Wednesday, July 20, 2022


A few months ago, someone in a meeting described writing a letter to their particular fears. I did that with my mixed feelings around the upcoming reunion - not fears exactly, but memories of times gone by. I wrote to my teen self, and then imagined writing back from that 15-year-old. It was a helpful process. It isn't always my first go-to, tending to ruminate before saying to myself, "Oh - there are things I can do to get out of this loop," but I nearly always find putting pen to paper to be cathartic. So, sharing about it in meetings, writing about it (here and inventory), putting it in the "god box" - all simple, yet effective solutions that have brought me to the sometimes-elusive place of letting-go. Letting go, and looking forward to..

I've been to several high school reunions. At year 10, I was hammered, four years away from treatment and a couple of years away from the methamphetamine that brought me to my knees. I think I was at the 20th, concerned that all I'd have to say to "What have you been up to since high school?" would be, "Well, I got sober." I missed the 30th, and by the 40th, felt no shame about being in recovery or the various detours life had taken. What I know today is who I am, and what my life is, has less to do with the outer trappings than I used to think. 

I do love the recovery connection I share with several classmates, some I have on-going relationships with and some not. Whether we're in each other's lives or just see each other at these events, there is that understanding, the "you get it," that's irreplaceable - kind of like the little nod we give each other in the grocery store or out and about. I see you, and I know you see me.

And in the realm of being seen, I shared hilarity with a classmate/program pal this week as we realized we had three boyfriends in common (and I use that word loosely), back when getting drunk and making out constituted a relationship. Oh what a journey. 

One of my daily readers quoted "It is more important to want what you have than to have what you want." I appreciate the reminder that it isn't money, property or prestige that brings me peace of mind (though lacking financial stability can certainly be a deterrent). Gratitude for what I do have (a good marriage, strong friendships, health, sobriety) rather than focusing on my "wants" or "not enough's" keeps me in a place of humility. Some of my wants are valid and can lead me to action (i.e. if I want more friend-time I pick up the phone), so it can be a matter, again and again, of getting still enough to listen to my heart.

Along those lines, a speaker in a recent meeting said that he now has everything in his life that he thought he never wanted. I remember very similar thoughts after getting sober, making a coffee date, going to a sober dance or a potluck... things that felt sort of corny. What a joy to find out that what I thought would be "stupid, boring and glum" was anything but. In 1972 what I thought I wanted was marriage to my boyfriend, two kids just like my mom, and work in an office. As that marriage started to falter, I had little inklings of a desire to travel and maybe go to college someday. It wasn't until the fog of substances cleared that I allowed myself to dream, to set goals and work towards them, releasing those along the way that no longer fit.

We started planning this reunion last October, so that in itself has been a goal and a journey. When I find myself obsessing, whether it's about a race, a speaker meeting, a vacation or a party, I remind myself that these are merely a few hours out of the whole. On Monday, I'll be on to the next thing, which very well may include sitting in the backyard with an iced tea and some new memories to complement the old.

Is there at least some balance between wanting what you have and longing for what you don't have? Are there components to recovery life you initially thought were silly?  What dreams or goals are whispering to you today? If you are in the middle of a consuming project, how do you keep it in perspective?

Readers  I so appreciate the texts and email responses to these posts. Do feel free, if you wish, to add your comments to the blog page as well (or instead of). Thank you for reading.

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See the Feb 4 post for a sample of the 78-page workbook, "I've Been Sober a Long Time - Now What?" available as hard copy (mailed) or PDF (emailed - ideal for those outside the U.S.). Portland Area Intergroup also has a supply available at 825 NE 20th Ave, suite 200.  Go to the WEB VERSION of this page, if you don't see the purchase link in the upper right corner. Contact me at with any questions

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