. To protect the agency that does good work for the community (in spite of this), I will not go into too many details.  Besides.  There are tons of good people still standing.

Sponsorship – Thank God:

I kept in close contact with my sponsor throughout this and did EVERYTHING he said.  EVERYTHING.  Even when it was scary.  Even when it was the “right” thing to do and even when that “right” thing to do would make things worse for me.

Oh, and my lawyer, too.  I did everything he said, including keeping any and all written correspondence — even if it didn’t seem relevant.  There were some really unconscionable things going on and I was asked to do some unethical things.  I stayed true to who I was; my sponsor gave me the backbone to do this.  The new manager asked me to misreport some of our data so our census would look fuller.  She may have had a Master’s Degree but she was none too smart …. she made this request via email.  Yep.  Put it in writing.  I added this to the big file I was accumulating and responded to her (via email) just the way the lawyer suggested:  I asked if I should include the clients we report to [insert funding source]_______, the clients we report to _______, and the clients we report to _____ and asked her how I should proceed so that “I do this the way you want me to.”  This would let her come to the conclusion that it was double-dipping and it made me look like I was willing to do what she said …… but not double-dip.

Fired:

I guess if you ask too many questions then this is considered “insubordination.”  This is what they told me that last day in the main office.  The manager was rabid, spitting the allegations with foaming-mouthed contempt.  She really appeared to hate me.

The HR lady sat with her arms folded, eyes fixed on the table, her long hair obscuring her face. I kept looking at her in disbelief.  I wanted eye-contact. I wanted her to look at me.  But she didn’t.  Not directly.  I couldn’t be mad at her.  She clearly looked like she wanted the world to swallow her.

So I left.  I went home, rattled. I called my boyfriend and told him. I was trembling.  I paced.  I turned on the computer. I paced.  I checked the online classifieds.  I couldn’t read. I paced.  A single mom with no income.  How was I going to take care of my son?  There are Food Stamps, yes …… I paced.  I had money in savings. I could pay three month’s worth of rent.  I might need to tap my mother for help.  Would I even get Unemployment if I was fired?  Finally ….after an hour of this outrageousness, I prayed.  I knelt and prayed and prayed with all of my might.  I prayed with tight hands and clenched teeth.  I prayed and surrendered — fully surrendered.  I replayed the meeting in my head and should have said …. no.  No.  I prayed. It’s over.  No more “should haves.”  I’m powerless over the past. I prayed.  A wave of calm washed over me and I felt totally bathed in a sense of “EVERYTHING will be okay.  Everything.”

Being rattled came and went.  But I was adrift on this wave of calm.  I kept referring to it.  It was powerful.

Unemployment:

Staying home and looking for a job is hard work — not physically, of course.  Just mentally & emotionally.  It’s also unfulfilling work.  I sent my resume to one agency and they promptly wrote back:  “we need this in a PDF format. ”  Nothing else.  No encouragement.

The lady at the Unemployment office was outraged by what happened.  She shook her head and kept saying “Really?” in an incredulous voice.  She filled out the paperwork for me and told me to call in my hours every week. I did. And?  The agency  I had worked for appeared to be fighting my Unemployment.

When the state called and asked questions I told the man with the Boston accent, “this is what happened:  ___________, and I have an email …. shall I fax it to you?”  He said yes to all of these instances and offers to fax him the documentation I had collected.  I faxed him a 16-page bundle of documents.  My Unemployment was direct-deposited the following day, retroactive after nearly 1 month.

Where is our cast of characters NOW?

Meanwhile?  That lady who wished to climb the ranks without a college education, without doing anything remarkable to earn it (except lie and be malicious) got my job.

I won’t say too much about the job or where it is…… after 1.5 years …… because I don’t want to hurt the agency which seems like a seedling in the thawing  ice trying to grow back to its once beautiful self.    Really, they appear to have righted some wrongs.

The program manager lost her job (though she got a pretty little cushy layoff), and the Executive Director of the whole agency lost his.  He received a nice column in the paper interwoven with nostalgia for his decade-plus of service.  But I found out he was fired…… for misappropriation of funds.  I’m sure that nice column in the paper will get him a nice job elsewhere with little more than a handshake and a smile.

Even though they left with halos in the public eye and I had this scarlet letter …… this big red F for Fired ……. I was able to move on emotionally.  I was just genuinely happy that their corrupt and unethical  influence was gone, that the clients I loved and the staff that was like family were now “safe.”

That lady?  The one who made crazy allegations and got away with it and got my job?   She kept working there.   That drove me crazy.  On many job applications there is small print stating that lying on an application is grounds for dismissal (or for not being hired in the first place).  What she did to me (and to others) was tantamount to lying on a job application …… except worse because it hurt others and was not simply an act of self-promotion.  I seethed.  Oh, I seethed.

Resentment:

I struggled with a resentment.  I would pray it away and would do well for months and then someone would mention her, or I would see her name in an email CC’ed among many, or I would see someone who looked like her, or someone would mention the work-site in question …….. and there I’d go again.  I would fantasize about getting her fired.  I’d fantasize of enormous hardships in her life. I’d fantasize about all sorts of things, and it would always end with me encountering her somewhere and giving her a big Cheshire-cat grin except more smug, my arms folded, nostrils flaring, and my foot tapping.

Then it would occur to me to pray again …….. but it was too fun living in this maniacal fantasy world where I telepathically tortured her.  When I realized its impact on my serenity – and reminded myself that resentments are like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die — I would pray for her.  I would pray for God’s will for her, accepting whatever that will was.  Maybe she WOULD get fired (in God’s time, not mine).  Maybe she would win the lottery and move to Fiji.  Whatever. I accepted it all.  Then I’d be back on the beam.  Then back off of it.  Then back on it.  It was nauseating.  All this back and forth nearly drove me to Dramamine.

One week ago I spoke to my sponsor about it again.  He acknowledged that what happened really was not fair.  When it first happened he told me:  “expecting the world to treat you fairly just because you’re doing the right things is like expecting a bull not to charge you because you’re vegetarian.”  He’s right.  He asked if I can make the distinction between forgiving and forgetting , how this is something I probably can’t – and shouldn’t – forget.  I let him know that I know the difference.  This is more than remembering.  He recommended a step 4 on it, like in the Big Book.  So I started my flow chart of seething.

Her actions affected my sense of security [Fear: might this happen again?….. who knew that a lady doing a good job could get fired in an incredibly hostile way?]    Her actions affected my pride [Fear:  I am not always in control, good , bad or indifferent]……  my self-esteem [Fear: can’t I take care of myself and prevent things such as this?]…. Her actions affected my …… perfectionism! [Fear:  I now have this termination on my resume].

But all in all?  It was a control issue.  She ultimately “won” and had the upper hand and THAT is what was killing me.  Was I accepting that maybe this was God’s will?  No.  Was I accepting that maybe she …. in all her inglorious evil and sicknesses …. went AGAINST God’s will?  And that maybe in His infinite wisdom He knew she would do that and put me in her path for a reason?  No.

My conversation started with my sponsor on Friday. I did work on it over the weekend.

Monday? I got the call I have fantasized about this entire time.  She was fired.

A triumphant smile crept across my face.  I felt relieved.  “Yesssss,” I whispered.   I felt like the universe had somehow been restored.  I felt a renewed belief in humanity, that the agency I mentioned was done being complicit in bullshit.

The feeling ebbed as quickly as it had arrived.  I felt sorry for her.  No. I REALLY did.

It’s a couple of weeks before Christmas and this lady has a child.   Did that child make bad decisions or any other thing to deserve this?  Nope.  And that’s where my program is weak and can have holes punched in it:  children.  I have to remember God has a plan for children, too.

I felt sorry that she hadn’t learned anything, that she hadn’t “risen to the occasion” and done good work there.  The allegations against her are pretty serious and I’d even daresay scandalous.  I felt sad that the clients I loved so much were exposed to someone so unethical, cruel and perhaps even dangerous.  I felt sad …….. flooded with sadness.  That feeling has not gone away.

What I Wish I Had Done Differently:

* I wish I had been able to continue to look on the bright side.  *

1.  Did I REALLY wish to still be there when the upper management was taken down?  To still be there I would have had to have participated.  Is that who I wanted to be?

2.  My termination was a catalyst to my life improving.  I work for a GREAT agency now.  The governor recognized them a couple of years ago as being among the top ten list of “best companies” to work for in the state.  I was hired for 30 hours/week [not what I wanted, but the pay is better than Unemployment!] and my take-home pay is similar to what it was at that other place.  Working 30 hours permitted me to finish my education.  I needed to do an internship and I did it with this agency.  I learned more there than I might have at other places.

3.  Did I REALLY wish to still be there today?  I would have worked alongside this woman for the past 1.5 years and witnessed her in heartbreaking action?  No.

4.  Last but not least:  God had a plan for me.  I learned MANY lessons from this.  Would I trade that back?  No.  No.  No.

* I wish my forgiveness came before her being fired.  Was there really a need for “justice” to have closure or was I working toward closure anyway?  I don’t know.  I do know that I’ve wrestled with this for 1 1/2 years and wish I dealt with it sooner, using things I had already learned.  * 

In the Big Book it says in Chapter 5/Step 4:

“This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.’

“We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn’t treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.”

I never found that caliber of sustained tolerance for her.  On my best day, I would feel that tolerance for a few minutes.

So here I am, examining where I went wrong and how I can do better (beginning with remembering that I’m a human being with human failings).  Hopefully this never happens again!  I’m praying for knowledge of God’s will for me and the power to carry it out.   Sometimes if I don’t “get” the lesson, it is repeated.  Hopefully I’ll “get it.”

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All The Lonely People …..

On “Thanksgiving Eve” I felt pretty sick.  I needed my meds from the pharmacy and opted for drive-thru service since wading through the crowds at CVS was something I wasn’t up to.

A white car idled at the window in front of me and I pushed around the debris in my purse to get my wallet.  I could hear the muffled lady’s voice yakking with the Pharmacy Tech at the window.  I thumbed through my wallet and pulled out some cash and my CVS Care Card.  Thunder bellowed through my bowels.  I wanted to get home to the bathroom, to the safety and certainty of being NEAR a bathroom.  The white car continued to idle at the window.  The lady accepted the clipboard from the Pharmacy Tech, left her signature on the appropriate line, and handed it back.  My stomach grumbled menacingly.   The staff handed her the blue & white bags.  Happy this transaction was over, I waited for the car to pull forward.  It didn’t.

I could see the driver’s profile smiling at the man in the window.  Through the low music of my radio and over the hum of my car’s idling engine, I could hear the lady’s words.  I picked up on bits such as “big plans tomorrow?” and “I hope you’re not working.”  She tilted her head to the side and smiled, telling the man about a pie she plans to bake.  My stomach, as if alarmed by this, belched inside and sputtered.  Glaring at the white car ahead of me, I was dreaming of ramming her back bumper.  I was telepathically screaming “GO!  LEAVE!  BE GONE!!!”

A male voice murmured from the window and the lady smiled and nodded.  Her arm slipped through her open window and hugged the car door as she leaned toward him, listening and smiling.  My stomach lurched inside and I clutched it, promising if it behaved it could unload in just a few minutes.  Just a few minutes.

The banter continued.  A car pulled up behind me.  I glanced at the clock.   I had been sitting here for nearly ten minutes.

“…. yeah, pecan,” she smiled.

She talked about her meds.  It wasn’t a question about how to take them or anything having to do with the transaction. It was about the medication she had been taking before and how it made her tired.  I was getting tired.  I thought about pulling to the front and waddling through the mob I imagined inside, judging by the cars parked out front.  It just wasn’t worth it to sit here and be aggravated.  But then I was afraid of the potential for diarrhea.  I was afraid I would be trapped in a longer line.  This lady HAD to be done.  Surely deliverance was on the horizon.   Surely she had glanced in her side-view mirror at some point and saw people were waiting.

Mentally I was screaming, “Can’t you see you’re not the only f**kin’ person who needs their medications before Thanksgiving?”

Nodding and smiling, her head bobbing like a fishing lure that caught something big, she continued babbling about pies and expired medications and now her bunion .

I closed my eyes for a second and prayed for her.  I could almost hear my sponsor’s voice advising it.  I had my cell phone.  Maybe I ought to call someone from the program.   My mind racing, I mumbled the Serenity Prayer and mentally took inventory of ……. the meds I had at home.  Maybe this could wait til Friday.  But I couldn’t be sure and some of them were for my son.  He was going out of town.

I opened my eyes.  White car still sitting there.  Driver still yapping.  My fingers tightened around my steering wheel.  I started silently judging her:  selfish, self-absorbed, oblivious, stupid, chatterbox…….. all these angry, ugly words spewed in rapidfire grunts.

I was dimly aware of the radio announcer announcing what had been and what was to come:  Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles.  The music blended in and the announcer faded out.

“Ahhh, look at all the lonely people.  Ahhh, look at all the lonely people……..”

Just then?  I realized I was possibly looking at all the lonely people.  Certainly there was one in the white car.  Possibly one in the CVS window.   Perhaps, on this Thanksgiving Eve, this would be this lady’s last interaction until the holiday was over.  Maybe there would be a hasty visit from a grown child who was eating a small turkey breast with her out of obligation and little more.  Perhaps she has a spouse with Alzheimer’s and being with him and his dim recollections is worse than being alone.   Maybe she was just lonely.

And I sat there.  My grasp on the wheel loosened and I listened to the song.  My stomach rumbled periodically and I admonished it to shut up.

On Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day, I stayed home with my thundering stomach while my family went out and enjoyed a big feast. I knew they would be back. I knew they were sorry I wasn’t there — that I was wanted somewhere.  I was thankful for this, for my house being a home, that I have Chicken & Rice Soup for the tum’, and …….. that I could hear my Higher Power speaking to me through the radio.  My hastily mumbled prayer had been answered.   I was also thankful for that patient and kind Pharmacy Tech whose name tag read “Josh” for doing more than dispensing meds to this lady and making her evening a little happier and meaningful while the cars piled up behind her.  He had all the time in the world.

 

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places — (Pursuing Sponsorship )

My respect for the concept of sponsorship waned and ebbed in the fall of 2002 – and in the following 2 years.

I remember Detective Sipowicz on NYPD Blue being a crusty, cool, seasoned New York cop.

His latent alcoholism would sometimes rise out of nowhere and I remember one scene in which he was in a telephone booth looking shell- shocked.  Rain droplets condensed on the glass, filtering red cursive neon lights that said ….. well, you could imagine.  No free advertising for Budweiser there.  He was calling his sponsor.  To talk him off his ledge.  The sponsor didn’t answer and he hung up.  The hanging up of the phone was sadly ceremonious, stabbingly poignant.  Off he went into the rain toward the neon light.

THAT is how I perceived sponsorship.  Someone to talk you off your ledge.  I didn’t plan to drink again, so this was completely unnecessary.  My mother agreed.

“You’re stronger,” she would say proudly.  “You don’t need that like the others do.”

[Oooooo, how dangerous.  I delighted in this…. ’cause she was right, I thought!  DAMN right.]

But then in meetings I would see people celebrate.  I would see the camaraderie between the sponsor and sponsee as they sat in the front of the room together.   They would enter the rooms together, they would sit together, they would drive away together …… it was a bond I envied.

Occasionally I would listen to a lady and admire her.  Usually it was the angriest of the lot, the most outspoken of the lot. I believed them. I didn’t believe the others, the far-flung hippies and their wannabe gratitude.   Sometimes I would sourly think of A.A. as a “which of us sounds the BEST contest.”  Whoever projected the most serenity would WIN.  The grand prize would be people coming up to them at the end to praise them.  I would fold my arms and resent them and their bullshit.

They say the worst punishment for the liar is not that people don’t believe him, but that he doesn’t believe other people.  I spent my life bullshitting people and I didn’t experience gratitude myself so I could NOT believe in it.  I did not experience serenity myself so I could NOT believe in it.  What I believed in was anger, contempt, rebellion, shit-starting, verbal warfare (’cause I didn’t FIGHT anymore), rage, sarcasm, and melancholy.

So when I found those rare diamonds in the rough – the vocal and angry ones, preferably with some bitterness mixed in – I was drawn to them like a moth to a flame.

One such lady was very brash and outspoken.  She took issue with nearly everything in the readings.  She would complain incessantly about how shitty life is.  She swore.  She made no apologies. I loved her.  This was the no-bullshit drill sergeant I needed.  I was working up the nerve to ask her.  She was sitting a few seats away from me and the reading of the day had to do with sponsorship.

“I’m NEVER going to sponsor anyone.  It’s crap!” She started.  She was skinny and wore lots of makeup and looked as angry as she sounded.  Her eyes darted around the table, psychically daring anyone to argue with her.  “I don’t need anyone calling me in the middle of the night!!!”

Insert record-scratching sound here.  This wasn’t worth pursuing.  I pouted and stared at the table.  I couldn’t hear what she was saying.  I wondered if I asked her — not tonight, obviously — if maybe she would be flattered enough to forget her commitment to not sponsoring anyone.  I remembered having 2 months and relapsing. I never ever thought I’d get those two months back. I mentioned this to her one day when we were out smoking.

“Well?  Those two months are gone. ”  She spat the words sans sympathy.  I loved it. I needed this.  NO bullshit.

But it wasn’t worth pursuing.  She was out of the question.  Some years later I went to her anniversary — she was way less angry and far more spiritual.  She was celebrating 5 years.  Doing the math, I realized she only had a handful more months than me.  When I was tinkering with the notion of her being my sponsor, she was about 4 months sober.

The next lady was funny.  She was jolly.  She sparkled.  She had sarcasm and was less angry than the lady above, but there was some underlying anger I was drawn to.  During a break, she made fun of someone and their gratitude. YES.  She GETS it.  Where I had been tinkering with the idea, it was now a burning need.  It was my destiny.  She mentioned a trip, a two-week vacation.  Settling myself down, I committed myself to asking her upon her return.  I  finally saw her nearly 10 years later.    She was speaking at a meeting (visiting from out of town) and now had a year and a half.  That’s why she never came back.   But I was on to something.  She had had 14 years before – and surely she must have learned something in that time – and she sounds great with what she has now. I’m SO thrilled to see her again.

I asked another lady who led a Bible study.  She was a departure from the people I normally asked, but there was definitely something negative about her when she shared.  She shared her struggles and I loved her for that.  Looking back, I realize she always had struggles and they were always the same.  I thought I was hot shit for wanting to ask her.  She had 23 years. I had been to her anniversary the year prior.   Now I had her phone number. I called her and she would listen to my problems and mention a Bible passage — she wasn’t a Bible-thumper. I would have hated that.  No, she was very intellectual and discussed the Bible as a metaphor and would use its literary works as a means of reflection and finding sound advice.  It was different.  I liked it.   By now I was more open-minded about the whole Higher Power thing and I was desperately looking for something and didn’t know what.  The Bible seemed like something to invest some time in.

Finally I worked up the nerve to ask her on the phone.  She was silent.

“Are you there?” I queried.

“Yes.  I …. I don’t have enough time.”

“Oh.  I understand if you’re busy,” I stammered apologetically, wishing I hadn’t asked.  Here was that feeling again:  rejection.

“No.  I mean …. I don’t have enough time.  I have a psychiatrist and he didn’t think I was an alcoholic so I did some controlled drinking under his supervision ……..”  she continued to explain but I couldn’t hear her.

“I’m sorry,” I stammered. I felt embarrassed for her and for me.  The “for me” part was the worst.

“No.  I mean, we could sponsor each other?”  Her voice pleaded.  “I don’t have a sponsor either.”

That stung.  How could a woman who had 23 years go back out?  How could a psychiatrist encourage such a thing?  What would she want from me? I can’t sponsor anyone.

Back to the drawing board.

Another lady who I admired to pieces and was the least angry was someone I considered for the job.   At this point, I was pretty sure I didn’t need to be talked off of a ledge …. but I was tired of people asking if I have a sponsor and saying no.  I was even more tired of the look they would give me after …. or the “speech.”  Or their cliches ….”it’s a ‘We’ program” was one that burned my ass the most.  So when I started to admire this lady I was going to seize the moment.  She was on the opposite side of the room.  Someone talked to me.  She was talking to someone else, turning her back to me.  I kept my eyes fixed on her.  I swear you could almost see lasers coming from my eyes and smoke billowing from her back.  The person talking to me had some things to vent about.  I didn’t hear a word, but nodded and tried to keep a considerate look on my face.  I was consumed wondering where she was.  And she was gone.  She faded with the smell of the discarded coffee.

The next time I saw her was three months later.  She sat wobbily in the back of a meeting with two ladies who looked alarmed.  She would slur things loudly and laugh slowly.  The two ladies looked increasingly distressed.   The sick thing was — I now wished I had asked her to be my sponsor.  Maybe she would have stayed sober.

My sponsor celebrated his anniversary.  Yea.  HIS.  Let me finish.   He has a calm about him – everyone seems to notice him.  He kicks me off my pedestal when I get to be “too big” and he builds me up when I feel too small …. and he wears Harley boots, Harley bandannas and leather jackets.   He rides a hog and has a soft smile and an easy chuckle.  During his anniversary that night, he mentioned a woman he sponsors.  That gave me an idea.

Taking Care of Myself …..

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in this here blog before, but I have Lyme Disease (I have another blog about that called Bloody Lymey).  I was diagnosed in 2008 and the specialist I ultimately saw thought I had it for 2-3 years by that point (based on the progression).  I was reflecting today on how lucky I am for this, as lucky as I am to be an alcoholic.

I always used to hate it when people said they were grateful to be an alcoholic and I might have been darned near homicidal if I heard someone say they were also grateful for another chronic illness.

So whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

1.  Why I’m grateful to be an alcoholic:  Well, it brought me to A.A.  And A.A. gave me a new skills set, coping mechanisms, tools for this journey we call life.  [I’m cringing as I write this since it sounds so hokey, but …. it’s also very true].  Because I’m an alcoholic, I’m far less judgmental.  What’s that they say about casting the first stone?  Something about being without sin?  As an alcoholic, I’ve just about done it all.  It’s hard to frown upon other people even if their life choices might be glaringly obviously BAD mistakes.  I’m more tolerant.  I’m more patient. I’m more kind.  I’m more understanding.  It’s given me a new caliber of compassion.  It caused me enough pain to ask for help and I learned alcohol wasn’t the problem – I was.  And in seeking help for my alcoholism, it made me seek treatment for being ME.

2.  Why I’m grateful to have Lyme Disease:  Already fairly established in A.A. with a foundation built in the steps, it deepened my program.  I learned more about staying off the pity pot and removing the victim mentality.  It helped me with another facet of compassion, mostly with people with physical problems.  It taught me even more about self-forgetting, how to think of others and “get out of myself.”  It taught me the importance of service work and staying useful. Today I work with people with disabilities of all sorts.  My alcoholism helps me understand the ones with mental disabilities.  My Lyme Disease helps me understand those with physical ones.  I also have a deeper understanding of the mental toil that chronic pain puts a person through.  I had no idea the peculiar thought processes that go with it.  It taught me even more about patience and God’s Will.  It deepened my relationship with my Higher Power as I understand Him.   It strengthened my faith.    The experience taught me to live life more deeply, to love more fully.  When I’m feeling GOOD, I don’t put off doing something fun so I can laze on the couch and lie to myself, telling me “I’ll do that tomorrow.” I am way more about seizing the day.  Carpe Diem.    Because I honestly don’t KNOW with a capital K if I CAN “do that tomorrow.”  I might not have a chance again for weeks, months, years.  Or I might have a 10-month remission like I did in 2009/2010.  There’s no knowing.  Procrastination was a nagging character defect, and Lyme helped me with it.  I still have work to do.  I still have to work on household chores and such  – I can blow that off.  It’s easy after being sick for some weeks to need to “get in the swing again.”

So why I’m grateful today:  if I hadn’t gotten help with my alcoholism, I never would have gotten help with Lyme Disease. I wouldn’t have had the skills to advocate for myself.  In some twisted death wish, I might have “let it go.”  Particularly when it was going for my heart.   I might be laying crippled on the couch right now, depending on someone to do me a packy run and using guilt or whatever tactic to coerce them into meeting MY will.  I also probably would have been a pill-seeker.  Honestly, this combination of different pains would have brought in quite some med-cocktails.

Thank God it’s not like that today.  Turning a different corner some years ago, and I might be a vegetable today.  As bad as Lyme Disease SUCKS sometimes – the fatigue is epic, the pain is immeasurable at times, and the fear I sometimes feel for the future feels unconquerable – I believe it is necessary for my spiritual growth.  And I say that on days I’m in very bad pain.

Being a Real MOTHER on Mother’s Day

I can’t help but think of a major life lesson when I think of Mother’s Day. Thanks to my sponsor. Love you. 🙂

Bloody Lymey

I called my sponsor. The pain was severe and I still wasn’t sure what was wrong with me.

My sponsor is a short, older biker dude. In AA it’s unusual for a lady to have a male sponsor and vice versa. They always say men stick with the men, women stick with the women. I never understood that until long after I chose my sponsor. Have you ever gone to a bar and said hi to someone of the opposite sex? And then they thought they were going home with you? Yes. That still happens in AA. I get it. But there’s never been anything improper with Mike O. Never.

I called him on Mother’s Day and whined about the pain and they don’t know what’s wrong and when will this ever end and I can’t stand it ….

He chuckled in the way he always does when I have…

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