In this blog you'll find mostly my thoughts and experiences as well as poems in regards to my Al-anon 12-step recovery.
I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to leave me comments.


If someone's drinking, drugging or sobriety is bothering you or if you grew up with drinking or drugs in your home, please find an Al-anon meeting.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An explanation for you. A letter for Jacob.

Most of you know that I am a member of a 12 step program. I don't think I have specified which one. I'll do that now.

I am an active member of Alanon. This is for family and friends of alcoholics. In many cases this also unofficially includes drug addicts. Alanon was created over 55 years ago and was born from the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

This program has saved my life. It has given me an opportunity to have a life that I never dreamed possible. But the single most important thing it has given me is permission to love the alcoholics and addicts in my life.

Most people who have never been affected by or grown up with the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction will not understand this. They will say things like.. Just leave him/her... Throw him/her out...etc. They don't realize that we can't. In many cases it is just not an option.

I am here to tell you that I love many alcoholics and drug addicts. I have many that are family and friends. They are all children of God and are struggling on a daily basis with a disease that's cunning, baffling and powerful. Some have found recovery, some have not and some have died.

Joshua and Jacob. Two boys raised by their father. Grown into men that cared for their father as he aged. Always together... forever taking care of each other.
Two incredible men suffering with the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction.

Joshua was my husbands cousin. He was my family by marriage. I loved him. He has 3 beautiful children. We lost him on January 17th 2008. A gentle giant standing over 7ft tall. He was a musician like his father and his younger brother. He was a loving father and a loyal friend. He was a good man. We lost him to this horrible disease of drug addiction.

He left his children, his younger brother and his father to move forward without him.
He is missed and he is loved. He will forever be remembered by his children.

Jacob, Josh's younger brother. The one I spent the most time with over the years and even more time with after Josh died. Jacob was lost and devastated from Josh's death. I loved him unconditionally with all of my heart. We lost him in the early morning hours of December 22nd 2009. He was a musician, he was an uncle, he was a comedian, he was a loyal friend, he was a bright shining light. He was a good man with a heart of gold. We also lost him to this horrible disease...

I hate this fucking wretched disease!

Shortly after Josh died we had also lost a mutual friend, again to drugs. Such pain and tragedy. Such loss.
I watched Jacob struggle with his addiction, with his loss of Josh. I watched him try and try again to clean up. He stayed with us for periods of time. Because of Alanon we were able to just love him, let him share the secrets of his pain and struggle with us. Not enable him, not do for him what he should do for himself, just love him with acceptance of who he was and where he was.

These last few months things were better. He was no longer using and he had entered AA, had a sponsor and was working toward recovery.
Recovery teaches us that we cant rest on our ass's. We have to stay ever vigilant in our recovery work. It's a daily process. We don't get a quick fix.. We don't get healed. We get a daily reprieve contingent upon our spiritual maintenance.

By nature we are great 'forgetters' and this disease is patient. It waits, it grows, it gets stronger every day. I don't know what happened or why Jacob picked up his drug of choice again. I don't have to know. It doesn't matter now. I couldn't have saved him... but I cant help but wish he had called me or his sponsor or anyone. I am angry that he didn't.

They are both at peace and no longer struggle with this disease. They no longer feel the guilt and the shame that comes with it. God doesn't make junk or garbage. No matter what horrible choices they made, or horrible actions they took. These men were children of God and they were loved!

So what I will say to those that love an alcoholic or drug addict is to remember... This is NOT a choice. This is a disease. A very real one and people struggle and fight and die everyday from it. Including the family and friends. Don't enable them, don't do for them what they should do for themselves but simply love them and know that they are not trying to hurt you. For all the pain you feel watching them struggle know that their pain and guilt is far worse. Lastly, GO TO ALANON: It will save your life!

To the alcoholics and addicts still struggling with the disease, I will say...I understand. I know you're hurting and I know you're baffled. There is help for you and you don't have to do this alone! Please seek help if and when you are ready.

To Jacob,

You were a bright shining light in my life. You held so much love in your heart. Such a special man with a special soul. I know you and Josh are together making music once again. God is holding the both of you. There is no more pain, no more addiction. Your sense of ease and comfort has finally arrived. We spent many nights together. We talked about the disease and we talked about recovery and most times we laughed and laughed. I read to you from the Big Book of AA and also from my favorite book "The Greatest thing in the world" by Henry Drummond. I know you remember. I remember too. Those moments I will hold dear. So I will leave you with the prayer from that book.

*The book can be found here.
"THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not LOVE I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love suffereth long, and is kind;
Love envieth not;
Love vaunteth not itself is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly,
Seeketh not her own,
Is not easily provoked,
Thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.—I COR xiii."

These three remain always Jacob. Faith, hope and Love...And yes the greatest of these is love.

You were loved Jacob! You still are.

Love M.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Retreat Weekend

I wanted to share the big ticket items that stuck out to me this past weekend while attending my retreat. 12 step recovery is a process, a long one.
We aren't bad people, we're just sick people trying to get well.

One of the study leaders, who has 20+yrs in recovery, talked about the distorted thinking that goes on inside our heads.
I learned long ago that my mind is a dangerous place to go after hours. Hence the title of my blog "Magical Magnifying Mind" It's a BAD neighborhood. LOL

My thinking has been so distorted at times that I can no longer tell what's true and what's false.

The leader mentioned something along the lines of: The information in my head, the story I tell myself sounds absolutely correct.

This struck me because I can rationalize anything until it sounds valid and true.
Before recovery of course I had NO IDEA that I was doing this.

Because I am affected by the family disease of alcoholism and my thinking is distorted there is no clear way for my actions to carry out the "absolute correct" story that I have told myself in my head.

My intentions are ALWAYS good. My actions, not always.
What happens is I try and try to force a solution, to manipulate the situation or people around me to be what I think they need to be.

A lot of this behavior is based on old idea's in my head. This brings me to another thing I heard this weekend.
Old idea's are not old if I am still using them today. My thinking is "ILL"ogical and it all becomes useless and out of date junk.
This I heard VERY clearly.

One more time I must take responsibility for my part, for my actions.

I must clear away this old junk, stop using old ideas.
I must surrender, admit that I don't know what is best for everyone else, let alone myself.
Surrender has been defined for me as " The willingness to get better someone else's way"

The good news is that although this still happens, it happens far less now since I am in recovery. If I am willing to rely on a power greater then myself, whom I choose to call God then all things are possible.
If I am willing to take direction from my sponsor and apply the suggestions she gives me to my daily life then I can begin to be changed.

I will never graduate. This is a life long process. I am okay with that.
Progress not perfection is one of our principles.
Thank God for that.

Self-will run riot!

I'm Hurt. You've hurt me.

I retaliate...

I've closed all the doors, the windows are all locked.

God is no where to be found. I've pushed him away.

I'm running the show, but I am dying inside.

Alone and lonely, full of despair.

The walls begin to close in.

Insanity prevails.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One day at a time

When someone else is my problem, my problem is me.

I hate this saying, despise it really.

It forces me to look directly at my expectations of others.
If you're doing something, or have done something to upset me, then I am the one with the problem.
It means that I have placed unrealistic expectations on you and you my friend have not lived up to them.

I am left feeling hurt, disappointed and resentful.

What now?

I have choices.
I can sit in my shit or I can call someone, reach out, ask for help.

The phone can sometimes feel as though it weighs 10,000 lbs.
At times it may take all my strength just to pick it up, dial a number and ask someone for help.
When I finally do, the results are undeniably beneficial.

One phone call can change my whole perception.
With a few simple words the entire situation changes without anything really changing at all.

How easy it is to want to blame others, to wallow in self pity.
Taking responsibility for my part is usually the better option.
Am I ready?

At this moment I don't know...

What I do know in my heart, is that I can walk through anything.
The God I choose to believe in today will walk with me.

I choose to believe that my God loves me more than anything in the world.
If that's what I need, then he will give it to me.
So I will pray for acceptance and understanding.

I can't see the lesson that this current situation holds for me.
I know it's an opportunity for growth, because I am in pain.
We grow when we're in pain.

One day at a time.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Confusion and Contempt

I recognize nothing around me.

My head is spinning, lost in a sea of despair.
I don't understand and communication is no where to be found.

One more time I am left wondering.
One more time left confused.

Life doesn't have to be this hard does it?




....On my ass once again!

Expectation and disappointment surround me, a rejected child.
Cast aside, I don't fit in.

Contempt prior to investigation is my crime.
Anger is my friend, conflict is a fear I have yet to face.

I am different from you...Will I ever be considered the same?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The 7 deadly sins

This weekend my 12 step recovery retreat ended with a discussion of how they apply to my character defects and or flaws if that makes you more comfortable.

The 7 Deadly Sins:


I was asked to examine my most glaring character defects and determine which ones point directly to one of the deadly sins.

My glaring character defects:

Attention Seeking
A need to be right

So out of these I was puzzled. They can point to all of the 7 sins really.
When I tried to identify only one it lead me to another.

What I finally settled on was:

I want everything, expect everything.
I fear I may lose something I have or wont get something I want.
I become focused on what I want to do at that moment and I neglect basic responsibilities like housework and sometimes large responsibilities like my husband, Kids or Work.

No matter what it all comes back to self... Selfish and self-centered.
This lead me to Greed. I want what I want when I want it...

I lived that way for a long time. Now I work really hard to not think or behave that way. It's not easy and I will never master it or be perfect.
Progress not perfection.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

One Moment

I will never have another moment exactly like this one.

In seconds and inches time passes and I move forward.

I can look back but I must not stare. What's happened is gone, never to be again.

Bloom where you are planted I hear you say.

If I stay in today I have choices.
Today is all I have.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Where am I? What the hell am I doing?
I seem to have fallen off the beam... AGAIN!

There is a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach that wont go away.
I am restless, irritable and discontent.
I cant stand to be inside my own skin.

I am standing on the outside of a window looking in. I can see everyone inside.
They all seem happy. Why can I not be?

I feel my old familiar friend disappointment.
He is thick in my veins. Drowning my thoughts and clouding my vision.

I am such a great for-getter, but what I forget for a while always returns..
I am reminded one more time
When someone else is my problem, my problem is me.

Damn it... It ALWAYS comes back to me.

It was so much easier when I could just blame it on you...When I believed it was all your fault.
So much easier when I could just say "FUCK YOU" Look what you did to me?
Look how you hurt me? Turn my back, walk away.

But that doesn't work, it never has...It only further isolates me.

Here I am. Sitting in my shit!
I am not ready to climb out of it yet. Its still warm and familiar.
I think I will stay a bit longer.
At least until my fingers get pruney.

Soon enough the willingness will return.
I will stand up, take a shower, get back on the beam and begin again.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My God Sized Hole.

Darkness and emptiness overwhelm me.

I cant stand this feeling. Being inside my own skin is hell.
I am empty.
I cannot breathe.

I love you and hate you at the same time.
I hate myself always.
I despise what I have become.
You give me nothing and everything and it is never enough.

I am left with feelings of doubt and self loathing.
Alone in my mind wondering what I did wrong.
How can I make it better? How can I make you love me more.

You wont give me an inch for fear that I will take a mile.
You are right, I will take a mile.
I will take everything you are.
I will bleed you dry and it will never be enough.
You can never be enough.

My insides are empty.
I have no idea who I am or what I want to be.

Are you the next victim?
Will you be the one that is enough to make me feel OK in my own skin?

The ones that have come before you have all fallen short.

Are you willing to risk everything that you are; to be bled dry in hopes that you are enough?
Will you try and fill up my God sized hole; the hole that resides where my heart used to be?

Are you my new God?

The saner side of the street

Buckle up, this is a long one. Many of you know how long winded I can be. *wink*

Some of you may have seen on my profile that I am a member of a 12step recovery program. Its called Alanon. If you don't know what that is then I encourage you to Google it. If you qualify then it will change your life. For those members of 12 step recovery out there that may read this.. A BIG HELLO!


All I have is my experience, strength and hope to share. Everything I am about to write is simply my opinion. Take it for what it is worth to you.

I went to a recovery workshop today. It was on the 10th step. (there are 12 total)

The first 9 steps some would consider to be action steps. The last 3 are maintenance steps. I can explain more about the steps and how they work another time. For now I want to talk about the
10th step.

Step 10 says: "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it."

Let me explain what this is saying.
Step 10 gives me a chance to review my actions of the day and when I am wrong or have behaved badly it directs me to make amends for that behavior. AMENDS? Eeep...

You guessed it! This is where I get to go clean up whatever mess I made that day. I have been taught that I should not say "I'm sorry" and for good reason. This is a set of words that gets tossed around a lot in this disease and it no longer means much. This is true in the world that I lived in for a long time.
What I am instructed to say is: I was wrong, this is why. I want to know what I can do to make it right? Will you forgive me?
As you can guess this is not always easy to do.. Many times I am not willing to make the amends or I don't feel like I even mean them.
Sometimes I just feel completely justified in my position.

I am told that even if I don't mean it yet I need to take the necessary action anyway.
Ah HELL make the Amends anyway???

Well this is why...
My goal today is to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. etc... Part of trying to be that better person is cleaning up my side of the street. Even if the other person is wrong too. Even when what they have done to me was completely horrible and undeserved. I have a part in what is going on and if I have behaved badly, in ANY way, then I need to clean that up.

The step says "promptly". This means I must do this quickly. Sometimes its that day, most times it's next day. The point is I need to do before I talk myself out of it and this little pebble in my shoe becomes a boulder in my gut.

This is not an easy thing and I get PLENTY of opportunities to practice. I work toward progress not perfection. I am not a bad person, I am a sick person trying to get well.
I will never be cured and I will never graduate.

Today at the workshop there were four speakers present. Two from Alanon and Two from Alcoholics Anonymous. One of the AA speakers was here from CA and also spoke at the AA meeting I attended last night.
What an amazing woman. I completely feel that God brought her here for me this weekend. She had very profound things to share last night while telling the meeting her recovery story.

She talked about keeping her side of the street clean and why she needed to do that. She talked about being a good daughter and granddaughter. How her mother and grandmother were very mean and cruel at times and no matter what they did she kept her eyes off of them and their behavior and focused only on her own behavior and actions.

It's a foreign concept to people, this idea of continually trying to take the right action and be good to a person who is treating you like shit.
Even writing it out now it sounds completely insane to me. If it were not for that fact that I know that it works... I would run screaming from my laptop. LOL
I have seen it work in many peoples lives. Hell it has worked in my own life.
The speaker shared about how it worked in hers.
She also talked about her God sized hole and how she was convinced that she was not okay.

Today at the workshop she talked about seeing her part in situations and how to clean that up. Like her, I tend to justify, explain and defend my behavior. "If you hadn't had done that, then I wouldn't have done this"
Folks this is 100% bullshit!

It doesn't matter what anyone does to me..or better yet what I THINK they have done to me. It doesn't give me the right to be mean, vindictive, punishing or cold.
What kind of person do I want to be today?

She also shared about going on vacation recently with her girlfriends. Sitting at the table quietly while they all chatted and laughed with each other. Her mind began to do that "Magical Magnifying" thing and she began to think: They don't want me here, they don't really like me.. They hate me... It's all about me...

--this is how insane we are... Information from no where lands in my head and becomes fact! Where does this information come from.. WHO THE HELL KNOWS!
It's just there and I tell you it seems very very real!
So what's the difference between me and those that are not in recovery?
I know how fucking crazy I am... others may go their whole life not knowing or seeing their crazy behavior--

There she is.. just going at it in her head. The stage has been set.. I mean now she must talk about it. There is a problem and she needs to solve it right now! Get it all out on the table.
But instead she pauses.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says: "Pause when agitated or doubtful and ask for the right thought or action (from God)"
She pauses....
This my friends is the difference. We often need time... time to just let it sit a bit.

She knows enough about herself and has been in recovery long enough to know that what she is thinking is probably not right. Her thinking is distorted as is mine most of the time. Like her I always think it's about me. ME ME ME ME ME! GAG!

She excuses herself to go get some coffee, prays and calls a fellow AA friend and talks with her about 20 min. She returns to her friends.
Oh. My. God. she says.. They have all changed. Everything is fine. They do love her and want her there and are not ignoring her. AMAZING!

Now here is the question. Were they ignoring her before? I don't know and ya know what? It doesn't really matter whether they were or weren't.
She had a choice in those moments where that stinking thinking came into her head.
She chose to pause...
If she had not chosen to do that then I can tell you with complete certainty that she would have spent hours maybe even days with a big mess on her hands that she would have created.

Well when she said all of this I was just about knocked out of my chair... God I love when that happens. It's like God just reached out and slapped me in the back of the head!
Not in a bad way either.

I have been going through some shit lately. I found myself neck deep in a mess that I fear I may have created all on my own.
I took some things that happened lately very personal. My feelings were extremely hurt and I was left confused with a broken heart. Now I do not know if the things that I perceived to be happening were real or just a part of my "Magical Magnifying Mind".
It doesn't really matter does it?

If I had prayed, called my sponsor...paused as I mentioned before, maybe the situation would have looked very different to me after a few days. I will never know the answer to this question.
What I did instead was perceive that EVERYTHING that was happening was about me. My, my, my, I have a HUGE ego.. Sheesh!

What happened you ask?
I pulled away, I went silent, I reached out irrationally and when I didn't get the response I was hoping for I pulled away more, feeling even more hurt and cast aside.
Insanity... pure insanity.

It doesn't really matter if the situation was all about me; If these two people really felt the way I thought that they did.. It doesn't matter because the focus has to be on me and my part. I have to look at how I behaved and the damage that I caused.
Did I harm them and others? Yes I am sure that I did.
Do I own amends... Yes I am sure that I do.

Now because I am a jump into action kind of girl I want to get right to my "promptly". I want to make my amends. I feel foolish and guilty.
I am uncomfortable and I don't want to be. Ick!

My sponsor who I love and adore knows me too well. I tell her my realization and she says to wait... and to pray. Pause... Ask for the right thought or action...

I will do as she says because that's what I signed up for, but also because I know she sees what I cannot and I trust that she will always lead me in the right direction.

God has given me a new set of eyes and ears today. He gives me opportunities and blessings. I have learned that the opportunities ALWAYS turn into blessings if I am patient and take the next right action.

I see my part. I know that I was wrong. I want to be a better friend.

Nothing had changed and yet everything was different.
I continue to walk through this and I see everything differently now.
I am blessed!