Measuring Cups on the Tree?

In early December 1998 I set up to build my annual Christmas cookies.  Lebkuchen cookies.  My grandmother made them for years, then the task fell to Mom.  They are really labor-intensive to make, taking all day.  But well worth it, for sure.

So, as I began to gather everything I would need, I discovered I had no measuring cups!  My divorce was final in February 1998, and I was still discovering what I needed to replace.  Well, damn it!

I have not had a problem with “physical” relapse with respect to my alcoholism, but I have struggled with “emotional” relapse.  With the Christmas season approaching, this small incident just seemed to push me over the edge that year!  Not knowing where else to go, I went to a meeting – ‘New Noon South.’

After 4 years in recovery I knew it was best for me “to share.”   So, I began by sharing that day.  I told the group about wanting “to build” Christmas cookies, and discovering that the measuring cups were gone.  The group began laughing at me.  Then as I spoke, it occurred to me that I also didn’t have a “Home Group” in AA – that I had lost that too, to my former wife!

(In early recovery, Sue would accompany me to an Open Meeting in Bowling Green.  That meeting became my “Home Group,” until our divorce.  I felt – and these were totally my “feelings” – that the group had rallied around “poor Sue,” and tossed me to the curb during the separation/divorce.)

And of course, when I mentioned losing my Home Group, they laughed even harder… And, I have to admit, as they laughed, I began to hear the absurdity of it all!  I left that meeting that day, feeling a great deal better than when I went in…

About a half-hour after returning home I received a call from Betty R.  I knew her from that meeting, but not well at all.   We talked a bit, then she invited me to join their group.  How could I refuse?  Then she invited me to a Christmas party she and her husband hosted every year – at a very prominent country club here in Toledo.

It was a great party and toward the end Betty had some small gifts for people.  For me, a set of plastic measuring cups!  I didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry…

When I got home, I took those measuring cups and hung them on my tree.  I didn’t have much else on that tree that year, so what the hell…

Since then, I hang one or two of them on my tree every year.  Kinda symbolic.  Betty is no longer with us, she died a few years later.  But seeing those cups every year keeps her with me.  And I am so grateful – for she loved me when I couldn’t love myself… If she hadn’t reached out to me, if she hadn’t given those silly measuring cups to me – well, who knows?  Merry Christmas Betty!

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