All I need is one bottle…

So as I mentioned earlier, I’m leaving tonight on a long journey. The purpose for this trek is to empty my mother-in-law’s house in readiness for its sale, which will close next week. Both my husband’s and my mother have recently entered full time memory care facilities, a sad enough fate. Then there is the clean up to be done. Not a trip I wouldn’t be willing to swap for just about any other, except the one I have coming up in the spring–to empty my own mother’s house.

All this emptying. It’s amazing how fast you can dismantle someone’s life, scattering their possessions to the wind. two formidable matriarchs. Poof! They were here, and then they were gone.

My husband is an only child, having lost his only brother to cancer 2 years ago. I am one of a huge family, so there is plenty of help and support. But neither situation eases the pain of losing a parent to dementia. As I’ve watched these two fine women decline, my mother after 60 years of heavy drinking and my mother-in-law as a teetotaller, I wonder how much difference drinking really makes in the end. Except to the innocent bystanders–us. My children. And those who may come after them.


Anyway, i’m packing, and I’d love a glass, or a bottle, of wine. Which is why I’m writing this.


7 Sober Days and Back to the Skies

So tonight I have to fly, a really long distance, through foreign airports. I am so lucky to fly Business Class, I know that. But those lounges! That kick-off Champagne they hand you as you board every flight! Well, except in America. American air travel is abominable, even in first class. You’re lucky to get water.

What I miss most about wine is the taste. Wine, preferably red, oddly enough, is all I’ve ever liked to drink. Weird, huh? I could sit next to a full bar of expensive single malt scotch and never touch it. I often have. My house has a huge liquor cabinet filled with spirits that I’ve never tasted–we put out a bar for large functions.

So this is the Big Test. This past week has been far easier than I thought it would. I haven’t blogged the last two days because I decided to take weekends off unless I was really in a bad situation. This weekend didn’t present any. (My weekend is Friday and Saturday.)

One day at a time, one hour at a time, etc. Stay out of lounges. Put on Fitbit and walk for exercise (which I actually like to do).

What else can I say? Wish me luck.



Me, Relapse? WTF…

Merriam Webster defines relapse thusly:

RELAPSE. 1 : the act or an instance of backsliding, worsening, or subsiding.  2 : a recurrence of symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement.

“After a period of improvement.” The boldface is my addition. What this says, when applied to disease, is that you are not well, not cured, of your disease. You condition has merely improved. A relapse is a return to a previous disease or condition, not a wholly new experience.

It’s just hitting me now that I’ve started the clock again. I am sad and angry at myself. How did I let this happen? What kind of phoney am I? What the hell happened here?

I never thought I would be cured of alcoholism. After spending 30 days in rehab some 20 years ago and hundreds of hours in the rooms of AA, I know it is impossible for anyone to be cured. We are at best in remission, which we alone control. I did it, one day at a time, for over 16 years.

So why did I pick up? That mystery remains. It will take a lot of soul searching and time to find the answer. The overly confident me will have to yield to the fearful me, and to the maybe just-fed-up me. That’s a lot of “me” to pull together.

Right now I’m just coming to terms with being in recover again. But it is helpful indeed to see these words in print, in a public forum. It doesn’t matter how many people read this blog, it only matters that I keep writing it.



I absolutely believe in miracles. I don’t mean just the spiritual, contemplative miracles or the health miracles that happen every day to alcoholics working their programs, and ordinary people just living their lives. I mean something so great and unexpected it leaves you speechless and smiling. Like winning a lottery or finding a big diamond in the parking lot. And so often this sort of miracle will come along when you are at a low ebb, restoring your faith in everything.

I also believe that Angels cross our path every day, in human form. We often miss them because we are so busy ignoring the good in life, too busy toting up our woes. But I have had too many extraordinary experiences to dismiss the idea that Angels are among us, and that we in turn can step in as Angels when called upon.

My angel arrived tonight over the phone, in the soothing voice of a delightful agent at the US Internal Revenue Service, who spent 3 hours on the phone, over 6 time zones, helping me dig out of an embarrassing and self-inflicted tax mess. For those of you who have even a nodding acquaintance with the IRS, you know the fear, shame, and dread of calling the Service when you’re in the wrong is like a bad hangover. The life draining, mortifying, guilt-inducing dread of the call spreads over you like a dark, unctious coating. You then endure pain and humiliation as past sins are recounted. And after the horror is finally over, you feel ghastly for days afterwards, anxious and vulnerable.

But not me, not today. My Mr. Rizzo was a wizard, full of good advice, positive thinking, and even a bit of humour. Naturally,  I had been putting of this call for months, as if the problems would go away — classic alcoholic behaviour. Safety tip: ignore the IRS at your peril. And peril would be my fate tonight without this kind, clever man’s help. What an immense relief. How humble I feel, in a very good way.

So thank you, Mr. Rizzo, wherever and whoever you are. God bless you. You deserve some wings.

And God bless us all. Day 3 has passed and I am sober.