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mikeupnorth
October 21st, 2006, 12:18 AM
Good Saturday morning, Absville!

First off, I?d like to say thanks, once again, to our own Lady Katherine for planning and hosting a fabulous party last night!! :good:

Several of us chose to post real photos of ourselves as our avatars during the party. We did this, I think, because we have developed a sense of intimacy here in Absville over the past months. We?ve gotten to know each other pretty well, we?ve been through good times and bad, we?ve seen each other slip and helped each other back to our feet, and so forth. And it was nice to finally see and be seen.

There was much symbolism in that act, though, for us as problem drinkers or alcoholics.

Didn?t we spend our drinking years behind masks? Didn?t we spend all that time hiding in one way or another?

I know that I hid in many ways. I hid how much I drank from almost everyone. Sure, there might have been some who suspected, but no one really knew for sure. I hid what I did when I was drinking. It was like my own secret life. I had a public life ? one that was fit for public display ? and a drinking life ? one that I was too ashamed for anyone to see. It got so bad at the end that I was ashamed of even my drinking friends to see it.

I not only hid my drinking and related activities, but I hid my feelings. I hid how I felt about drinking; I hid my depression and anxiety; I hid my fear. I hid FROM my feelings. I hid from life. My drinking life was as much about hiding as it was about drinking, it seems. I was avoiding anything and everything that I could. The problem was that the alcohol inevitably wore off ? and when it did, whatever I was hiding from was still there, and 10 times bigger.

So taking off my ?mask? tonight, coming out of the closet, was symbolic of my new life in sobriety. Living a sober life means being myself ? my true self ? in all situations, public and private. I really have no need to hide anything any more. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I have nothing to fear. I can truly come out of the shadows and live in the light like a normal human being. I can show my face and be proud of who I am.

Doesn?t it feel good to let go of the shame and fear? Doesn?t it feel good to not have to hide?

mojomuppet
October 21st, 2006, 07:30 AM
Mike i just have to say i love the new you! coo coo ca choo!:)
Yes the party was grand. Being the glutton that i am i came to both .... i will never learn.:H
Mack i better see the devil today or else!:l
I never hid my drinking from anyone so this is way harder fo me being every stinking person i know drinks like a fish. I used to think dry counties where stupid. To bad its to late to move to one lmao.;) You loves have a great day!

YoungAtHeart
October 21st, 2006, 07:49 AM
That Rings True

Hiding--that is easy to do when you're a single mom and you're drinking. There's no one there to see, except your kids. I remember when my daughter was 8 or 9 and she drew a picture and it had a wine glass in it! The shame I felt was unendurable. I thought right then that I should stop drinking so much. But I soon mellowed all of those feelings out with....more wine. It took nearly another decade before I got serious about dealing with this.

I led a double double life. This is relatively easy to do when you're a therapist. We are ALWAYS talking about our feelings and problems. Candor is the order of the day. We say to each other, "Oh yes, I've been a little depressed lately," or even, "I've been drinking more lately from stress, I'm going to cut down," and that is acceptable talk in my field with the right people. You'll even get sympathetic nods. But you don't necessarily bring these people home with you and cry all over them or proceed to drink yourself silly before their eyes. So you can be honest with them, and STILL be lying, because even though you are telling the truth, you are still hiding the reality--it's all just words.

Only my daughter and family knew the whole truth, I think, and I think my daughter made a conscious effort to avoid thinking about it too much. I made a point of being available to drive her places until she got her license (always making sure that another parent brought the kids home, for OBVIOUS reasons!), sober to chaperone band trips, etc (yay, enforced sobriety!), not TOO drunk to talk to her about her life. She has been tolerant about my drinking, but I KNOW that she has been glad I'm not drinking. Since my family lives a few states away, my drinking hasn't been in their faces, so thankfully, they haven't bugged me about it, and have let me come to this place in my own time.

I'm glad to be here. It is good to be sober. Sometimes I want a drink, and I wish I could have "a drink". I am realizing that the feeling that I have when I come home from work isn't wanting a drink. It is being really tired!! I used to drink to push that feeling away. Now I get something to eat or I might fall asleep for an hour, instead of drinking. I had gotten so far away from me that I wasn't even knowing anymore what I was feeling or what my body needed.

It's kind of curious now that I'm not drinking. Sometimes I will be sitting with a client, and I will suddenly think of drinking. It is like a little alarm bell in my head, and I will think, "OKay, Kath, what painful feeling is there in this room that you are BOTH trying to avoid?" It's really rather weird!

Anyway, once again, I am going on, so I will close now. />
The party last night was great. I really enjoyed putting up my real face for everyone to see. I felt aquiver with excitement, as though we were all really meeting for the first time. In a sense, we were! The staff has assured me that the stains can be removed from your wonderful clothing!

My warmest regards and thanks to my wonderful collgeague and partner-in-crime, the Honorable Sir Mike. He is so supportive, and simply the best co-mayor! What a week it's been!

Hugs and love,
Kathy:l

dilayne
October 21st, 2006, 07:52 AM
Good morning! Well, I'm so sorry I missed the party last night! I just wanted to let you know that I've been hanging out on the mods board for the last few months and had to make a big decision this week...and I think I've made it. First I want to let you know that I first started MWO in June and had great success for three months. I actually only resumed drinking over the last 3 or 4 years after about 15 years of abstinence...long story short after raising the kids and being a good girl..I was ready to let my hair down, and well, I haven't put it back up again since and I was headed for trouble. A month ago I decided that I was doing so well with moderation that I would go off of the topamax..well I did and the last two weeks I went right back to drinking..actually more than I had before. I have many reasons and excuses..a year of depth psychotherapy, an empty nest, addressing deep creative blocks, etc. etc. ad nauseum...I kept telling myself that I could do moderation, I wanted to do moderation...but you know what. I can't. I could actually write volumns here, but I'll spare you...the decision came a day or two ago with a simple question from my very supportive husband (especially now that our therapist has explained to him why I can't drink like he does)...he asked, "what's the bid deal about drinking?" Our therapist suggested that we decide together the boundaries around our drinking and to set consequences..but recommended abstaining alltogether...and together as the ideal way to go..my husband is totally willing to do that...so the answer to that question now..is that the big deal about drinking is that I have to make the decision that I have to love myself enough to not do it..so this Saturday I'm declaring Abstinence here...so may I join you?
thanks for being here...MWO has been amazing (I did have a very enlightening experience in AA almost 20 years ago that have given me a deep spirituality..but I've needed this way this time)
Namaste!
Di

dilayne
October 21st, 2006, 07:55 AM
Oh..regarding mask..I've been peeling away so many mask this year! They are inner mask mostly. I'll have to give the topic more thought. I did want to say that I've been back on the topamax and AF for 5 days (including today)!!!

mikeupnorth
October 21st, 2006, 08:48 AM
Di: Welcome! Of course you may join us here in Absville There's a cute little house just down the street from me that I think you and your husband would love....

Many of us here have tried the moderation path and have found that it didn't work for us, either. I had a similar experience and finally came to the conclusion that I had to make the commitment to stay sober. Once I did that, and stopped struggling with the question of "Will I do moderation or abstinence?" things became a lot easier.

As it sounds that you've committed to long term abstinence, be sure to check out that forum as well, which you'll find farther down on the main page. We affectionately refer to that community as "Absland." Discussions there tend to focus more on long-term sobriety, where here people's goals may be long or short term, or even not yet defined. There is a lot of great support in both places, though.

So glad that you are with us on this journey~

Mike

gabby
October 21st, 2006, 09:34 AM
HI guys, hardly any time to post. Dang I am so bummed I missed last night. I wanted to make it so bad. Nearly thought I would. But then ended up working till 8 my time and then ran my youngest to the movies with friends. By the time I got home it was to late. Please have something else again soon. Please everyone send me your picture.
Di readin your post scares me and makes me know I dont dare stop the topa yet. And I do figure I will never be able to moderate either. Funny, lately liquor stores have like been poppin out at me. I wasnt noticeing them for a while. I am glad I will be workin my tail off till the end of Dec. No time to weaken.

TracyA
October 21st, 2006, 10:12 AM
I am still hiding, from people I know in AA anyway. There shouldn?t be, but there is a significant element of shame involved ? and there would be crazy-making comments that I failed to work one or another step properly, and that?s why I drank. I don?t want to go through all that again, so I?m staying away from them for the most part. There is a position at district-level that I should probably resign.

Most of the people that I know in AA, perhaps all of them, would sneer at the idea of MYO anyway. My ex-sponsor certainly would. There has got to be something that will work better for me than that ever has ? and ?ever? encompasses almost two decades. The kicker is I am a kind of spiritual seeker, and I love that element in AA (although I dislike the thumpers and gurus). I just don?t stay sober there.

My kids and ex are very familiar with my struggle, of course, and I?ve been honest with them. Other than that, the only people I have talked to about it are here at MWO. I have a therapist but I haven?t been to see her in a couple weeks. I should probably schedule an appointment.

In another way I?m being more honest now than I was in AA. There were so many things between my sponsor and I that were not working, and she never had a clue. Every time I said the Lord?s Prayer, I felt like a liar. Every time I said, ?Keep coming back, it works,? I felt like a liar. My sponsor really pressured me into participating in Mass (she?s Catholic, as were my parents) even though I?ve never been through catechism, etc. I wanted to please her so I did it. It felt creepy to me and I hated it. The wafer made me want to gag.

My daughter and I have a trip planned in late December, and my sponsor wanted to join us. Now the arrangements are all made, and there is no backing out, so it could be an interesting trip. My daughter is aware of everything, so she?ll be a great support no matter what.

I think there are layers of masks and I?m still peeling them off. I don?t even know what is underneath it all. Sorry for the long post. Feeling a bit melancholy this morning; feeling like I should be further along than this, but it is what it is.

Welcome to abs, Di.

Tracy

Guest
October 21st, 2006, 10:14 AM
Great party last night!
Yes Mike, love not having to hide anymore. Love feeling genuine and not like a fraud anymore.
Gotta run...need to be at the soccer field in 15 minutes....yikes! 3 soccer games, 1 bday party and a trip to the airport to retrieve my dear husband are on the agenda today. Bye! Happy Saturday! Love to you! Gina

mikeupnorth
October 21st, 2006, 10:41 AM
Tracy --

I also tried AA repeatedly for 6 years, thinking it was the ONLY way to sobriety. No one ever offered me an alternative. I thought I was a loser because I couldn't "get" it. I thought I wasn't working one of the steps right... I kept going back and working them over and over.

Finally, a therapist said to me, "have you ever thought that maybe AA just doesn't work for you?"

I think AA is wonderful and I have nothing against it. But it is NOT the only way to get sober. I still go to AA meetings occasionally but haven't talked about MWO except to one person, who is very open-minded. I don't think most of them would understand that I can be doing a program and staying sober without the 12 steps.... I also feel like I have to wear a mask when I'm there or that I can't really talk about "my" program, because it's not the same as theirs. Maybe meetings are different in bigger cities where they are more diverse, but here in a small town, the meetings seem quite dogmatic.

And please -- to anyone who is working the AA program -- this is not meant to be putting the program down; I have the utmost respect for the program and the 12 steps. My only complaint is that (like certain religions) some people in AA think it's the ONLY way....

Each person is unique and we all have to find our own path. That's one of the things that attracted me to MWO -- there is no "one size fits all" approach. I don't feel like I have to wear any masks here, and I'm feeling that way less and less in all areas of my life. It's a great relief, and makes things much less complicated!!

Happy Saturday to all.

YoungAtHeart
October 21st, 2006, 10:49 AM
Welcome, Dilayne! I am glad that you are here; I have read your posts in Modsville, and you are a thoughtful, insightful woman. It will be lovely to have you join us. Let us know how we can make your transition as smooth as possible! If you've had 15 years of abstinence, you will be able to get those "ABS MUSCLES" in shape again, I know it!

I don't think that three months is sufficient time to learn to live without alcohol. I will take topa as long as it is necessary--for the rest of my life, if I must to keep this illness in check. I definitely won't even try to titrate down until I feel fairly comfortable living alcohol free.

Gabby, we missed you DREADFULLY last night, but we have lots of extra food! Maybe you and I can get together for a quiet dinner "entre nous" (just between us, love--boy am I playing up this "elegant" stuff for all it is worth OR WHAT!:H ).

I know how you feel about AA, Tracy. I know one or two true "old timers" in the program who REALLY follow the program, who only speak from their own experience and aren't controlling, but they are very few and far between. It can be very difficult to buck the well-meaning people who have a hard time letting you work the program in your own way. Mike, I think you hit the nail on the head. MWO is about as dogmatic as I get, because part of our "dogma" is about acceptance and diversity!

Hi and bye, Gina! You are always on the run with your kids! Hope you catch a breath for yourself today!

Anyway, I think I will indulge in a much needed nap today!

Hugs and love,
Kathy:l

Farmeress
October 21st, 2006, 01:18 PM
Hello Every one

Its not like me to speak on this Hideing Owch! etc after all it took me so long to register even though I still used a name ?

Any way sorry I missed Fridays party my own fault Im pleased every one had a great time.
I also missed seeing every one in all their glory (pictures) never mind but I can understand the way forward it must of meant for you.

Being around here its becoming Ok to take the maze planted around my cabin away it might not be a mansion but (it has an inside toilet and shower keep up the standards at least not to mention the dish washer)

we are all here with so much just saying hello or listening even for those who dont speak alote where ever we are or whosever are your neighbours it is one community it makes sence (at least I hope so. yes it does) YES IT DOES

Thanks for letting me stay

vinophile
October 21st, 2006, 01:39 PM
Hi All,
I enjoyed the party last night although I wasn't there as long as I would have like to be. I don't get on to chat very often so it was a real treat.Will try to get a photo by Halloween posted. It was fun to see everyone.IT took a great deal of courage to "de-mask. It's sort of like going to a masquerade ball but in reverse. We walk around all day in a mask and then take that mask off for the ball. How symbolic.
Alcohol has buried so many emotions for me for so long. I'm trying to let them free layer by layer one at a time. I come from a long line of emotion buryers(sp???). We are God's "frozen people". If an emotion surfaces bury it quickly before it shows it's ugly side. It will be a long journey for me.
It sounds heavy and morose but it shouldn't. I'm actually feeling quite upbeat today.
Welcome Di.!!! Always glad to add someone to the group,
Once again Sat nights are always a challenge for me. Much to do before I worry about my strategy.
Have a great afternoon all.
Janet

southernbelle47
October 21st, 2006, 02:56 PM
Hi Absville!

Wouldn't you just know it!! I go out of town and miss the best party ever! Real faces and all!
The good news is ...I had a great time and feel like I can go another 100,000 miles!

When I got home, I saw that Kathy has given me a spa vacation so I took off right away on that. Thanks Kathy...you're a doll!

Masks and hidding.......hummmmmm....You must be thinking of the church I was raised in! ;)
We all do it though. I now try to hang out places where people can be honest and speak the truth. There is something to be said for positive thinking and talk which is a good thing, but not to the point where you're fearful that if you share something that is hurting your heart, people are uncomfortable. Thats when you find new friends!:)

My "best " friend will listen and not judge me for not being perfect!:l

Got to run.
Another ballgame tonight!

Nancy:l

Mackeral
October 21st, 2006, 06:09 PM
Hiya Everyone,

Kathy, excellent party last night...The hostess with the mostess..I enjoyed seeing peoples faces and chatting..I was a bit in Aw actually of what was going on...Very surreal ( spell check ).

Made a 100 mile round trip today to go fishing at a place that is supposed to be a real hotspot....And got 1 fish...Even that wasnt big enough to put on a sandwich...so i threw it back.....Should proberly take up golf i know.

I've lost count now how long i have been AF...I think its about 3 or 4 weeks..i'm gonna have to look it up on a calander..But i'm feeling good at the moment..

Anyway i hope everyone here is well and we will have to have a repeat of last night some time in the near future..

P.S. still smiling about Phils honking croutons..LOL
Have a good day all....Love Macks:l

TracyA
October 21st, 2006, 06:13 PM
Aww Fameress, what a sweet post.


Farmeress wrote: Hello Every one
Being around here its becoming Ok to take the maze planted around my cabin away it might not be a mansion but (it has an inside toilet and shower keep up the standards at least not to mention the dish washer)

Sounds like heaven to me. I'm glad you are here.

Tracy

TracyA
October 21st, 2006, 06:16 PM
I feel bad for forgetting to thank Kathy. And Mike too, an excellent co-host. It was really fun.

The thought of Neil's "honkin' croutons" is still making me smile too. :)

TracyA
October 21st, 2006, 06:17 PM
I feel bad for forgetting to thank Kathy. And Mike too, an excellent co-host. It was really fun.

The thought of "honkin' croutons" is still making me smile too. :)

TracyA
October 21st, 2006, 06:19 PM
Thanks, Mike. I am feeling ever more confident that MWO will help me find my own way.

YoungAtHeart
October 21st, 2006, 07:33 PM
Hi All!

I'm very touched by your posts, and grateful for the thanks, but I really must say something about the party. It is a lot of fun but it was a fantasy, and that makes it great!

This is part of the playing that I was talking about on Friday. My real life is very different!!:H Farmeress, at the current time, my brother-in-law just fixed my garbage disposal, but now my DISHWASHER DOENS'T empty properly! Now I either wash dishes by hand OR I must siphon out the water after each wash and rinse cycle! I also scoop the poops after my five ( yes I said 5:wow: ) kitties (that's a lot of poop)!!!

We probably have a lot of everyone here. People who live in very modest surroundings to people who live in fairly elaborate surroundings. I live in a townhouse, and I have said before that my daughter considers the whole house her own personal closet.

We play with the idea of mansions and a town with our own houses as we all get on with the dealing with the very serious issue of coping with getting sober. SERIOUSLY. That's the REAL ISSUE.

Farmeress, I'm glad that you registered. You are always welcome. Your organic produce is a great addition to our town. So are you!!
And NEIL was a hoot last night! He sure did deserve to go snip his own chives though! Demanding man! I'm still waiting for him to come repair the hole in the wall that he made with his tater blaster!

Macks, I'm sorry you only caught one fish. I think we will need to stock you your own lake here in Absville!

Nancy, we missed you! I'm sorry that you weren't there, too. I had hoped you might be able to pop in for appetizers at least and even bring your friend! I hope you had a good time with her!

Janet, you sound like you are growing. I know what you mean about your family. Mine was just the opposite. If I'm grateful for one thing, it is that I knew they were crazy from a pretty early age!! A strange kind of blessing perhaps....

Love,
Kathy

mikeupnorth
October 21st, 2006, 10:38 PM
Surreal is right, Macks.

I kept sitting there thinking, "I can't belive that I'm doing this. I'm sitting here having an imaginary formal dinner with people on at least two continents and six time zones. We are passing each other the salad dressing and salt and pepper and acting all quite normal about it. How amazing." There was even a person who just stumbled into the room, unaware of the pre-planned party, who commented "You people are really getting into this." :H Honestly I was happy to be among a group of people with enough imagination to participate in (and enjoy) such an activity.

I also hope we can do it again!

southernbelle47
October 21st, 2006, 11:08 PM
Neil brought a tater blaster?
Now I AM upset!:mad:
I thought we had a corner on those down here on my farm!

I would have popped in but there was not a computer in sight!

Play and having fun is a very important part of life.
I have a teddy bear named Cassie. She is a Boyd's collectable bear. She stands all of about 6 inches tall. A friend gave her to me several years ago after finding out how much I loved her bear, Euddie.
They are cousins and get into all kinds of trouble. When the phone bill is very high, we know they have been talking and being silly.;)
They once went to a conference with us and spilled candy all over the beds and made funny noises when someone would bend over! Oh my! I thought the school teacher with us was going to blow a gasket!:H

You guys are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
Thanks for your friendship.

Nancy & Belle:l
AF 7 days