Wednesday, March 20, 2024


 In a meeting last week, someone pointed out that they would never have imagined the life they have today. I was verklempt as I realized that yes, my life is wonderful, and it is the life I'd always imagined for myself - simple and solid, centered on home and relationships.

I've written about that before, how when I was married to my first husband (way too young) I'd imagine what life could be like. And then, in a long-term relationship with a man who traveled extensively for work, I longed for what I thought of as normalcy - a mate who comes home at night to a casserole in the oven, simple and solid. It took a long time, even in to sobriety, to realize that never could've happened given the circumstances.   

Part of my unconscious dilemma of being able to acknowledge what it was I wanted in life is that I didn't even know who I was. I was unsettled, but from what? Starting to drink and drug at age 13, my sense of self was defined by whoever I was with at the moment. Sure, my core personality (very shy and introverted until that 3rd drink) was there, but I would've had a hard time describing myself. Getting sober at 31gave me the opportunity to grow up, to define what it was/is that matters to me, learning to listen to the still, small voice.

Richard Rohr, in his post from March 15, says, "We do not find our center; it finds us." Ahh, that feels like a relief, an exhale. Now that I do know who I am, I don't have to search under rocks, try, try, try to "find" peace of mind. If I'm not careful, that sense of center will fly right by when I'm distracted by the issue of the day - last week it was a flat tire, this week it's preparing for the big rummage sale, next week it could be just about anything. I need to handle the affairs of the day while still leaving space for the mystery, to metaphorically or actually smell the flowers.

When my spouse came home from work after my emotional reaction to the idea of living the life I'd always wanted, I started to literally weep as I expressed my gratitude, which was also attached to the year anniversary of my surgery. I've since heard from a couple of people that those anniversaries of diagnosis or treatment continue to be a touchpoint, even years after the fact. Just one more reason I appreciate your experience, strength and hope, guiding me along places I hadn't even known I was going.

One of my daily readers says, "I can live spiritually in the simple acts of daily living."  I need that reminder as we mark the Equinox, sometimes, still, thinking that "spirit" is out there in the forest or a bed of daffodils, when, really, the spiritual life is in the flat tire or doing the dishes as well. Quiet moments in nature are wonderful, and I spend most of my days in the kitchen or in the car. How do I bring my focus back to the bigger picture? 

Back in the day, did you have a vision for how life might be in the nebulous "someday?" How does that imagining compare to how your life looks today?  How does your sense of self contrast with how you were in the world before recovery? With the earth in brief balance between light and dark, how do you re-center if you're feeling off?

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Ready for an inventory or small group discussion? Check out my workbook "I've Been Sober a Long Time - Now What?" with 78 pages of topics, member's views, and processing questions. (See the Jan 13, 2023 post for a sample.) Available in PDF format ($12.95) for those of you outside the US (or who prefer that format) or hardcopy ($19.95 mailed to you). Email me at with questions.  You can order from the WEB VERSION of this page, payment link on top right. Note that the workbook is also available at Portland Area Intergroup at 825 NE 20th