Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I thought that I had better catch up here.  As usual, my excuse for not writing is that I have been incredibly busy and for the most part enjoying every day.  My birthday came and went.  It was a good day spent at a riding clinic, having lunch with horse friends and having a great dinner with my wife.  I had few expectations as birthdays go, but what resulted was delightful.

I spent three days on my sailboat during my birthday week, enjoying a few days of good weather in which the sun actually shone.  It was my escape to serenity-- a temple for me to rest, read, cook, and bask in the sun.  I came back feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated.

On Sunday, I went for a 7.5 mi trail ride on my fancy dressage horse. He handled the woods, the scary farm machinery, the wide open dirt road--all of it, like he was born to trail ride. The ladies riding with me were impressed by his calmness and his being so level headed.  Every day I go to see him, he greets me with a soft nicker.  My wife is quite taken with him also.

On a more somber note, a young local high school student has died over an altercation with a fellow student about a Snap Chat message sent to his girlfriend.  The kid visiting his girlfriend told the other fellow to come over and he would kill him.  So the young man went over and was stabbed in a fight. Both are from affluent families, no drugs involved, and were not in trouble before. Now one is dead and the other is messed up for life.  I don't understand the anger that drives a 16 year old to kill a 17 year old over anything, much less a phone message.

I don't know about you, but we settled things in a civilized manner--no fights, no knives, no guns.  Parents have so much to worry about these days. Drugs and alcohol, and more guns and violence than ever before.  It is a tough world out there.  And I often wondered how I made it this far--maybe because when I was a kid, I feared my father's wrath more than anything else; and as a teenager, I decided that not much was worth dying over.  And that attitude carried into college, although I did some reckless things. And for some reason, I am still alive. I feel a great deal of sorrow for the parents who are suffering the horrible death of their child and for the parents who are dealing with the horror of what their son did.

My little home group has been struggling with low numbers of people attending. Several meetings in the area have closed.  I wonder if this is simply a reflection of the time of year or does it bode problems for an aging fellowship.

Certainly, the number of those with substance abuse problems has risen.  And that means that a lot of families and friends of alcoholics/addicts are suffering from the effects of the disease.  But are they trying to tough this out alone?  I hope that they are getting some kind of help to cope with the anxiety, anger and fear of living with an alcoholic/addict.  They certainly aren't pouring into the rooms of Al-Anon around here.  What really matters to me is that people get some kind of help because it is a very lonely thing to deal with alcoholism/addiction on your own.

I hope that all is going well with you.  I think of you and will catch up some this week.


  1. the stabbing of the student is heart breaking...and i am seeing more and more of it in the school....there are kids just flipping their mess and not considering the lasting consequences of their actions....as they have never had to face consequences...and dont understand what they did wrong...oy

    cool on the horse...i would love to ride again...its been too long....

  2. I am so glad to hear that for the most part, you are living and enjoying your life to the fullest. That makes me happy. I love thinking about you and your boat and your horse and your loving wife and your life together.
    You got it figured out. Mostly. Like all of us. And I am so glad to know you, to be reminded that there are real good folks out there, living lives of fulfillment and serenity.

  3. Happy Birthday dear Friend: I hope that Alanon is here to stay. As you know I have a son with almost 3 years in the program and now my oldest boy's girlfriend is going. It seems that she comes from a very alcoholic family and when some of the traits of a "survivor" started to show up in their relationship it was suggested that she try Alanon. Hope it works.

  4. The violence here (southern Africa) in schools is terrible and often fuelled by drugs. I just try to keep my corner of the world safe and calm and do what I can to help without getting enmeshed in social problems.

    Love hearing about the new 'fancy dressage horse' such a sweetie.

  5. Happy belated birthday, Syd. It always makes my day to hear how you are enjoying life. The story about the boy's death is heartbreaking. I can't even begin to make sense of that sort of thing.

  6. Belated happy birthday to you. Your description of your rides with your horse brought back memories. Sounds like you are enjoying your time.

    Al-Anon out here in California is robust. Went to a monthly fellowship yesterday and there were more than 160 people attending. There are many meetings in the Bay Area, with recovery spoken and supportive fellowship.

    Hard to believe someone lost his life over a phone/text message. Al-Anon's slogans help me keep perspective, when involved with a conflict: "How Important Is It?" "Breathe." "Think"
    Wishing you a terrific week!

  7. Happy Birthday Syd,
    Wonder about the declining Alanon meetings in your area...
    the group has changed my life and I would like it to be there for others


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