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  • gemdropper
    Kary May on What Happens When the Carnival Leaves Town

    We had a discussion tonight at Abs Chat about being bored when you quit drinking and I told the group that when I quit drinking, I really didn't know what to do with myself because drinking was what I did. At the end of my drinking, it's just about all I did.

    Drinking is fun. It's like going to the carnival when you're a teenager. You hang out with your friends and there is an exaggerated sense of everything. The colors, the noises, the thrills, even the food. I don't know about you, but when I was a teenager, I went to the carnival every night when it was in town. But eventually, the carnival would leave town and I'd miss it, but I'd be okay with it. I could still go about my life and still have fun, just not the kind of fun that I had at the carnival.

    As an adult, I could go to the carnival every night by drinking if I wanted, and I did. I went so often for so long, that when I quit drinking, I didn't know how to have fun or even enjoy normal life without the booze. Everything seemed dull and flat, because all I'd known was the carnival atmosphere of drinking. After almost 5 years of abs, I still miss it sometimes and I've never had that level of fun since. But...the memory of the carnival eventually faded and I began to appreciate everyday things again. The normal colors of life started to glow again because they weren't obliterated by the garish neon of the carnival. I found solace in the muted colors of the real world and when I think of the carnival these days, I kind of shudder and am glad that it left.

    It doesn't happen overnight or even in 30 days, the memories of what the carnival is like are still too vivid, but, if you spend enough time away, and, if you make yourself learn to live life in sobriety, either through moderation or abstinence, you won't be bored. The key word in that sentence is, "learn" because, if you're like I was, you have to learn all over again how to live a life outside the carnival. It requires constant exploration, and trial and error, and trying on a whole bunch of new activities and interests to see if any of them fit. At first it feels as though you're just going through the motions, but eventually life becomes a comfortable place and you look up one day and realize you don't miss the carnival much anymore at all.


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  • Just Plain Phil
    More Rewarding Activities

    Posted this last night on the main list. Sorry - should have posted it here, too.

    My wife has wanted a fireplace her whole life. Finally, a property she inherited from her dad sold after many, many years, and she has the money to buy one. After all the shopping, Googling, planning, choosing, ordering, paying, and waiting, they came today for part one of the install. We have a real wood-burning fireplace now, immediately converted to beautiful gas logs. Even though all we see today is the beautiful fireplace surrounded by naked sheet rock that hasn't yet been mudded, taped, painted on the side and had stone applied on the front, it's just beautiful. Our two Golden retrievers are asleep on the rug in front of the fire. All the windows are open because it's really not cold enough for a fire, but we don't care. I just got home from choir rehearsal, DW is watching Dancing with the Stars, and I just couldn't be happier. If I took a picture, somebody would swear it was a Norman Rockwell painting. We are having our one and only drinks of the day. I could tell you of other fireplaces, and many, many more drinks, but that is not for tonight.

    The metaphors one could come up with are nearly infinite. Beautiful fireplace, ugly Sheetrock, soon to be smoothed over with mud and tape and paint and stone, how many of us have such beauty and ugliness mixed altogether and covered over, sometimes in stone? My imagination runs wild with other comparisons to life, mine and others, but I leave you, my friends, to come up with even more on your own.

    OK, maybe just one more. I sit in front of a burbling fireplace once again, all content, warm and happy. It is not unlike the feeling I get when I read the many comforting, helpful posts on list and in the Forum. It is as if we are all sitting in my living room, warm, helped, serene, keeping each other company on this journey to sobriety and good life.

    Good night, all. Be well.

    Just Plain Phil

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  • gemdropper
    Kary May's classic "Enough"

    I know that if I took the time to scroll back through my blogs, I'd find at least one that was titled "Enough". It's funny how "enough" has cloaked itself in new meaning. Back then, "enough" wore a dark cape of sickness and despair and self-loathing. "Hadn't I had enough?" "Enough, already!" "Enough, I can't take this anymore!"

    And now?

    I woke up at about 5:00 am this morning, my bed was warm and snuggly but I wanted to get up and watch the sun come up. I rolled over and gave the cap'n a kiss on the shoulder, there was a little tussle because he wanted me to stay in bed and "snuggle". (Snuggle has a lot of different meanings, too.) But I persisted and jumped out of bed, gathered up Mr. Stanley and headed down stairs.

    The birds were sending forth the first timid notes of the morning as I let Stanley out to do his business, it was still a little dark so I plugged in the Christmas tree lights. I love Christmas tree lights. I grabbed my rosary and headed down the steps to the beach.

    The sand is cold and wet between my toes and there is just a faint pink hue over the buildings of Yucalpeten as I head east. I am alone, except for the pelicans and tiny sandpipers that dart back and forth in a zig-zag as the waters of El Golfo lap in and then recede. The purple beads of my rosary catch the faint morning light as they sway from my hand.

    My Sunday rosary is supposed to be one of gratitude but I always manage to insert a few pleas in amongst the "thank you's". Thank you, but please, could I have a little more, a little less, something different?

    When I came to the decade of Hail Mary's that I was offering up in thanksgiving for my sobriety, I said, "Thank you for my sobriety, without it I have nothing, please will you continue to allow me to see it as the gift that it is so that I will always treasure it, so that I won't throw it away."

    My Co-writer just shook his head and spread his hands and said, "Isn't this enough? What more do you want?"

    And I thought about my warm bed, my skirmish with the cap'n amongst the soft sheets, Mr. Stan's eager to see me (even if he is blind) wiggly body, the twinkly Christmas lights, the birdsong, the pink morning beach, the pelican bobbing in the waves, the kiss of cool dawn sea breeze on my cheek and the warmth of the rising sun on my shoulders.

    Yes, it is enough.

    Thank you.

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  • gemdropper
    Gloria on adding love, nominated by Kurt

    As I have started this journey to healing, I knew it would be so much
    more than just getting my drinking under control. I knew that under that
    surface lay murky and twisted depths that I had denied to look into for
    a long time. To find healing, for me, meant to stop being so afraid to
    look into that depth and somehow find peace with it.

    The peace came to me from something I keep going on about now and again,
    it is love versus fear. Finding love for myself for the first time in my
    entire life has done this. It has set me free to come out from a life of
    shadows and misery. It is like rain to a desert and barren place. I get
    excited to share things I discover along the way because I think
    everyone in the world needs to find this amazing love for themselves.
    All of you deserve to know how amazing you are and how worthy you are of
    your own love, compassion and forgiveness!

    I found a quote by Rumi - “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to
    seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built
    against it.”

    I think that says something profound. I would also like to add to Rumi,
    our task is not to seek love, it is to be love.

    To really find love, as cliche as it is, you have to be love, you have
    to first love yourself and then it will overflow to others. To love
    yourself, you have to overcome those barriers of shame and self
    loathing. What I have also found is to find that love for myself, I have
    had to spent time with myself, time with a mind not altered by the
    effects of alcohol or anything else. I have had to look at myself with a
    clear mind and without judgment.

    I think love makes everything easier and more splendid. We can force
    many things that will come easy if we apply love to them, and that is
    what I found for mods and abs too. Add love, the natural reaction will
    be to make loving, healthy decisions for yourself.

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  • gemdropper
    colparker on The Truth of Joy, nominated by Kary May

    Let us live most happily, possessing nothing;
    let us feed on joy like radiant gods.
    Buddha - Dhammapada

    When I first came to MM the big attraction was that I wanted to
    be able to drink as much as I wanted without any negative effects.
    I was suffering badly from it as was everyone around me. So much
    of my life has been seeking to escape suffering. Or at least get to
    a place where I didn't feel it. It is a starting place. The place where
    I begin to rise. It is like pushing myself up off the ground. But there
    has to be something attractive that keeps me going. That is where
    joy comes in.

    So how do we find joy in our lives ? For me, I look. I begin to see
    many, many small things that bring me happiness. When you begin
    to look for joy in your life you begin to see it everywhere. Try it. Notice
    people that are smiling and laughing around you. Notice when you smile.
    Think about what is going on at that moment. Usually for me I am very
    present then, not off in the future or back in the past. At those moments
    I feel connected. I feel a part of a bigger thing. Not just my small self.
    I have found that joy also comes as a response to the practice of loving

    I noticed two things in last nights abs chat. One thing we talked about was
    craving. There were about 10 people in chat. As each of us excitedly talked
    about how we got past cravings and shared our ideas I noticed that the person
    who was craving began to loosen the grip that craving has. At another point some
    really painful things and fears were shared and that loosened the grip
    even further. Notice that both were eased by stepping out of the small self and
    into the larger community.

    Joy is the ease of well being. It comes from accepting all the conditions of life.
    What is your practice of joy ? Do you cultivate it in your life ? I would really love
    to hear how you go about it.

    When suffering overwhelms me
    I will breathe in
    and leave an opening in this moment
    for the joy that lies just behind it.

    Philip Martin

    “First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
    ~ Charles C. Noble

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  • gemdropper
    started a topic More Rewarding Activities

    More Rewarding Activities

    donnie on Life, nominated by JJ

    I always think I have a boring life because I never 'do anything exciting.' Maybe I am just tired sometimes.

    This week I strained a lower back muscle at work screaming (I startled a family of mice living in our tool shed and they scattered in all directions and I literally did the screaming yodel thing). Of course no one heard me because I was out in the field. The staff person I was training was impressed with my vocal skills. Trying to figure out how I would write up a workers comp claim. Pulled on a plastic compost frame stored in a wheelbarrow and hundreds of mice began shooting out in all directions. (well, okay, at least 2 or 5) So it was a leaning forward,*pulling, leaping backwards, screaming injury. Who would think that would hurt your lower back muscle?

    Brought my desert tortoise to work and introduced him to a school group. Their favorite part of my presentation? the fact that he defecated in his carrier.

    Lost child found. Eighty year old father using a walker couldn't find fifty year old daughter. She was at the gate waiting for him.

    Source of strange eerie sounds coming from waterfall area? two large men in army fatigues playing a Shofar - (Hebrew instrument made of a ram's horn).

    Box turtle that was found on trail and I brought home two weeks ago, found making a nest in her new enclosure. P.s. I named her Polka Dot before I knew she was a she. I cannot tell you how much more in awe I now am of these animals after watching her dig a hole with her hind feet. It was like watching someone flipping burgers with a spatula. Now image this person standing on her head and doing the same...

    Scrape scrape with left foot, scoop up with right foot, lift and rotate foot and pat dirt on sides of hole. The final nest was approximately 3 inches wide and about 5 inches deep. This animal's hind legs are about 3-1/5 inches fully extended.* Her body is about 4 x 6 inches.
    I didn't get to see whether she actually produced eggs because it was dusk when she started her work.

    Today I might gently dig down to see.

    And now it's Saturday, time to I am invited to attend a Kitten Shower and Glassware Exchange/Potluck. Hostess providing tuna, sardines and champagne. Guests to provide the etc. 10- 2 pm

    I also have two memorial services to choose from: one a graveside service at 12:30 or a Celebration of Life picnic from 12-5 p.m.

    Two funerals and a Kitten Shower?

    still in p.js. trying to figure out whether to mow lawn, cut cat hair mats off cat, get dressed or go back to bed

    yesterday my granddaughter asked me what good was the wind. We were having a little picnic under a large eucalyptus tree and the wind was a bit chilly. I told her the wind helped leaves sing. She got a big smile and said, I didn't know that leaves could sing! Then we all got quiet and listened to the leaves singing. She said they sound like rain. As we went on our nature walk the 5 year old said, when I grow up I'm gonna be a scientist; the 3 year old said she was going to be a fireman.

    Then one of them asked me what I was going to be when I grew up. I asked what they thought I should be. A scientist, because they save animals lives, was the answer.

    My life work is complete.

    Last edited by gemdropper; 05-10-2014, 03:18 PM. Reason: asterisks