Monday, June 01, 2009

Everything Has A Song: Staying Present and Sober

Major Strasser: What is your nationality?
Rick: I'm a drunkard.
Captain Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world.
- Casablanca
When I read other blogs, I look for those small moments when the writer tells me what living their life is really like. Sometimes their posts illuminate spirit, sometimes mind and body. My favorite writers take note of the bond between all these. I found one such writing gem today at Meadowsweet & Myrrh:

Being a Druid is like searching for the presence not just of one God, but of all things--everything has Spirit, everything has a song. When I pray or meditate, I'm not just listening for that one Someone, I'm listening for the Song of the Whole World, and how we all fit into it. I quiet myself down and connect, and then I reach out to sing my own soul's song, the best way I know how. In Druidry, we can feel the whole world living and breathing around us, pulsing with sacredness and inspiration. We sing, we tell stories, we study old myths and new myths, we decorate our homes with pieces of art and expressions of nature--but mostly, we spend a lot of time trying to learn how to be fully present to the world.

Thank you, Ali, that's a lovely picture you've given me, one that mirrors my own experience. Funny enough, I find it to be a very good definition of recovery, as well.

I sit here today, a 50+ recovering addict and alcoholic and a child of same, feeling happy, grateful and peaceful. Ali's essay reminds me how lucky I am to get the chance to sing my own song.

Every very day, in meetings, in circles, from friends and strangers I hear the brave, conflicted, elegiac songs of others who are on their path. Listening well and being listened to with an open heart were not modeled in my family, these were things I had to learn. I'm still learning.

The song I tried to sing before was powerful but warped; so much so it almost killed me and I find nothing romantic now about writers or artists who drink too much; I've see too many who drank their talent away. Today my song is different. Today I will not wallow in regrets and I no longer love or write or live in pain. That's worth a song all on it's own.

Today I will take a hike, see friends, share a joke with my partner and plan (I love this) actually plan my day. I will not be desperate flotsam on the brutal tide. I will make my sunny plans, and head for the beach, and then I will laugh to see the ways in which my good plans are changed by wind and water. Even so, I will grab my board and ride the waves that are sent to me. Those waves were always there before, but now I can ride them with all my skills and talents in play. They'll help me stay balanced...more or less, depending on the day.

"In play" is such a lovely phrase. So much of my day is done "in play" even when it bears the title "work". However my life plays out, it is nothing like before. Again, I am grateful.

In the old days, riding those waves was, as a former teacher liked to say, like trying to surf with a bowling bowl tied to one ankle. Whenever I was drowning and someone sane would come by and point out that this emotional weight just might have something to do with it, I would reject their help. As the teacher said, we reply this way: "I can't loose this! This is my bowling bowl. This was my mother's bowling bowl. This is the only bowling bowl I've ever had!" What can I say? It seemed sane at the time.

I struggled for years to keep afloat carrying all that weight because I thought I couldn't live without it. Now, I can't understand how I managed to survive with it dragging me down. Today, even if I get knocked over by a wave, I can swim back to shore. The trick I find in recovery is being willing to brave the waves every day.

If you are on a path of healing, I offer you the hope that the pain you are feeling now will lead to a freedom and joy you've never known before. It gets worse before it gets better, but it does get better, I promise. Hang in there. My choices are my own now. That are not my mother's choices, they are not my fathers choices and they are not the choices of history. My choices (be they wise or no) are not filtered through any substance and I do not make them to sustain the false glamour of a sick relationship. As I write this I am 25 years clean and sober and happier then I've ever been before. I still make mistakes but any mistakes I make today are mine and mine alone and the choices I make are ones I am happy to own. They test me to the limit, these choices, but they do not break me down. Best of all, I find that I have triumphs and small, daily joys and these, too, I get to share. I can't tell you what that means to me, not entirely, but I can tell you that I rejoice in this the way a prisoner stuck in a dark cell for years rejoices every day that they live again in the light. Today, I am simply my Self, trying on a daily basis to sing that song. Whether I screech like a Banshee, croak like a tree frog or warble like a nightingale, it's my song, finally and eternally mine to sing whenever I want.

Go well, stay well,



Spiral Steps Support Groups
This is an on-line, anonymous meeting and all are welcome.

Posted in honor of Pagan values month

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blessed be!