Wednesday, March 1, 2023


 And the beat goes on...  My mind keeps returning to p. 449, for those of us raised on the Third Edition (p.417 for any of you 4th Ed. newcomers). "And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed...I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment." Supposed to be? Maybe not, but what is, is. My new to me, Stoic Daily Reader reminds me that it is senseless to argue with or rally against circumstance, as circumstance is neutral, not aimed at me. Acceptance does not indicate approval or much of anything other than acknowledgement of reality. As a friend reminds me, "If things were supposed to be any other way, they'd be different."

I also keep thinking about long term sobriety and what that entails. If the disease had its way with us, we wouldn't be here to face life on life's terms, the joys and travails of aging sober - grandkids and great grandchildren, diagnoses, retirement, loved ones dying, getting wrinkles and gray hair, forgetting where we put the keys, long term friendships - none of which would've happened if we'd died at the end of syringe or behind the wheel, gone home with the wrong stranger, choked on our own vomit or any of the myriad and painful ways we alcoholics and addicts die. So do I view troubles as an opportunity to "cheerfully...demonstrate [god's] omnipotence"? (4th ed. p. 133)  I wouldn't go that far, at least not in the initial reaction phase. But as I've settled in to what is, I know that my current situation is very much an opportunity to draw on my spiritual resources, to open my arms and heart to those who express their love, to hunker down with my program. Isn't this what we do? I can tra-la-la along the road of happy destiny with the best of them, but it's when the road gets rocky that I'm called to dig deep and trust all that brought me to this moment. 

A new friend (as of now, zoom only) sent me a Rumi poem, The Guest House, that ends with the line, "Be grateful for whatever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." Again, do I believe in the Universe pulling strings? No, and I can learn from what shows up, I can relax into the now. I do know that I've had strong urges to phone my mother this week. Someone wondered if that means her spirit is near. I have no idea, but I like the image, so will picture her comforting touch, holding my tummy when I was sick, or rubbing Vicks on my chest, like she did when I was little, allowing the grieving and longing to pass through.

In another hit of mother-energy, the daughter of my friend and mentor, who died quickly and surprisingly from cancer 5 years ago now, is in India, and placed her mother's ashes in the powerful Ganges River over the weekend. Along with my spiritual sisters, I meditated on my friend's life and transition at the time her ashes were delivered to Ganga Ma, Mother Ganges, revered as a goddess who aids the dead on their path towards heaven. I don't know much about Hinduism, but I very much appreciate the symbolism of the river as mother, moving, and flowing. It all goes back to the "god as I don't understand god," my non-understanding of spirit that shifts and changes over time. As does my relationship to the archetypal energy of "mother," which today I see as caring, comforting, and guiding. Drawing on my spiritual resources, today, means calling on the energy of those strong women who've gone on, caring, comforting, guiding.

I met with the surgeon this week - liked her a lot, heard what I hoped to hear regarding my options, and have an outpatient procedure scheduled in a couple of weeks. Again and again, this is about suiting up and showing up, staying in the moment, doing what's in front of me - waaaayyy more manageable than the big chunk I often try to bite off. Figuring it all out, or trying to see around corners, doesn't work in this situation, and probably never did, which never seems to stop me from getting ahead of myself. One day at a time, one step at a time, moving forward.

What are some of the gifts of long term recovery that you would've missed had you not found sobriety? Are you able to reframe the tough times as teachers? What "one day at a time" situation are you facing today, and how can you surrender and relax into what is?

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See the Jan 13, 2023 post for a sample of the "I've Been Sober a Long Time - Now What?" workbook with 78 pages of topics, member's views, and processing questions. Available in PDF format for those of you outside the US (or who prefer that format) or hardcopy mailed to you. Email me at with questions. Note that the workbook is also available at Portland Area Intergroup at 825 NE 20th 

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