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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You (for Ellie)…

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You (for Ellie)…

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You (for Ellie)…

I was sitting in the dry cleaner’s parking lot yesterday and my young friend Ellie called me. I don’t hear from her much these days. It feels like there is something missing in my life, like I forgot the pearls I was going to wear on the kitchen table. Or  there is a needful thing in the pocket of a coat I left hanging in the closet. It’s not like I ruminate all the time. But occasionally, I get hit with the thought, “Oh. After all the things we tried, all the effort and prayer, we lost. We lost the girls…”

 

Things Happen…

I hate when that happens. Anyway, Ellie (who is attempting to make the best of her lot) called yesterday. She said she had been worried about me. She reads the blog, and because she hadn’t seen anything new for a week, she thought something was wrong. This is a person who has learned early in life (cover your eyes Ellie) that shit happens. She has learned to protect her interests. So she, more than anyone I can think of, would notice if someone important to her goes off the grid.

 

Ellie says there is no Thanksgiving tomorrow where she lives. Her voice sounded flat. She and I have a strong connection. We’ve both been through a lot; and both of us have been influenced by her dad. We both know what alcoholism can do to a family and how it’s possible (with love and hard work) to get it back. Ellie reminded me that one of the important things in recovery (and in life) is accountability.  Community. She reminded me that if you fill your life with folks who wonder where you are – when you don’t turn up – you have a much better chance at staying sober. And a much happier, healthier life.

 

It’s Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving. And so I want to remind you Ellie, that I notice when I do not hear from you. That I hold you accountable to our friendship and our love. And that even though you do not have a Thanksgiving where you are, I am THANKFUL for you. I am thankful for your sister Evie. I am better for knowing both of you…

 

And since I am feeling thankful, I want to thank the community that has built up around this blog. For the laughs, the struggles, the prayers, the support, the love and the accountability.

Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.

 

And for fun:

Image result for addams family thanksgiving

The Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past…

 

Today I’m not drinking because it’s almost Thanksgiving!

 

How come you’re not drinking?

 

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Comments (34)

  1. Avatar
    Heidi
    Nov 23, 2016

    Have been reading your blog for some time. Discovered it after visiting Staniel Cay (as a sober person among drinkers). We have begun a tradition of spending Thanksgiving on some island or other in the Caribbean. Thank you for being a voice in the wilderness for me. Heidi

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 23, 2016

      Thank you. I miss Staniel Cay almost once a week. Still. I would like to go back, but so much of my experience there is mixed up with drunkenness. It was only long after I left that I discovered two things – there were sober people in the islands and those people were worried about me as I careened around like a dervish. I am so glad I can strike a chord.
      XXXOOO
      M

  2. Avatar
    Marsha
    Nov 23, 2016

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because my daughter is flying up today.
    Hi Marilyn, Thanks for your blog. I really love it. I’m still in fits and starts with my sobriety. This morning I was reviewing my budget and cursing myself for all of the wasted money spent on booze. I felt shame once again and this is an obstacle. Shame makes me feel like crap–like a lowlife. It’s something that just plagues me. My daughter is here until Tuesday and then she’ll fly back down to Jax. I have no thoughts of drinking at all while she is here. Sometimes I can’t believe the way my mind works. Maybe I can get something long term going this time.

    • Avatar
      Tim S
      Nov 23, 2016

      Hi, Marsha,

      Happy Thanksgiving.

      I don’t know what your experience with AA has been but please give it a(nother) try, preferably 90 meetings in 90 days, preferably with a regular women’s meeting (or several) in the mix. If you can afford a good treatment program or have insurance that will cover it, consider that (again).

      If it’s shame that’s keeping you away, you’ll find others’ experiences that objectively dwarf yours. If it’s fear that blocks you, fear is a fact of life but is easier to handle when you’re surrounded by a bunch of people whose only wish is to help you stay sober and many of whom have experienced similar fears.. If it’s “the god thing” or religiosity, it might make it a harder but not impossible. There are many atheists and agnostics in AA, some of us in the closet, some of us not, but all sober. I know many Jews, some Native American followers of the Native tradition, several Buddhists, some Wiccans, and a scattering of other people observant of a variety of religious and spiritual traditions.

      I know it’s presumptuous of me to write you this way but it would also be presumptuous to read your pain and not reach out. If it would be helpful to talk, my direct line is 503-545-8535.

      Tim

      • Avatar
        Marsha
        Nov 23, 2016

        Thank-you, Tim. I really appreciate this. I am afraid of seeing someone I might know at a local AA meeting. I haven’t ruled it out, though.

        • Avatar
          Tim S
          Nov 23, 2016

          Here’s the thing about that: you might see someone you know but if you do, they’re there for the same reason you are and they will understand, and not judge.

          I was a lawyer, until I retired. At one of my first meetings I was shocked – but not for long – to see a judge I knew raise his hand and say “My name is [..] and I’m an alcoholic.” My dad was an Episcopal bishop. I’ve run into several parish priests who I had known through him. Also at my first meeting was a guy I knew from he and I being the only guys in our Jazzercise class. [It was a long time ago.]. Last year, I learned that a neighbor-friend who I had know for 5-6 years is a long- time sober member of AA. We just went to different meetings. I’m pretty confident no one who doesn’t have a problem with alcohol hangs out in AA meetings to see if anyone they know shows up. We’re there because we’ve learned that it helps us stay sober and because it gives us a chance to help you stay sober (which helps us stay sober).

          Good luck! Call if you want, any time.

          Tim

        • Avatar
          Tim S
          Nov 23, 2016

          PS. I have one woman friend, in particular, who got sober in a very small town in Missouri. She and her husband were fairly prominent and she had a similar fear but she got past it once she started going to meetings because she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. (She also might have had a couple of DUIIs to help her along, I no longer remember). I think I could put the two of you in touch if you want.

        • Avatar
          Laurie
          Nov 24, 2016

          Marsha, seeing someone I knew at an AA meeting was always my fear too. Funny but true comment I heard at one was, “interesting how I used to say I didn’t want to go to an AA meeting because I was afraid I’d see someone I knew, but never seemed to be afraid someone I knew would see my sloppy drunk or passed out.” Oh, the silly minds of us alcoholics. I hope you will give it a try. They help me immensely. I need to go to more though. Thanks for the reminder Tim. Marsha, I have the same hope as you and that is that I will get something going long term this time. And I hope the same for you.

          • Avatar
            Tim S
            Nov 25, 2016

            It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the family member whose drunkenness has ruined more than one previous family event did it again: loudly highjacking every conversation, slurring, repeating herself 4-5 times. (There was a time when that family member would have been me. Thank god it’s not any more.). We left immediately after dessert and I had Pru drop me off at a meeting I had never been to where I connected with some people I didn’t know. Afterward I walked home in a driving Portland rain-just-short-of-snow storm.

            The last time I saw my relative a couple of months ago she said she wants to stop, or maybe “needs to stop” which can be different, but she’s not ready yet.

      • Marilyn
        Marilyn
        Nov 23, 2016

        Well said.
        M

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 23, 2016

      I am so glad to hear from you. And I can totally relate to what you are saying. I was a situational drinker. I mostly drank alone. Never when I was visiting my mom. When the holidays are over, please let’s get together. I am sure I can give you a tip or two. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your daughter’s visit.
      XXXOOO
      M

      • Avatar
        Marsha
        Nov 23, 2016

        Tim I put your number on my phone. I will probable give you a call sometime after my daughter goes back to Florida. Thanks again. Marsha

  3. Avatar
    Richard
    Nov 23, 2016

    M. Have a happy Thanksgiving!!

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 23, 2016

      Richard!!!! I am so happy to hear from you. I hope you are well. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
      XXXOOO
      M

  4. Avatar
    Martha
    Nov 23, 2016

    How come you're not drinking?
    The holidays are coming and I don't want to miss a thing!
    Wow. I’m so glad that Ellie has you. And you have her. I haven’t posted in a while but I remember that sweet child posting a positive reply to something I wrote real early in my sobriety. I am happy to say that I am now 104 days sober and can’t believe what an amazing gift I have been given. This will be my first sober thanksgiving in many years and I can’t wait!

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 23, 2016

      Congratulations!!!! I am so happy for you. And you will find that a sober Thanksgiving means you won’t burn the turkey or yourself and no broken glass… Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!
      XXXOOO
      M

  5. Avatar
    Tim S
    Nov 23, 2016

    We’ll set a place for Ellie tomorrow and be thankful for her presence in the world if not at our table.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 23, 2016

      You are a peach. Happy Thanksgiving.
      XXXOOO
      M

    • Avatar
      can I tell you something?
      Nov 23, 2016

      Thank you sir and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  6. Avatar
    Kim
    Nov 23, 2016

    I am thankful for a best friend that has given me (already) more happy, hilarious memories than a girl could ask for. I am thankful for an incredible husband and children, family and many true friendships that have helped form the fabric of my life. And just when I thought my heart was full enough, along comes Ellie and Evie. I now see that I can take in far more than I thought my heart could hold, and can sit in wonder over the crazy circumstances that have woven us all together. I too am unhappy with the status Quo, but as you so beautifully pointed out Mare, we remain firmly planted in our love , missing the girls, praying for them, and ever hopeful that a positive change will come.

    Ellie and Evie…..We are Thankful for you!

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 23, 2016

      I am thankful for you.
      Love,
      Mare

    • Avatar
      can I tell you something?
      Nov 23, 2016

      Dear God,
      So much I don’t understand in my life. So much I wish I could control and pick, but I know it doesn’t work this way. But God when you sent me Miss Kim , Miss Marilyn, and my other I knew you will always hear my prayers. Thank you God for these mommies and thank you for opening their hearts for us to fit in. They are our family and we love them. Please watch over them and let them feel our love for them too.
      Love,
      Ellie and Evie

  7. Avatar
    Cocomac
    Nov 23, 2016

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because I'm thankful for your giving!
    I have followed your blog for over a year now and been sober for more than two years. Your writing has been a great support for me, especially in these times when I don’t really ever think about having a drink but wonder what’s next. We don’t do Thanksgiving in the Highlands of Scotland but I will be giving thanks to you tonight and toasting you with a Honegar ginger fizz! Thank you, thank you, thank you. xxxx

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 23, 2016

      I LOVE the Highlands. I spent many a week near Inverness in a place called Kinveachy Lodge. Other than The Bahamas, the Highlands of Scotland is my favorite place to be. Ach, but they can drink the whisky… I will think of you and toast you too. Wish that I were there. Thank you so much. This made my (otherwise great) day better.
      XXXOOO
      M

      • Avatar
        Cocomac
        Nov 25, 2016

        Kinveachy is not too far from me as the crow flies but there are a few big mountains in between. I googled it and the first image I got was a large malt – yep, that is the problem with the Highlands – we love our whisky….but looking at it now I realise what a big con it all is and that it’s just as poisonous as ‘hooch’! Anyway, love your blog and I will endeavour to comment more – there are a lot of damn fine people hang out here! XXXOOO Cocomac

  8. Avatar
    can I tell you something?
    Nov 23, 2016

    Message received, you hold me accountable too. Alright I HEARD you even from here. And I love you for eveything you said. When dad was alive thanksgiving was a time we gave thanks for all our blessings. Then we had this little glass vase that some artist had made and given my dad in Russia. We always did our blessings then wrote something we dreamed we would like to come true and be thankful for and we put it in this vase. I don’t know how they made it but it was like hand blown different colored glass and it seemed to be transparent and beautiful and hopeful in its color. We left it in there all year and read it the next year to help us see how god directs our pathways more than we do. All year Evie and I would look at it as if you could see through time in a crystal ball. I miss my traditions. Thank you for helping me feel them.
    I am thankful for so many things especially you in our lives. We love you Miss Marilyn.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 23, 2016

      I think when you have experienced someone like your dad – Nick – it is very hard to go back to living a “normal” life. He was such an animated person – so much energy for things like interpreting art and clouds…for looking up AND down… for making a crystal ball out of a small vase. But everyone deserves to have their traditions and their talismans. You deserve to hold your memories and your mores. Where is that vase? Where are last years dreams? Folded into small squares and wedged into blown glass…

      I love you. Thanksgiving is here even if you are not. I am thinking of you and your sister and wishing my wish for you would come true. You know what that is.
      M

  9. Avatar
    Marsha
    Nov 23, 2016

    Marilyn, I will call you after the holidays. Maybe I’ll have some positive sober days behind me at that point–Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 24, 2016

      Great. In the mean time have fun with your daughter and every morning you don’t drink feel how you FEEL.
      XXXOOO
      M

  10. Avatar
    George
    Nov 24, 2016

    Marylin, you are truly an inspiration to……EVERYBODY remind me the next time I see you to give you an extra tight hug!!!!

  11. Avatar
    Alice
    Nov 24, 2016

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because I want to be happy this Thanksgiving
    There are so many amazing people who read this blog, as I am discovering from the comments 🙂

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Nov 24, 2016

      I KNOW. I was just thinking the same thing. Happy Thanksgiving to you!
      XXXOOO
      M

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