Monday, April 26, 2010

Tears from the heart

I have a lot of tears from my heart today.  The party last night was really nice.  It all went well.  I am posting a few photos here to give you an idea of the ambiance. The party was held at a very casual seafood place that sits on pilings over the water.  The original place burned several years ago.  It had written on its walls names that went back for years and years.  A little bit of the area's history burned on that day.  But the rebuilt place is getting to be as tacky as the old one was, and it is a great place to have a party.

The atmosphere was laid back, with good food, good music, and a good time.  I only felt sad a few times when people asked where C. was.  And one fellow asked how it was going to feel when I woke up one morning and there was no place to go (i.e. to work).  I said that there was always some place to go. His was the only negative comment of the evening.

After the party, I watched the Lois Wilson Story.  I think that a lot of people watched that movie.  I am not a movie critic so I'm not going to comment on whether the acting was good, or whether the plot dragged.

I can only go by what I felt during the movie.  I  know that I had a visceral feeling of anxiety when I watched the scenes with Bill W. in a drunken stupor.  And to see how the people around Lois, seven of them were named at the start of the movie, were affected by alcoholism rang so true. I could identify with every angry outburst, every look of disgust,  every bit of chaos.  The trip over old territory for me was smoother because of being in Al-Anon, but still it had an old familiar affect, similar to PTSD. I think that I could view both Lois and Bill with a great deal of compassion and not the hot anger that I used to feel that was fueled by resentment towards the alcoholics in my life. 

I felt my heart tear a bit at the utter selfishness of the alcoholic though.  And at Lois's pitiful attempts to control something and someone that is uncontrollable.  Tears came to my eyes when I heard her recite the 12 steps and the group joined hands for the Serenity prayer. 

This reminded me of just how grateful I am for the grace of a loving God who worked through Lois and Bill to have them pave the way to show future generations how to get out of the insanity of alcoholism. They and the other early followers of AA and Al-Anon were the ones who had to endure much suffering to put the programs into action.  We simply have to follow the directions already laid down in the 12 steps, the books, and the traditions that they were divinely inspired to provide. Yet, many stubbornly refuse to see the way out of their misery.  I am glad that I understood and got the message.  It's powerful how God showed me all manner of love and tolerance this evening.   My misery is optional today. 


  1. Your last line says it all for me, I have a choice today.

  2. lovely :)
    I am glad to part of the AA family too. I feel as though I belong in ? some kind of way and am connected to the goodwill of all the AA's that got sober before me. I love that I have an emotional connection with these people I never got to meet. :)

  3. About your restaurant. The walls and type of place took me back to a vacation we went on 20 years ago.

    As landlocked Kansans when we get the the shore we always spend time searching out seafood. When we were in Fort Myers, FL one year we were asking locals at the hotel, "good seafood restaurant?" Many responded with the same restaurant and everyone had to give us their own map. No doubt a difficult place to find!

    We followed the maps and located this place on a pier surrounded by a bunch of warehouses and commercial fishing boats. Looking out on this place we were puzzled. This shack had the look of a bait house not a restaurant. Screened porch, picnic tables sitting in the open. But we said, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." We parked in a warehouse lot along with a bunch of other cars and walked out onto the pier.

    The menu was wahtever they were actually tossing up from the boat sitting on the back side of the restaurant. You got what they caught, cole slaw and hush puppies. That was it. Your choice, fried or grilled. All you could eat and when the fish was gone they closed, you better be early.

    WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! Great seafood and I think we were the only people there that were not locals and didn't know every person on the boat and in the restaurant.

  4. Glad the retirement party went well and only one negative comment that can be cast aside anyway. I was wondering how people would feel watching the Lois story, it had to bring to the front old sad and mad feelings. Like you say at the end of this post, you choose.

  5. I enjoyed the movie. The last part with the Steps was my favorite part. And the part where she went car to car, inviting women in.

    How far out Programs have come in that each program includes men and women.

  6. hi Syd, new blog.

  7. I am glad to see that our reactions to the movie were pretty much the same.

    I can't imagine a retirement party. And I think that shows I am not ready. Glad yours was nice. I wish C would have gone though.

  8. Glad the party was enjoyable for the most part.

    I watched the movie too. Thanks for reminding us.

    What I heard were the couple of times when she said, "I'm talking about me". I can relate. Even after and in recovery.

  9. It was a good movie and it really did show the places the program started and the places we've come to today.

    I thank you for your post as always Syd...

    PS:Did I do something to drop off your blogroll? Just wondering?

  10. I hope your tears dry up soon!!

  11. I would have like to have seen the Lois story, but I don't watch TV. I do rent movies from time to time so I will look for it at a video store. I would love to see it.

    Congrats on your retirement party. How wonderful that so many people love and respect you that they would give you a party. That's wonderful.

  12. Thanks for the great photos.and yes there are those that will not let the steps amd the message help them they are the true unfortunates.

  13. Happy the retirement party seemed to go well for you.

  14. Welcome to retirement, Syd. You will have new places to go!

    I was not raised in an alcoholic family, but I think my father might feel towards my mom, for her borderline personality disorder, a similar sort of helplessness as Lois felt. People are powerless in so many ways.

    I felt a sense of Lois and Bill's destiny in creating the program, as I watched the movie. That Lois and Bill did not have a child gave me chills. It is because of their not having children, that Bill W could "grow up" and become a man. And Lois could be a spiritual mother to generations of children who could use the healing steps of the program. I was deeply moved, and also profoundly scared by the power of alcohol.

  15. A Sunday to remember, and a story told in a memorable fashion.

  16. still haven't caught the movie, looking forward to it though.
    strange this journey of ours, takes us to places we never dreamed, a place only those in recovery know or appreciate. as you know the grieving you feel is one chapter of your life closing and another opening.

    i know you won't spend too much time looking at the closed door, or you may miss the one opening.

  17. I'm glad your party was fun, Syd. And yes, you will always have someplace to go and something to do. Some people just can't see beyond a job. I don't get it. I have a life outside my work and so do you.



  18. I told my son the other day that I was going to retire when I graduate next year and start my second life. I still have so many things i want to do and now I have the wisdom and experience to do them. There are some perks to being our age! We are young enough to explore yet old enough to see some of the pitfalls to avoid. Happy 2nd Life!


  19. The best part of the movie is the amount of people it reached who may relate somehow (drunk or co-dependent) and now be more interested in/open to Al-Anon/AA. I thought the costumes and sets were great. Much of the movie was disappointing. But, as a visual for being overwhelmed, confused, frustrated & generally worn down by the behavior of a drunk and what can be done about it, in my book, top rate.

  20. PS: Congratulations on your retirement. Best wishes to you in your new life.

  21. We had an impending tornado in our area and CBS was all weather for the first 30 minutes of the show. I'm so glad you mentioned the people in the first part who were affected by the alcoholic because I couldn't see that from just watching part of it. I would have liked to have had more of the Al-anon side of things...but it was powerful, none the less.
    The actor who played Bill was very realistic...almost sickeningly so.

  22. The movie was bitter sweet for me. Lois and Bill's fighting brought me back to my childhood watching my parents act that way. Bill's absolute powerlessness brought me back to the craziness in my head during my drinking years. I cried when Lois read the 12 steps because they mean so much to me now in recovery.

    Glad your party was a positive experience.

  23. I'm glad you enjoyed your party and I hope you can last out the final month in fine style.

    Blessings and aloha...


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