2:59 pm, sky is darkening as she dresses in layers of gray,
the wind blows in short hot puffs as if mother nature is
trying to catch her breath. A bell rings, bodies moving, a shout,
a wave, footsteps running. A door slams shut, the light turns
green. 3:00 pm and the rain begins to splatter.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I noticed she was new. Sitting quietly on the end. Eyes darting back and forth, a nervous laugh, a quick smile. I extended my hand, introduced myself, she did the same and we exchanged a quick "hello". At the meeting we were all laughing, and sharing, and nodding, and shaking our heads in agreement when someone shifted in their seat and said, "You haven't spoken yet?" She looked surprised and replied, "I didn't plan on talking, I might cry, but....oh well here goes...." and out played the stories so many of us have heard, lived, and known only too well. A double addiction, crack and alcohol, single parent, jail time, removal of daughter from the home, poor choices, bad consequences, giving it up, white knuckling addiction and on and on and then she locked eyes with mine and the understanding from one parent to another poured out....I saw it in her eyes. My eyes said the very same thing a few months ago. "I've got to stop, I can't do this anymore, where do I go?,what do I do?, am I too far gone to start again"?! The desperate plea of someone who wants so badly to quit, to end the insanity, and all too often the small voice in the head that says, "forget it, it's too late now....you might as well not even start". I noticed her daughter's picture laying on the table in front of her and I picked it up. Another beautiful innocent child affected by the addictions of a parent. I knew what she was feeling, anger, guilt, worry, and self doubt. I calmly looked at her and told her something that someone first told me, "You owe it to yourself, to give yourself the best possible life that you can have, and you owe it to your daughter to be the best mom that you can, and you can have all of that if you are willing to work this program." That's when I saw it, that tiny glimmer of hope, you know when your mind thinks for a split second that anything is possible, that maybe this time....I smiled and said what so many people had said to me, "Keep coming back"....she smiled and said, "I will". I'm praying she will. You see so many people come and go, try for a while and then disappear, some make it back in, some don't. Everyone's journey is just that...their journey. I've had to to hand so many things over to my higher power. This is one of them. I can't convince her to stay, to work, I can't give her the will to make it, but I can give it over to my higher power and let him do his will....Keep coming back... I hope she does.....
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
This morning as I was locking the back door, juggling my purse, coffee thermos, and trying to dig out my sunglasses I stopped and noticed the eastern sun in my gardens. There is a coolness to the mornings, a freshness, and the birds were singing and bathing, and I wanted to be a turtle and just soak up the sun all day long. The warmth, I want to somehow get the warmth of the sun into my bones, so I can feel it's heat even on cold cloudy days. None the less my children were rushing me to the car so we wouldn't be late to school, so I gave a sigh, closed the fence gate and headed off to a world of numbers, deadlines, and rules. I still feel like being a turtle. Just to spend an entire day hanging out on a rock, soaking up the sun and thinking reflective and enlightening thoughts. For this busy working mom it "ain't gonna happen". What I am discovering about myself is happening in the evenings. When the air thaat pushes my bedroom curtains in is soft and cool, and the birds are settling in for the night. I am working through my fourth step. Last night I worked on my weaknesses and my strengths. I wrote for about an hour and then stopped to examine my work. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt when writing about my weaknesses. The fact that I can recognize these as weaknesses and not total devastating traits that need to be removed instantly or the world will know I'm not perfect...or at least a few months ago that's how I would have thought. Now I am much more capable of being objective about myself. I have some self worth and I can identify with my weaknesses and not beat myself up with them. This is huge, before I would have cringed and punished myself, or sat on the pity pot feeling sorry for myself and all these things that made me such a bad person. I don't like these weaknesses but I'm not intimidated by them anymore. I'm just looking at them, so I can recognize them when they pop up, and work on changing them. People keep warning me not to "beat myself up", but I don't feel that I am, I'm just being honest. I have also discovered some good qualities about myself, that I can use to be a better person. It's funny, when you are drinking, you are perfect. You are always right, your way is best, and you will work your butt off to convince other people of that fact. When the fog clears, and the pink cloud lifts and you stand and face the truth, that's when the real test begins. Oh it's not pretty, but it's not so terrifying either. It can be painful at times, but sorting through the "self" is essential for growth. I may always want to be a turtle soaking up the sun, because by staying in one place I will avoid pain, hurt, life, and growth. However my life is here, it's busy, it's demanding, it's surprising, it's joyful, it's at times painful but it's mine...directed by God, uniquely me.........
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Right before I left work yesterday, I received a text from my sponsor informing me that one of our fellow AA members had been found dead in his apartment. I've been getting to know this particular gentleman at our Thursday night big book meetings. I know a bit about his story. Sober five years, divorced, two adolescent children, a huge advocate for the program and huge in service work. He was a large (as in tall) man with a larger than life personality. His big book showed it's love: broken spine, highlighting, written in margins, and dog earred pages. He called his fellow AA's "brother or sister" and was enthusiastic about trying to pass the program on to other's who still suffer. I can't believe he's gone. Just like that. I left work and headed straight for the Monday 5:30 meeting. For some reason I felt I should be there. There was much talk, much remembering, and much shock. Many faces held looks of disbelief. How? Why? so young.....So the "tools" that I spoke of yesterday came in handy when trying to sort through all the circumstances that have been happening lately. Before I would have consoled myself, by numbing myself. Always easier to deal with pain when you can't feel it. But last night I consoled myself with the tasks of life. Fixing dinner, discussing the day with my children, cleaning, packing lunches, talking to my husband etc....these small rituals provided a great deal of comfort. Who knew?! It's funny but when you are drinking, life seems to be endless. I never gave much thought to dying, I mean really I had all the time in the world. Now within a matter of days two people very near my age have died. It makes me question my own mortality. I guess I was just hoping that when you sobered up it gave you or came with a guarantee of a long happy life. I tend to forget that there is no guarantee in life and it can end as fast as it gets started. Another good lesson for me, not to take things for granted. All the wonderful things of today need to be celebrated and noticed just in case tomorrow never comes. I guess that's why they teach us to stay in today, this 24 hours we are in is what we have, the past is over, and tomorrow my not materialize.....sigh......
Monday, April 26, 2010
I always envision spring as a time of renewal. New beginnings, fresh starts, the promise of good things to come. Yet the past week has been a mix of good and bad. Friends are struggling with issues, I've heard many people around the tables say "they are in a dark spot right now", and just this morning I learned of a local man (age 43) who killed himself Friday. Rumours are circulating but it includes a divorce, children, money, custody etc....and I am suddenly reminded that no matter how bright the sun is shining on any given day bad things still happen. I always feel such profound sadness when someone feels that there is no way out accept to end their own lives. That even the promise of tomorrow, which might bring the tiniest bit of hope, isn't worth living for. I have seen the devestation of suicide up close and personal. It touches all who are left living. And yet this is life. Not to be cold or cruel but life is cold and cruel at times. It doesn't matter if the air is warm the sun is bright, to someone who has reached this point, the sun stopped shining a while ago, and there is no warmth. I listened a while back at a Sunday morning meeting when an "old timer" told about his nephew who was an alcoholic, who just couldn't go on, couldn't surrender and took his very young life. This person said it was a perfect time to go out and drink, but he didn't ,he consoled his brother and his family because AA had given him tools for living. Tools for living. I never thought I needed tools for living until I entered AA and realized that at 41 I had zero skills for coping with much of anything. And it's funny with alcoholics, it's not the big events that set you off, it's the small things that cause the straw to break the camels back. All those little things build, and build, and then in an instant they overwhelm you and you loose it. You hide your fears, worries, and coping skills in the bottom of a bottle. I am so thankful that this program has given me choices. The choice to look at a situation and not instantly react, but to give it some thought, weigh the options, and try to do the best that I can with it. Not that I still don't make some dumb decisions. But I no longer punish myself for decisions that aren't the best. I let it go, and try something different. Tools for living. Tools for coping. What an awesome and valuable gift we get. When I was a small child I remember my mother telling me to "be careful when playing around the bleeding heart plant." I always felt this was a funny name for a plant, and there was something mysterious about the fact that it had this strange name, and the flowers seemed so delicate. I now have a bleeding heart planted in one of my gardens, a gift from my father. The plant no longer holds a mystery to me. It resembles life. In many ways we are all like small bleeding hearts, just hanging on the plant of life, fragile and just trying to figure out how we can survive the next blow that life sends out way..... tools for living......tools for life.....tools for survival...