Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Sober life: Step 7 for a crazy week to come

On random play this morning on iPod:

“Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison (Astral Weeks, 1968)

Crazy week coming up in G’s house: renting the apartment next door this weekend; husband leaves for UK next Wednesday; school ends next Thursday; get the folks sorted to look after house and garden; pack me and the kid up and leave next Sunday. Fly Delta, change terminals/planes in JFK, massive airport I’ve never negotiated. (Any tips?)

My beloved mother- and father-in-law both moved to a nursing-home six weeks ago. On the face of it, they moved for respite from being at home: they’re both in their 80s, and she had been taking care of him in his dementia. But this past Monday, we were informed that my mother-in-law’s back is broken. We don’t know anything else: we were told, in an email, “fractured.”

So they’re in a bad way. Their beautiful little Georgian townhouse with its garden terrace will, in all likelihood, have to be sold this summer. It will be the last time my husband sees his family’s home. He’s already in grief.

Writing this helps. Because I was about to say: “I am flying to a country where they sell codeine over-the-counter.” They sell this bloody ibuprofen-codeine compound called Nurofen, you can get 36 tablets for like £7 or something, do you know how many people in the UK are addicted to this stuff, spend days trawling from one pharmacy to another buying boxes of this and eating lethal quantities of ibuprofen? It’s not the codeine that will kill them, it’s the Motrin.

But writing “He’s already in grief” helps me get out of my own head and remember it’s not all about me and my “stress.”

One of my big defects: fear of abandonment (my in-laws are leaving ME).

When I ask for it to be removed, I can suddenly remember ways I can help this family.

I also need to take care of myself. I’m taking my iPod. Tennis racquet. Running shoes. Camera. Pencil and sketchbook.

None of these will be of use unless I pack a positive attitude. Also, unless I ask for help. I have meeting lists for the places where I’ll be. My AlAnon sponsor (with whom I started working in 1999, before cell phones were widely available) has always been fond of saying, “There’s a phone in every city.” She is now in Johannesburg; my AA sponsor is—somewhere, in a busy summer travel schedule; and I’ll be in the UK. Now there’s Skype, AIM, text, Facebook.

And my higher power never goes anywhere. Well, it goes everywhere. It’s Skype-free.

There’s always help. If I ask.


  1. It sounds like a busy week. I can only say Take It Easy. That helps me to remember to take care of myself and not to do too much or get overwhelmed. Hope that the trip goes well.

  2. Good luck, G. I hope you have a good trip despite the challenges 🙂

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