Wednesday, January 24, 2024


 As I was waking up from a nap, maybe still dreaming, I thought, "Oh man, I haven't been over to see Mom in awhile," seconds later remembering that she's gone. The mind is interesting - I'll sometimes get the urge to phone her, an automatic response to a beautiful sunset or bad weather. Maybe it's just an old habit, though eleven years after she's passed, you'd think that would've gone away. 

But habit is funny. I recently moved where I keep the kitchen sponge and soap dispenser, and my hand automatically goes to the former spot. The same with our new faucet. For months I'd done a little shimmy of the handle to stop a slow drip. New faucet, no drip, but I continue to adjust the handle. 

Simple examples, but perhaps indicative of human nature, and why, at the beginning of sobriety, we were advised to change playgrounds and playmates. I didn't have any friends who would've pressured me, or teased me about not drinking, but there were a couple of people I needed to take a break from simply because of the mental association. Of course, the meth cook was another story - I was right to emotionally move away from him, though for the first few years, did think I could convince him that getting clean was the way to go. Attraction, not promotion? I tried a little of both, to no avail. Did he ask me to help him? He did ask me to drive him to a methadone program a few times, and could he borrow $50, but never "I want to quit. Will you please help me?"  Hard lessons when someone we love is caught in the disease. 

And back to the Mom dream - as I pulled into the parking lot for my mammogram (results: all clear), I felt a little teary, thinking that maybe Mom showed up to remind me she's with me in spirit. Speaker / member Lila R talks about her higher power being "Ghosts on Demand," comprised of those who've passed on. Maybe? And impossible to know, but I do like the idea that the people I've loved are in my heart and memory. (I've heard that most of us are forgotten by three generations, probably less if we didn't have kids, but I've also heard that no one really dies as long as there is someone who remembers them. I'll keep remembering.)

I've signed up for a five-week online writing course through our local community college. The pre-homework was to list 7 things from our past that symbolize danger, and not something obvious like a gun or a knife. I struggled a little with that one, especially because a gun, sitting on top of the toaster, was part of my hitting bottom. We're supposed to write about one of those danger signals, so it needs to be something I can attach to a story, and how much self-disclosure do I want to do on the first night of class? As a recovering person, the things that represent danger to me might be hair-raising or mean nothing to "normies," but even thinking about my list brings on morbid reflection. A highball glass, a syringe, a phone number on a matchbook cover? Where do I want to go with this non-fiction class?

I remember my first writing class at the same community college, in early1986 or 87. Several of us were in the Alcohol & Drug Counselor Training Program, so when asked to write a short essay on a life-altering experience, ours were gritty (mine was about the meth cook overdosing in my basement). With so much distance now between "what it was like" and "what it's like now," I need a bit of a push to recall that gift of desperation, that hitting bottom so hard I would've done anything for the pain to stop. That is one thing I miss about in-person AA meetings (since most of mine are online) - the random newcomer who shows up with the shakes. I do get reminded of the insanity of addiction in my in-person Alanon meeting. Oh man, the pain and suffering we inflict upon our loved ones. 

This week, our weather is mild, with plain old rain. Last week, literally frozen in, this week skipping down damp sidewalks - yet another life on life's terms reminder that I'm not in charge of anything but my attitude.

What makes up your idea of a higher power, which some call higher self, inner-knowing, spirit, or nothing at all (or all the various theist names)? What old habits linger and what have you released? Where do you stand with personal anonymity? Do people outside of 12 Step know you are in recovery?

Note that I'm still trying to figure out the new vs old email address ( or It's a process!  And fingers-crossed no interruption in sends.

No comments:

Post a Comment