Posted on

This Could Have Been Me

Recently, someone recommended that I watch a video on Netflix. Lipstick & Liquor is a documentary film that explores the growing number of suburban women who become alcohol dependent. It is a film about women and alcohol – one in particular who disappeared on a frigid December day. Thirty-nine year old Julie stumbled away from a minor car accident, leaving behind her eight year old daughter, an open container of alcohol and a host of questions that baffled her family, her friends, and the police.  Days later, Julie was found dead right around the corner from her home. 
We had a huge snow storm several weeks ago and similar events unfolded right in my own neighborhood. I didn’t know the woman well, but had met her once through my husband. He told me that she also suffered from a life-threatening problem. She disappeared during the storm and was discovered two days later, a victim of hypothermia and other injuries.
This very thing could have happened to me! She came from the same culture, socio-economic status, and community as I do. She was admired and esteemed by all who knew her. 
I remember, awhile ago, I started drinking in the morning and walked down to the local liquor store. On my return up the steep hill home, I slipped into the woods to have a few drinks, hiding so my adult children who were home wouldn’t know. The glass bottle was tucked safely under the waistband of my sweats inside my coat. I placed my arms around my tummy to keep my prize from escaping from my grip.  
I had sneaked out of the house earlier, no one the wiser save for the occasional passerby and the liquor store owner. He didn’t recognize me because I seldom frequented his store. I was ashamed to be known as a familiar buyer in my own neighborhood. Years ago, when it was owned by different people and I was in denial of my disease, I was a regular. Back then, I told my kids it was the licorice store because I would purchase licorice for them when I stopped to get my own treat. My own treat ~ really?
The news of the woman in my community has hit me hard!
I picture that day.  She saw the snow coming, went to church, cleaned the house, cooked her family’s meal, all while sipping her drinks. I imagine her husband getting frustrated with her – scared and angry, helplessly taking away her keys. Then, after he left for work the following morning, the cravings hit hard. Without a vehicle, she grabbed some cash and began the mile long trek to the store. Ahh… the bottle.  Walking home, she stopped and hid to take a swig. She slipped in the snow, already a foot deep and still coming down. She reached for her phone, but realized it was at home. She couldn’t get up.
I envision her husband returning home from work to a cold and silent house. He calls his wife’s cell and it rings in another room. He is alone, completely alone. Out in the driveway sits the new fifth wheel they purchased to vacation with this summer and in the coming years of retirement. After a long while of comforting his anxiety, reasoning that she is with a neighbor, or on one of her long walks, he faces his reality. He calls 9-1-1. A report is filed. The adult children are notified. Days pass. Another needless tragedy has struck. 
Liquor and lipstick – the middle class career woman’s essential purse items. According to the documentary, DUI arrests of women have increased by 30% over the last ten years. Binge drinking by women is also on the rise. However, if you were to query a woman’s family or friends about her habits, many would not even know she has a problem. That’s because women are more likely to drink alone and keep it hidden. 
This could have been me. It could have been you. We must stay vigilant so that our families do not endure this type of senseless loss. I have so many questions. How do I reach out to women in denial, women at risk, women who believe they are fine because they think they are responsible, women who call themselves highly functioning? How do we reach these women before they die? How do we reach all women? How do we help homeless women, women of color, and women in abusive relationships? How do we help them find peace? 
It is my sincere hope that these women will discover the benefits of Women For Sobriety (WFS) and its New Life Program. To learn more visit https://womenforsobriety.org/
~ MAC
Posted on

Monday Thoughts 9/10/2018

Monday Thoughts

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”  ~~Frances Hodgson Burnett

“Perspective is the way we see things when we look at them from a certain distance and it allows us to appreciate their true value.”  ~~Rafael E. Pino

“It’s not only moving that creates new starting points.  Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.”  ~~Kristin Armstrong


Statement 11
Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.


In our face-to-face group, I like to share how I ‘get’ to do some of those “unremarkable” things in sobriety and recovery.  In the past it was easy to overlook those small moments, but with the practice of Statement #11, it becomes easier to treasure moments that we may once have taken for granted.

A beautiful example of Statement #11 in action happened at our annual WFS Conference a few years ago.  In one of the workshops, Nancy Cross (who lovingly established the WFS Online Forum) brought a small glass or possibly marble rabbit and sent it around the circle that we were sitting in so that each woman present could hold and touch this tiny treasure. As this little rabbit went from hand to hand, Nancy shared with the group that she wanted to re-energize this little bunny and take each of us home with her.  Each of us had quickly become treasures.

Instead of dreading an activity or task, it is possible to feel content or even grateful for the experience.  Fresh perspective encourages embracing the treasures all around us, and Statement #11 leads the way. Friendships, family, experiences can become filled with awe and wonder.  This Statement can also help cement sobriety and recovery, and like all exercises, invigorates and strengthens.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Karen’s perspective regarding Statement #11 came at just the right time for me.  In preparation for a family wedding, I was fluctuating between enthusiasm in seeing the whole family, including my son, and the thought of driving 15 hours.  Enthusiasm and a bit of dread all caught in one moment’s thoughts!  So how to stick with the enthusiastic part of gratefulness, as Karen suggested, is the question.  If there is any Statement that helps to bring focus to such a situation, it surely is Statement #11.  It guides us to consider how our thoughts have a huge impact on the outcome of a specific situation/event/interaction with people in our lives.   Do we automatically respond with dread or do we shift our focus to the possibilities of adventure, learning new skills, the joy of spontaneity or unexpected positive benefits from taking a risk, overcoming a fear by facing the unknown?

I’ve been reflecting on just that.  Thinking about my decision to quit drinking certainly did not initially bring about a feeling of enthusiasm or considering how much I would treasure the moments of my New Life.  Yet, I took that risk and wow, how much my life has changed, how I learned that fear can be faced with full force and surviving becomes thriving.  The woman who automatically said no was now saying yes and became filled with wonderful surprises, unexpected and treasured adventures and relationships.  What surprised me the most is my confidence began to take hold as I relished the feeling of enthusiasm.  There are still situations I struggle with yet I am not fearful that I will remain stuck.  It’s part of living and years ago, I finally learned and understood that life is change, growth is possible and it’s important to choose wisely.  I will make mistakes along the way yet I do know that I want more enthusiasm than dread when new situations arise and I have the tools given to me by WFS to reflect and choose wisely.

  • How do you experience enthusiasm?
  • What tools do you have to face your fears and be spontaneous, to thrive in your New Life?
  • What is the last spontaneous moment you experienced?
  • What ordinary moments do you treasure?
  • What does “being in the moment” feel like to you?

For some, creating a grateful journey keeps the focus of enthusiasm fresh and current.  Consider writing down at least 2 experiences each day for a week that highlight your gratefulness for your New Life in recovery.  Treasure these moments.

Bonded in treasuring the moments of your New Life,
4C WFS Member