Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Just for Today

 In a discussion focused on Step 3 this last week, I realized that, for me, Step3 was both an event and an ongoing process. I had an intense surrender experience in very early sobriety, and... every day I have the opportunity to get out of my own way, which is definitely of the "progress, not perfection" variety.

I told a story in the 3rd Step meeting about an experience I had in a church I attended years ago. I participated in a pre-service book study, and at one point, the decision was made that we'd each share our faith journey over the coming weeks.. There were 5 or 6 people in the group, all normies - a couple of PK's (preacher's kids), a few who spoke to being raised in the church, and me. When it was my turn, I thought, "Oh my god, what am I going to tell these people??" I gave a sanitized version of my story, culminating with hitting my knees in surrender and saying "I can't do this anymore." Afterwards, one of the fellows came up to me with tears in his eyes, saying, "You've had a direct experience of God - I'd give anything to feel what you described." I said something to the effect of "Be careful what you pray for because I had to almost die to get to the point of giving up." My point today being that the spiritual journey is different for all of us. For me, it was sudden, and also of the educational variety. What exactly is this higher power business? What indeed?

Maybe this HP business is about how we care for each other, in ways big and small. One of my retirement gigs is as a temporary/on-call elections worker, which means a flurry of activity a couple of times a year. I'm part of a team that goes to people's homes to assist them in voting, whether reading the ballot to a sight impaired person, or transporting a ballot for someone with mobility issues (we've had Vote by Mail in Oregon, successfully, for over 20 years). I so appreciate people's gratitude - they asked for help, and got it, which is not always the case in this hectic world. And it's a gift of recovery to be able to be of service in different areas, in and out of the rooms. I can beat myself up for not doing "enough" - a characteristic of my Alanon-ism - but the truth is that most days, I do (and it's more accurately, most weeks, or most months with an eye to the ever-elusive balancing act between self-care and self-sacrifice). 

As a wise friend once told me, adults gather information before making a decision. (Thanks JG) Well, my spouse and I are starting to gather information about his retirement, likely in a few years, but not too soon to start planning. Retirement is not just about money, though of course that figures in. All the checklists I saw as I prepared had to do with "How will you spend your time?" That's one more plus in the AA column, where we have community and opportunities for interaction to the level we prefer. I was wisely told not to jump right in to a new gig, volunteer or otherwise, but to give myself at least a year to settle in to operating off of a time-based agenda. Of course, the pandemic made that easier for me, but it was a challenge, having been so accustomed to the clock. Again, progress not perfection, of the one-day-at-a-time variety.

I'm, once again, leaving on a jet plane, so my next 2 week's posts will be drawing from earlier blogs as I'm not certain of wifi connections - kind of like re-runs on TV. We had a counselor in treatment, all those years ago, who'd say, "You can do anything you want to do, as long as you don't drink or use." Part of that had to do with discovering what it is I really want to do. In theory, I could've run for President or Mayor, but more along the lines of what I actually want to do is to read good books, walk in the woods, sit at the shore, share laughter with my spouse and with good friends, and travel (which nearly always includes checking out local meetings). Years ago, my good friend and I were in an English-speaking meeting in Florence, Italy. An American shared about wondering why he'd use precious vacation time to go to a meeting. My thought, then and now, was that if I wasn't sober, I wouldn't be on vacation, and I certainly never thought twice about whiling away hours in a foreign bar (or crashed out in a hotel bed with a massive hangover). 

Sitting in my backyard the other day, I overheard a fellow on a bicycle say to his pal who was apparently leading the way, "I don't even know where I am!" I'm grateful that today, I know where I am, and who I am and where I'm headed, whether near, or far from home. 

How has Step 3 shown up in your life, either as an event or an on-going process? How are you of service, in or outside the rooms? How do you walk the line between pushing yourself ever-so-slightly and knowing that who you are, and what you do, is enough? Thinking of life in general, do you know who you are and where you are headed, just for today?

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