March 4th was my anniversary. I have been sober for 14 years. What a 14 years it’s been!! I haven’t been feeling well and received some distressing news at my doctors appointment last Thursday but despite the news I am blessed. I got home that night and my cousin had mailed me a package. Inside were 2 beautiful, healing bracelets she had made for me, a Con Brio (SF band I love) CD, a Survivor pendant, a made in SF t-shirt to remind me of the city I miss and love so much and the most beautiful card ever. My eyes filled w tears. I was a blubbering mess at the post office. On March 4th I got to my office and I was greeted with these beautiful flowers on my desk. I was shocked. I haven’t received flowers in a very long time. They were a gift from my friend from church congratulating me on 14 years of sobriety. The flowers came w a lovely card and a beautiful message. Now as you know I’m Catholic. As a Catholic flowers are a sign of love. They are also a sign from St Therese of Lisieux, one of my favorite saints, that our prayers are being answered. Talk about bringing me hope. I have some challenges ahead but the good news is I’m sober and I’m blessed to have some wonderful people in my life. Thank you Melissa Perez. I love you so much!!! And thank you Norma Espinoza. I’m so blessed to call you my friend.
As I look back on the past five years it’s a miracle I’ve managed to remain sober. In 2011 my dad passed away. I was devastated. Two years later I found myself in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship and I was fighting cancer. Today my life is a mess. I’m overcoming financial challenges, I’m living at home with my mother and it appears my fight with cancer continues. However, despite the challenges I’m happy to say I haven’t drowned myself at the bottom of a bottle. For that I’m so grateful that the lord continues to give me strength to overcome each day without the desire to drink. Now I’m not trying to sugar coat sobriety by insinuating it’s easy. It’s not. Every day I have to make the decision to choose life over a bottle of Chardonnay or Captain Morgan’s. Just like I have to make the decision to keep fighting this nasty disease. Life is good. It’s even better when you’re sober. So if you’re reading my blog today and you’re struggling with an addiction or just a major challenge in your life. Remember…..if I can do it, so can you. Keep up the fight. Life’s worth living. It truly is. God bless to all of you reading today. May you receive your bouquet of flowers and may it be a sign your prayers are being answered. I know I’m expecting mine!!! May you your prayers be answered too.
I woke up this morning at 6 am. I was rather shaken from a dream, however when I tried to recall the details of the dream, I couldn’t bring myself to remember. I sat down to have a cup of coffee but I had this feeling I needed to go to an AA meeting. I got dressed and decided to walk the Kehei strip and attend the 7:00 meeting on the beach. It rained last night here in Maui so the walk was rather muggy. As I walked I prayed asking for healing not just for myself but my children, my mother, brother, friends and even my ex. I also prayed that one day I would call Maui my second home. I love it here. Maui is a very healing place. I’ve met so many people here and have made more friends in the five times I’ve been here these past two years than I have living in San Francisco. The people here are friendly and very happy. Everyone I’ve met is healing from something. Whether it’s a divorce, cancer, addiction or even just trying to find themselves, somehow Maui is the place to be. Maui is not for everyone but it certainly is the place for me.
I love Maui but for some reason this morning I didn’t wake up to that peaceful, easy feeling I have welcomed every morning that I’ve been here. AA was calling my name. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t have this urge to drink, I just had this urge to hear the words of encouragement I can only get when I attend a meeting and listen to the words of wisdom from one of my fellow recovering alcoholics. I walked the long stretch, praying and reflecting. When i arrived at the meeting it was cancelled so I turned around and walked home. As I walked back I kept thinking about my life, my kids and suddenly I found myself thinking about the two young kids I saw outside the grocery store yesterday. Ron and I ran to Time super market yesterday afternoon after spending a couple of hours at Big Beach. After we paid for our groceries, Ron decided to run back inside to buy an order of BBQ chicken. I told him I’d wait by the car. Our car was parked in front of the store next to the picnic tables outside. I walked towards the car and there were several young 20 year olds sitting and standing next to the table. I could tell they were not much older than 21. As I stood next to my car one of the young girls turned around and looked at me. Her face was covered in sores. At first I thought it was acne. I couldn’t help but stare. As I looked closer I noticed not only was this young girls face covered in sores but so were her arms, legs and feet. She kept pulling her pants down and scratching her bottom. I was rather dumbfounded. When I looked at her boyfriend he was also covered in sores. They were both very dirty. At that point I saw the boyfriend make an exchange w someone sitting at the table. I realized I had witnessed a drug deal. I remembered a girl I met so many years ago when I was in rehab battling alcohol addiction. She was a meth addict. When she arrived her face and body were covered with the same sores. I learned at that time those were side effects from meth. I watched these two young kids walk towards their car. They got in a jalopy and drove away. My heart sank and my stomach was sick. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them and pray they would find sobriety. I prayed for my own kids silently as we drove home. I was really bothered by this. I suspect that’s what was bothering me this morning. As we drove home I suddenly thought of my dad. As some of you are aware I have had my own struggles with addiction. I’ve also battled an eating disorder. In 1996 I beat my eating disorder and in 2002 I beat my alcohol addiction. Both times my dad was my biggest supporter. Every time I wanted to give up my dad would always remind me there were people fighting harder diseases such as cancer. They were fighting because they wanted to live. He would tell me that while my life at that time may have seemed crappy, others would give anything to trade their lives with me just for a chance to live another day. My dad would tell me I had a chance, others weren’t quite as lucky. He would say “you’re slowly killing yourself while others are fighting to stay alive!” I used to get so mad at him but suddenly as we drove home everything my dad said made sense. Today I’m fighting cancer. I don’t want to die. I want to live to see what my kids will become. I want to experience grandkids. I want to travel the world. I have so many unfulfilled dreams I want to accomplish. While I’m fighting to stay alive, these two young kids were fighting for another high, while slowly but surely killing themselves. It made me sad. My dad is no longer by my side supporting me as I fight my new battle….cancer but his words of wisdom are still the words that give me strength to fight and never give up. I hope that the two young people I saw yesterday will be blessed with someone as wonderful as my dad was to come in to their lives and give them the same words of encouragement and support my dad offered so many years ago and they too will experience winning the fight to overcome their addiction. Today I’m lost without my dad. I’d give anything to hear his words of wisdom just one more time but while he is no longer with me I’m confident he’s with me in spirit. I will continue to pray for healing for these two young kids. Of course I’ll be sure to pray for my healing too. I’ve survived everything else, why not survive this little thing called cancer too!!! If I can do it, so can you!!