Thursday, November 29, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 60

This is going to come off as bitter or sweet, hopefully bittersweet.  I LOVE going to work every day.  Even on days where I say, "I DON'T WANT TO GET OUT OF BED TODAY" I still love that I get to get up and get dressed and get on the train and go downtown to the office every day. 

So, it's begun to hit me that I have a big life change coming on.  Yes, I know, I am a bit slow, but I will be be having babies soon, very soon, and it will mean I will be home for about 5 months with them because apparently babies need their mother for certain things. WHO KNEW?  Pfffft.

We women are incredible.  We can bring home the facon, fry it up in the pan (well, if I cooked that would be true).  I have is an incredible husband who does so much stuff to be helpful and supportive and just always has, like, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, all that stuff.  I'm quite spoiled with him as I never had to ask, he just does all this.

Now, yesterday was my first official WORK FROM HOME day.  It's been coming as Boss has said, "cut down your hours and work from home when you can."  I am open to it and I feel like I've got the set up, new office chair and fax/copier/scanner all ready to go.  Sally Boy and Eliza Jane are both not at all helpful, but they are furry and cute and distracting.  So, I will be working at home here and there for the next few weeks.

But the thing is, I was incredibly sad yesterday.  Lethargic even.  I know this is coming and if one g-d person says I'm ungrateful for these babies coming, so help me......I keep saying my biggest fear in having babies is other moms.  So please, if you want to give me shit about expressing this sadness right now when the best thing in the world is really happening with these babies, share your judgement someplace else.  This is a judgement free zone. 

We women are so many things to so many people, including ourselves.  I LOVE my work identity and that I am good at what I do and appreciated.  I had 4 people tell me it was so quiet and boring at work yesterday without me.  That MADE MY DAY.  I celebrate that I am wanted and needed here. 

That takes nothing away from how uber excited I am to devote my entire life to these babies for the next several months.  I mean, the rest of my life will be devoted to them, but I will have many other parts of my life as well. 
  1. My AA part where I am vital and needed and I SO DESPERATELY NEED AA and all that goes with it.
  2. My work part as I will of course, keep working - both because I love my work and because we absolutely have to have the money and insurance. 
  3. MY WRITING LIFE!  (yes, I'm slowly realizing that I am, in fact,  a writer) and after I quit doing the acting thing, it's been a definite creative and healthy outlet for me, I will NOT be giving that up. And the people I've met through writing this blog have truly changed my life for the better.  Have no fear, I shall be writing for my sanity and for yours. 
  4. My healthy lifestyle that I worked so hard to get going before getting pregnant.  And while I've been pregnant it's been a big part of why I look and feel so good.  I aspire to keep that shit up!  
It's so important that we keep ourselves fully rounded. We are women, gotdammit.  We are way more than just our children.  I say that with all the love in my heart for my babies, but similarly to us needing to be COMPLETELY WHOLE without a partner, we need to be completely whole on our own so that we can give so much to the people and tasks we love.  I say all the time to women I sponsor in AA, we need to be GOOD, WHOLE, COMPLETE without a partner.  Only then, can we fully give of ourselves to another.  And that takes work.  I've been that girl/woman who needed complete validation from a boy/man and it is no good. NO GOOD I TELL YA!  I choose to believe the same philosophy is true with having children.  I wrote about this here before - my babies will never have to see me drunk, if I do the work.

So, you will forgive me when I say that I am beginning to mourn my lifestyle without children.  And it is OK.  When I quit drinking I mourned that lover.  When I quit smoking I mourned that lover.  I am STILL really mourning that lover.  Every damn day.  And just like a relationship, major life changes require adjustment periods and loss and gain and everything in between.  And it is HEALTHY TO ADMIT THIS SHIT. 

My life is going to change.  But it certainly is for the better.  That is the THING I LOVE THIS THURSDAY.  I can be grateful that I have learned to practice the healthy mourning of change in my life.  It's nothing to be ashamed of.  It is something to celebrate and acknowledge and share with each other.  No shame.  Only love and appreciation of the moment.  In a healthy supportive way.  We women need each other.  This is no time for judgement.  Just love and acceptance of who we are and what we are feeling.  I'm so in, are you?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I am an asshole.  I have to work at not being an asshole sometimes.  It's gotten so much better than it used to be, but sometimes it still seeps out, like when you fill your teeny tiny coffee mug too full and try to put the to-go top on it and coffee seeps out the side.  And then I cry.  That is my inner asshole seeping out. 

The best trick I've learned since being sober is to PAUSE. 

No matter how badly in my gut I want to respond in anger or in hurt or in tears or in venomous replies, I CAN PAUSE today.  I can yell and scream at an email or a fake person about what I'm angry or hurt about (because anger is usually a cover up for hurt - at least for me), but I do not have to respond immediately. 

I've written about this before, and due to my fiery Irish temper, it doesn't ever truly go away.  You know in the 12 step program we have what are called Character Defects, and a big part of working a good program is to get rid of these defects.  But the funny thing is, they are some of our favorite things.  I love my anger.  I love my passion.  I love my fight for the underdog no matter the cost and I don't want to apologize for that. 

But what I don't love is drama and hurt and constant wondering what is going to happen next because of something stupid that I did or said that I know I will regret almost immediately.

How often do I respond in anger or hurt and regret it?  Almost every damn time.  How often do I pause and reflect and bounce things off other people and NOT respond in anger and hurt and regret it?  NEVER. IT NEVER HAPPENS.  I pick my battles, make no mistake.  When there is something to fight, I will fight it, just not in the gut reaction way I used to. 

The good news is, I don't do that shit nearly as much as I used to.  And my life is better because of it.

People who constantly have drama in their lives, unfortunately fail to realize that at least some of that drama is their own damn fault.  I used to say, "I hate drama so much!  I don't want drama in my life!"  But then I would turn around and say something that I KNEW DAMN WELL would cause a reaction from someone.  And the cycle continues. 

After I got sober, I thought my life would be so boring that I created my own drama.  Boy did I.  These days, I try so very hard to have an HONEST, normal, quiet, happy, joyous and free existence.  And most of the time, that is exactly what I have.  I don't have to worry what the next email or phone call with be and I can look people in the eyes and take responsibility for my part in things. 


I had to apologize to a friend today because I was an asshole and reacted and took something out on her very inappropriately.  It's not right and it's not fair.  And the best part is I can apologize, and she has a choice of saying, "it's OK" or "screw you, you are an asshole."  Luckily for me, she was fine.  And I cried.  But what else is new?

I cannot control other people, or what they say and do to me, BUT I do find that if I am in control of my side of the street, life seems to go a lot more smoothly.  And that is something I never ever thought I would be able to say - that I love this truly drama free life of mine today.  Just like anything worth keeping, though, I must be vigilant.  My inner asshole is just waiting for me to let her jump into action. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Misery Loves Company?

I've noticed since I've been pregnant many many MANY people WANT me to complain.  It happened before I got pregnant too, because I've been fighting this happiness battle a long time.  But it's happening way more now since I am pregnant.  It's like they cannot wait for me to start whining about how terrible this all is.  Either the pregnancy part of the having two kids coming part.  Well, I hate to disappoint you, but when you work so hard to get pregnant in the first place, you don't really find reason to complain.  In fact, it's quite the opposite.  And I know there are many of you out there who feel exactly the same way I do. 

And I don't need to "just wait until.....".  I don't.  If my past is any indication of what my attitude will be, I will choose gratitude.  For all of it.  Even when I'm miserable.  BECAUSE I MAKE THAT CHOICE.   It doesn't mean I'm delusional or in denial.  It simply means, I've been through shit.  And I can see so much good in every day little stuff that so many take for granted.  There are those among us who celebrate normalcy and even going through pains of something like being pregnant, I am thankful for every little ache and pain and don't take it lightly at all. 

We paid a lot of money and I had one of the worst, darkest periods of my life with In Vitro.  Why the hell would we do all that only to complain about being pregnant and then about having kids? 

I guess it's interesting to me that people so badly want me to be miserable.  Is it really the "misery loves company" thing?  I find it online and in real life, that people say, "how are you feeling?" And I say, "I feel pretty good, I feel lucky that this is a pretty easy pregnancy."  SILENCE.  and then they say, "well just wait, and then they go on to tell me about something TERRIBLE that I will experience with these kids."  Well, yeah.  That's the whole point isn't it?  That doesn't mean I'm not still going to be happy about it at the end of the day. 

I understand some people are bitter.  I understand that some people are not happy in their lives and feel the need to pass along their misery to others, but you know what?  I HAVE A SHIELD AGAINST YOU.

That's right.  This is some Captain America comic book shit right here.  I have a shield against bitterness and negativity and emotional vampirism and I will fight you.  I with fight to not fall victim to your unhappiness.  Because I have been in a hole of unhappiness and I need to defend myself against it. 

I don't mean to say it's all bloody sunshine and roses and that I don't feel extremely uncomfortable and scared and unprepared and all that, but god dammit, we wanted this so badly and we are getting this, and I am more than anything else, SO FUCKING HAPPY and grateful that this is happening. 

So, when you approach me and you have a snarky, snide, bitter comment to make just know, I WILL DEFLECT IT.  I want you to be happy too.  We're not all happy all the damn time, but damn, is life ever good.  I can only control my part of things, and I control that I won't react to negativity if I can at all help it. 

You want to bring me down, YOU WILL HAVE TO TRY HARDER.  Well, no, don't.  I don't really want you to try to bring me down, just as I will only try to build you up.   I want you to be happy, joyous and free.  Not sad and miserable and joyless.  No matter what is going on in my life, even through tears and freak outs, I can find something to be thankful for. 

Then there are the people who are choosing happiness as well.  I love to surround myself with these people.  Even as they go through the shit, they try to find the bright side.  I know, I know, we are annoying as hell, but still we go on and we are hopeful and filled with gratitude.   When you've been through hell on earth, you know that anything else has to be better than that.  And it is.  It really is better.  We all have darkness.  We all experience highs and lows and it's how we deal with those extremes that makes a difference in the long term.

I choose to surround myself with people who want the light and love of happiness.  We fight for it.  We fight for each other.  And that fight can get ugly.  Seems like a paradox - an ugly fight to be happy.  But it is, because it doesn't come naturally to a lot of us.  We have to work at it.  Don't make me start ugly crying, because it's about all I do lately.  And you know what?  I am happy about that.  FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS!  Who wants to put their shield up with me?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 59

I have someone very very close to me who just put someone they love into detox this morning.  This is not earth shattering in that this happens all the time.  People are at the end of their rope and desperate to keep their families together and say they will DO ANYTHING to keep what they have.  DESPERATION and BACKS AGAINST THE WALL are some of recovery's best friends.  OR, it's all bullshit and the people go right back out and drink or use again, like I did several times, before I finally quit drinking for good.

The Thing I Love this Thursday is that I can be there for someone going through all this with a loved one and be compassionate and helpful and just listen.  Just having some perspective about all of this is a blessing.  Usually it takes a good long time before somebody gets to detox or rehab.  There have been many many broken promises, terribly embarrassing occurrences, blackouts, break ups, divorces, custody battles, firings, evictions of the heart and the soul. 

There have been promises, oh how we alcoholics love to make promises.  And it's not even that we don't mean them with all our being at the time, it's just that WE FAIL.  Over and over and over.  WE WILL FAIL.  And yet, we want you to believe us.  To give us just one more chance after we've already exhausted so many chances and thrown them in your face.  We still want you to believe in us and help us just ONE MORE TIME.  It will be different.  I will get better.  I will do it for you.  I will do it for my kids.  I will do it for my family.  I will do it for my boyfriend.  BULLSHIT. 

I know it's bullshit because I have used every single excuse and reason there is to justify that I went out and drank again.  That I hid it in Tupperware containers all over your apartment because I am incredibly shameful and yet, still not ready to quit.  I know it's bullshit because I picked being homeless and penniless and hopeless over a nice warm AA meeting with free coffee.  This only works when we do it for ourselves. When we decide we are enough and we are worthy.

EVERYONE HAS GIVEN UP ON ME.  Everyone has given up on me except for other drunks.  Other drunks extend their hand and say, "I have been where you are and I understand and I will help you up.  AS LONG AS YOU ARE WILLING TO DO ANYTHING TO HELP YOURSELF."

Who could expect our loved ones who we have burned repeatedly for years with our lies and our deception and broken promises to give us more?   And yet, they do, and this person I'm really really close to is beating himself up saying, "I'm an enabler."  Of course you are.  You love this person and the hardest thing to do is to cut off the love and help you think you are giving someone who so desperately needs it.

The thing with us drunks is, we so desperately need help, but until we WANT help?  Nothing makes a lick of difference. 

I'm confident saying I was a big fat liar, cheater, manipulator and all around bad person when I was drinking.  I didn't want to be, but that's what I was.  And as desperately sad and without any hope at all as I was, I still drank and did terrible things to keep up the lies.  BECAUSE I WAS SICK and I didn't take responsibility for anything.   Until I stepped up and OWNED every bad decision I made, I was going to continue to be sick and continue that cycle, hurting everyone who loved me and invested their time, love, energy and resources on me.  It was like a big FUCK YOU to everyone who loved me.

The fact that I CHOOSE HOPE today is a miracle.  And I believe in miracles as I am one.  I shouldn't be here and I know many many others who shouldn't be here either.  If life were fair, we would be dead.  Or at least not nearly as blessed as we are. 

With that in mind, we cannot give up on people who are sick.  But we do have to take care of ourselves first.  You know that whole, "when the oxygen mask comes down, put it on yourself first before you help others?" Yeah, life and dealing with addicts/alcoholics is like that too.  YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.  You are no good to anyone if you are completely depleted of resources, love and hope.  Put that oxygen mask on and BREATHE DEEP.  YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE for anyone's sobriety.  ONLY THAT PERSON is responsible.  I promise you.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Great Expectations for Multiples

We attended our first in a two part series of a class at the hospital yesterday - Great Expectations for Multiples - with the second part next Sunday.

NOW, my question is, why does it have to be GREAT EXPECTATIONS for Multiples?  Why can't it just be, WE ARE DOING THE BEST WE CAN TO KEEP OUR SHIT TOGETHER for Multiples?  Or, Christ on a Bicycle, you can have a vaginal birth and THEN a Cesarean on the second baby all in one delivery?  I'm out.  I AM OUT. 

Just kidding, but not really.  NO really, I'm totally kidding, we are SO READY for this.  You know that's the number one thing people ask us right now is, "ARE YOU READY?"  and my answer is always, "No, not even close and how could we be?"

We toured the hospital in stages yesterday on our tour with the multiples group --  about 10 couples all having multiples --  Triage, Operating Room, Delivery, NCIU, and Recovery.  This hospital is like a 5 star hotel except there are a lot of damn crying babies (and crying Katy's) and lots of inappropriate body parts hanging out everywhere. 

I had my second of 4 baby showers on Saturday and cried about 14 times.  Gratitude and fear are my go-to's right now.  I'm either deathly afraid or so damn grateful it moves me to tears.  Sometimes it's both, I AM SO TERRIFIED AND YET SO GRATEFUL to be in this position that I ugly cry several every day about close to nothing.   So, I cried at the shower, which was absolutely lovely, given by my My Lynnie and my favorite, most amazing women were there. 

Here's the thing, we met a younger couple yesterday who are having TRIPLETS.  They had two eggs inserted back in during In Vitro, just like we did, and one of the eggs split again!  CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE? The odds are less than 1% of that happening and my dear sweet husband and I joked about that happening with us and how freaked out we would be, and yet, this couple was laughing and so happy.  They were completely WIDE EYED but so sweet and so loving to each other, I just know they are going to be just fine.   There was another woman there who was single and pregnant with twins through IVF.  I cannot imagine doing this without a partner, and yet, it takes a village and I hope that woman has a village to make this all work.

The nurse who was leading the class asked, "How many of you have gone on the internet to read about having multiples?" I was proud of all of us, that only a couple raised their hands.  I run away from that shit.  I've read a few books on multiples, and at the last one, my husband told me to stop reading.  And I have and am reading the new Stephen King now instead and feeling much more calm.  The thing about the unknown is it causes fear.  Once we get going, we are going to be just fine.  We will be frazzled and tired and crazy, but at least the speculation will be done. 

That fear I had when I got sober of WHAT WILL MY LIFE BE LIKE WITHOUT DRINKING is gone now because I've lived sober for quite a while and the fear was replaced with how INCREDIBLE life is in sobriety. I imagine that everyone who has kids has that fear and then all of a sudden, you just are a parent and doing the best you can.  It may not be GREAT EXPECTATIONS in CHILD REARING all the damn time, but it's pretty damn good. 

I can honestly say, I've never felt so many emotions in my life as my hormonal self is feeling right now.  Everything is amplified and through tears.  Whether it be happy or sad or scared or confident - and grateful to be confident and feeling good - it manifests in tears.  And that is just fine.  I don't ever want to forget any of this.  This life that I have today and what I'm going through and feeling, as uncomfortable and crazy as it is sometimes, is so much better than I ever dreamed it could be. 

Someone wrote me an email last week saying that "only rich, entitled people get ivf" and that I was "rubbing my pregnancy in the faces of my readers".  Now, rarely do I get really uppity about something someone writes me if it's someone telling me I suck or something, I take it with a grain of salt and try to move on, as I am not for everyone.  But to say that I am rich and entitled is the antithesis of who I am.  And no one knows all the reasons my husband and I did IVF because that is private.  And how we were able to pay for it is private.  We are FAR FROM RICH and we both work our asses off for what we have.  So, this hurt me deeply.  I don't ever want to rub anything in the face of anyone.  ESPECIALLY women who so desperately want a baby.  That is the whole reason I started this blog and page was to connect and talk about my journey.  With sobriety and with finding my child/children - whatever form that takes.  I don't take one second of my life for granted.  The fact that this is happening is beyond my wildest dreams.   And if I am AT ALL coming across as anything other than completely grateful and thrilled to have this be happening, I don't want to be doing it. 

I am pregnant.  With twins.  And while I try not to have EXPECTATIONS, It's pretty damn GREAT.  See what I did there?   

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 58

This is a great symbol to me of good clean fun.  Save me the "soda is bad for you" routine, I rarely drink it and sometimes it's the only thing that hits the spot.

There is so much to love this Thursday, it's difficult to pick one Thing.  And that one thing today is that I am pretty raw.  And that suits me just fine.  I am far from blocked off, as far as what I share for the greater good.  Let me explain:

I was asked to do an interview, along with Mary Tyler Mom, a fantastic writer and blogger who also happens to be in Chicago, and I am so proud to be her friend.  Anyway, we met up with this writer for a Chicago magazine last night at a little cafe in our neighborhood and chatted over delicious, but a rare treat for me, Coca Colas.

People know MTM as a Cancer Mom.  And she is.  Boy is she ever.  And the most gracious and devoted advocate for Pediatric Cancer I know and honestly, her story of her daughter Donna changed my life and tons of other people's lives around the world.  And now, being friends with MTM has shown me she is SO MUCH MORE than Cancer Mom.  It's her passion and her calling, just like I am Sobriety Girl and more recently, IVF and TWINS LADY.  And yet, I am SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. 

Sometimes, not for long, but sometimes, I forget.  I sit in a fancy little place like that with two healthy babies growing in my belly with two successful moms who have lives that are good and relatively normal and I forget.  We sit there and chat and answer questions as if I am one of them.  And today, I kind of am like them.  I kind of belong to that club of women who have it all, who struggle -  AS EVERYONE DOES and if they don't admit it they're lying -  but who are incredibly blessed.

The truth is, I NEVER FORGET.  I blog about my story and where I've come from so I don't ever forget.  I talk about my story a lot so I never ever forget or take for granted that I am ONLY in this position because I am sober.  That I am not just like them.  I AM A DRUNK - surprise!  And you all know I'm grateful for that.  But the truth is, if they have wine while sitting there talking they can go on about their daily lives, if I have wine, my entire universe and everyone in it is fucked.

The lovely woman who was interviewing us last night asked, "how does it feel to be so RAW?"  Well, I am never good at spur of the moment answers, and I tend to trip over my words until I am behind a screen with a keyboard and then I can find my words.  RAW?  Well, when you've lost everything and you crawl back out to try to make a life for yourself, the word RAW doesn't occur to you.  You just do whatever you can do to make your life work. 

Am I an impostor in my own life?  Sometimes it feels that way.  When I'm somewhere new and nobody knows my story and my situation, I feel like an impostor.  Like I should have a big sign on my forehead that says, "I am a drunk who's not drinking and a smoker who's not smoking, so please consider this your warning"  But I don't have that.  I just look like a normal person, but I'm not a normal person.  I bet most of us feel that way.  I am not the only one with a back story and a story that is CRITICAL I keep in front of my face AT ALL TIMES.    But I don't have to keep it in YOUR face at all times.  It's my responsibility.  When you are in recovery, it has to be a constant thing, 24 hours a day, not just when it's convenient. 

It's not just not ordering a drink at a cafe, it's being responsible, whenever and wherever somebody is asking for help, I am responsible.  It doesn't mean I am responsible FOR THAT PERSON.  BUT I am responsible to carry the message of hope and recovery.  And I can honestly say I do. No matter how inconvenient it is or even if I just don't feel like it, I carry that damn message.  And it helps me be grateful.  All day, every day.  YOU all help keep me sober.  We help each other.  I have reminders of OH MY GOD, HOW IS THIS MY LIFE?  Meaning, I seriously pinch myself and think, THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN I EVER COULD HAVE DREAMED.  Even on the shittiest of days, it's still so much better than my best days drunk.  

And the reason is because I have been so RAW.  I am going to say that is my Thing I Love this Thursday.  Being raw.  I am happy to be known as Sobriety Girl or Drunk Girl who is not drinking today, or whatever I am characterized as.  I know that without this, I have nothing.   I am that and so much more, but at the core, that is who I am and I have no shame about that.  It is because I am a drunk who is in recovery that I get to be a mom.  And a way better mom than I would have been had I not gone through all this.  And one day, I will proudly share my story and this blog with my kids.  They will know about their mom.  I can't stop them from taking their own path, but I can tell them my experience, strength and hope.  So, if that makes me raw, so be it.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and it doesn't hurt nearly as much as it used to.  It sure feels way more than it ever did, that's for damn sure. 

We have to feel the really really bad and the really really good to experience life.  No numbing.  No running away.  Just feeling.  Sitting with it and experiencing all that life has to offer.  If you numb it out, it is still there.  It doesn't go away.  It's always there until we deal with it.  I find if I just get to the business of dealing with the shit, I get to deal with the sweet that much more.  Like, for example, having a sweet delicious Coca Cola with two lovely ladies talking about how great life is through grateful tears and laughter. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 57

Hey!  Did you know that November is Gratitude Month?  Well, it makes sense since Thanksgiving falls in November that folks get reflective, right?  I'm all about gratitude as you well know, AND IT'S NOT FOR A DAY OR A WEEK OR A MONTH OF THE YEAR, BUT EVERY DAY ALL THE DAMN TIME.

I found this great passage relating to A.A. and gratitude - and I love this part -
"Gratitude. It's a weighty, high-dignity word, but in truth its close companions are humor and joy. As Bill W. observed early on in the Big Book (p. 132), "Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others." What greater cause can there be for rejoicing than this?"
LAUGHTER.  People are sometimes horrified that we joke about these awful terrible things we did or what happened, but if we didn't laugh about it, we would constantly be in the fetal position crying and terrified.  So I say, let's LAUGH!  I just want to give back what was so freely given to me by so many who walked this path before I did.  And laughter and humor are a huge part of helping people who are trying to get better.  I laugh so much harder and more genuinely since I got sober, than I ever did when I was drinking or even before I ever drank.  Being a drunk has led me to happiness.  True happiness. 

Honestly, I am so grateful to be a drunk who is not drinking because I never would have known about gratitude if not for that whole LOSING EVERYTHING thing. 

I talk about gratitude lists a lot. Because they are critical to my sobriety and my keeping everything in perspective. I can be so grateful because I have been so hopeless. I haven't been hopeless for a long time, and for that, I have sobriety to thank.

On Facebook the last few years, I've seen people list something they are thankful for every day of November.  Which is all fine and good, but I say, why not do it every damn day of the year,  not just for one month.  Do you want a challenge?  I dare you to start making gratitude lists every day.  I do mine at night before I go to bed when I do what is called a 10th Step in the program.  It's taking a daily inventory of what you think you handled well, and what you could have done better in handling.  Honestly, it's a great way to end the day before putting it to bed, as we only have 24 hours. 

You've seen my standard gratitude lists before -
  1. sobriety
  2. roof over my head
  3. my dear sweet husband
  4. my job
  5. kitties
  6. nutritious food and clean water
  7. friends and family
  8. these two babes in my belly
That is just the base. It builds from there and can go into as much detail as you like. All I know is, being grateful for what I have and laughing about just about everything helps me to stay sober and help others every day. You certainly don't need to be sober or working a 12 Step program to do gratitude. It happens when you are thankful and open to the little things that make this life so great. It's all around us.

We don't have a lot.  But we have so much.  Instead of whining and complaining, for the most part, I choose gratitude and hope.  Even for the shitty parts.  I have my moments, OF COURSE, every human does.  But I accept every part of what has been my life and try to learn and grow from it.  Sometimes it doesn't happen for years that I understand what things meant or why they happened and there are many things I will just never understand and that is OK.  I don't need to understand everything. 

Here's what I do know, as I posted last night -  
I'm pretty sure the stinky boozey homeless dude sits next to me on the train because I've been the stinky boozey homeless dudette. And I look him in the eye. Compassion doesn't take time off.
and then -
I always ask "where you headed?" And say oh I've been to a good AA meeting around there. We try. That's the best we can do. Some are more open to chatting than others. Ill happily share my experience strength and hope with someone who wants to hear it.

I have compassion, but it had to be learned.  I had to go through what I did in order to feel compassion for those who are suffering and less than in society's eyes.  I can't force people to listen, and I don't want to.  People who want change will be open to it and those who aren't ready, won't.  There is nothing we can do to help except for try without being forceful.  Nobody wants that forceful preaching, including me.  I'm grateful for compassion.  I'm grateful for what I've been through and knowing that others are going through it right now and much worse and I am here to help if I can. 

So, the Thing I Love this Thursday is gratitude.  Gratitude lists if you will.   Try it.  What have you got to lose?  I should add that I am grateful for all you readers out there.  I bet there are amazing gratitude lists out there.  From truly amazing people.   Let's be truly truly grateful.  Not just this month.  But for every day.