Monthly Archives: December 2010


I am trying very VERY hard to feel sorry for myself on this dateless New Year’s Eve. Trying and failing. Truth be told, I am thrilled to be relieved of the pressure of attempting to adore one’s amour while waxing increasingly inebriated. I call it RUI (romancing under the influence) and having spent three decades in coupledom I can attest that it is pretty much impossible.

Call me Sour Grapes but in my opinion New Year’s Eve is the worst date night of the year. My heart goes out to the many brave, loving folks who are preparing for a very verrrrrrrrrrry long night together.

Think of it: Millions of innocents feeling pressure to reach the pinnacle of romance under the crummiest conditions: 1)They must spend at least five hours drinking budget bubbly and engaging in senseless chatter. 2)THEN the poor dizzy darlings are expected to stagger home, yank off the Spanx and make love.

Have you ever tried to summon Grand Passion on a bed that felt as if it were spinning at the speed of sound? How about staying chummy with your loved one while both of you sink deeper and deeper into your cups?  I know that premium alcohol ads tell us that drinking cocktails magically transforms you and your partner into supermodels with doctorates in charm and sophistication. I beg to differ.

Here ‘s what I’ve experienced getting soused with a spouse on New Year’s Eve:

1)We rehashed our most ridiculous arguments, including:

Why are you looking at that WOMAN?

I’ve been thinking about the BABY thing.

When are you going to start making more money?

Do you think I look fat in this dress? I don’t look fat! You think I’m fat, don’t you?

2)We spent the evening engaged in awkward flirting or clumsy dancing with other people’s partners.

3)We managed to get home after both of us took the steering wheel and we drove the car together VERY slowly.

4)Champagne-soaked sex was simply AWFUL.

WHAT CAN BE DONE about the year’s worst Date Night?

I have experienced a couple of lovely and very romantic New Year’s Eves. In each case, I was able to find sparkle and excitement with little or no alcohol OMG! LOL? WORD. Here is how:

Glitter: I have had good luck with glitter on New year’s Eve. Yes, I am talking about the shiny stuff used in children’s art projects that comes in plastic tubes and in a multitude of colors. It’s a harmless thing to spread around and creates a magical atmosphere. Ditto sparklers (used with caution), candles, helium balloons and bubbles blown through a small plastic wand.

Once, when I was a child, I went to the New Year’s Eve fete of a family friend and met a sweet bohemian grandmother who doused me and my siblings with glitter and then proceeded to attach party balloons to a plastic cup of champagne and launch the cup into the air.

Dressing up: Over the top glam dressing is a harmless high. It gives you a tremendous lift and makes you feel romantic. It is especially fun if both you and your partner dress formally and even more fun if you are overdressed for wherever you are going.

Skip the champagne: Or have a child’s portion at midnight. While it may be true that a glass or two strips away inhibition, it is a myth, rampant at this time of year, that a large dose of liquor will ignite your love life. Doesn’t experience tell us the opposite?

If romance is what you and your partner are after, why not keep in mind something you already know:

Love without bubbles is the love that truly shimmers.


Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Recovery Journal



Last night, the season’s first snowfall was light to the touch, a soft carpet muting footfalls on the pavement. When struck by a shoe, it rose up in a powdery cloud, then  settled silently into shimmering mounds. It lay upon the trees like raiment.

Tonight it has changed, receded, hardened into crust and opaque patches of ice. Walking on it produces a loud crunching noise, rather unpleasant. One worries about disturbing the neighbors.

Tomorrow it will change again, as Saturday shovelers clean their sidewalks and cars. Metal on asphalt, plastic on glass: the grating, scraping sound will rise up to second floor bedrooms and summon people harshly from their dreams. Later the landscapers will rumble in with their blowers, clearing driveways with a deafening buzz that feels to the ear as if it were drilling through the skull.

In a few days or maybe weeks a rough winter rain will fall, clattering on the ice, and wash the last pieces of winter’s beauty into the storm drains.

Then, once again, we’ll begin listening for the gentle hissing in the bamboo and watching the street lights for tiny falling stars of snow.

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Posted by on December 18, 2010 in Fall, Meditations on Nature



It seemed I could not help myself. The crystal flute on the silver tray called out to me like a siren. I thanked the waiter and took the champagne. Soon I was extending my glass for more. I lost count of how many times he poured.

For alcoholics there is no cheer in holiday drinking. In an instant, one glass of champagne becomes six, then a pounding head on the pillow the next morning, a deepening sense of shame and a feeling of free falling back into the darkest place one knows.

The truth that shone brightly, burning my sore eyes on that morning after, was this: Without sobriety I am nothing, not even myself. With the first drink, my soul sails away like an errant hat in a brisk wind and I cannot grasp it. Feelings scatter. The center crumbles. I am a formless, muted human, a dull buzz moving through space or sitting and staring, just staring.

There were times not so long ago when I wanted to disappear in this fashion. I wanted to sense nothing because my feelings were too painful to bear. Now, six months after beginning this sober journey, I want to be alive to each moment. When I relapse into drinking, I feel lost and fearful. I see my strong heart walking away. I want to yell STOP PLEASE and run after it.

This particular relapse had a happy ending.

As I woke up on that grim, guilty morning, I experienced what the Twelve Step program calls a “moment of clarity.” I saw my fleeing sobriety turn around and stop.

In the vision, my sober self stood there looking back at me kindly, like a good friend, waiting for me to catch up. I was not being judged but forgiven. The hand of the Higher Power was not shaking its finger but reaching out to help.

I reached back and grasped the gift of sanity that was there for me. The moment was joyous.


Posted by on December 8, 2010 in Recovery Journal