I few years ago, I was at the HOWL conference in Hood River, perusing the literature table with a friend. As I thumbed through the various daily readers and other texts, many of which I own or recognize, I said, “I’m in long term recovery – where is my literature?” We laughed, and I joked, “Maybe I should write it.” Later that evening, as my husband and I enjoyed pizza on the waterfront, it hit me: Maybe I should write it! Maybe I should write a book on long term recovery.
Out of that initial idea came this blog as I wrapped my mind around what and how I would write for those of us who've been sober a long time. I started these weekly posts on 5/14/16 and am honored to have readers locally, as well as in Madison, Seattle, and the Oregon coast, along with Dubai, Prague and Mexico. After a share on the AA Agnostica website (www.aaagnostica.org), I believe there are some Canadians out there as well. Thank you, all, for your participation in the conversation, whether that is in person, via email, or the occasional comment on the page (Please! Share your thoughts with other readers!).
In the meantime, the idea struck of a workbook with topics and processing questions, including input from others on the path. Because I am a somewhat haphazard writer, it has taken awhile to gel, but I’m very happy to announce that the workbook is at the printers and will (hopefully) be ready to market before the new year. Stay tuned.
Over the years, I’ve come to recognize that when an idea seems to come from nowhere, it is usually meant to be, especially if it feels too big for what I think I can handle. The intuitive thought doesn’t usually show up in neon lights, but the still, small voice is insistent and doesn’t brush off easily, though it can take time to realize the message. Often, those gentle nudges come to the surface when I’m journaling, or out for a quiet, early morning run. The world often feels far too noisy, which clutters my already busy brain. Intentionally seeking quiet helps me silence the internal chatter, as does remembering to take a deep breath.
And I’ve had to do a lot of breathing lately as life-on-life’s-terms has hit in anticipated and unexpected ways, most notably with health concerns for my loved ones. With some challenging medical news on Monday, I now realize that I immediately went into “fix it” mode until I sat in my Alanon circle Tuesday morning and began to cry. I was reminded, in yet another helpful after-the-meeting parking lot conversations, that it is ok to be concerned, that it is ok to feel. Exhale. While it is my default/old tape to move from information directly to action, I was reminded that acceptance and turning it over are vital if I want any peace of mind.
Later that afternoon I went to the grocery store, and ran into an old high school friend, and then a grade school pal, and a co-worker. As I walked to my car, I stepped over a syringe cap, reminding me of what life used to be like, and as I turned my face to feel the rain, I felt myself sink back into my body. Yes. All is well today. Life goes on. Groceries are bought, beds are made, cats are fed, doctors phone. I can honor and experience my emotions, and by doing so, allow them to move through. It’s only when I try to stay in super efficient-mode that my feelings come out sideways and I find myself taking my car keys into the bathroom, or missing a familiar turn because I’m so wrapped up in non-productive thought.
One day at a time, one day at a time, one day at a time. As much as it annoys me, I am SO not in charge. But, also, I am so not alone. My loved ones and I have such support and caring. When I give it even a moment's thought, I know we'll be alright, one day at a time.
What dreams are trying to get your attention? When have you listened to your heart and taken a leap of faith that was the right thing at the right time? If struggling with acceptance, what can you do today to move from your head to your heart?