Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Home Sweet Home

 Ah, it's good to be home after two weeks in Ireland, both North and the Republic of. What beautiful countries. In addition to visiting with friends, and the usual tourist stuff, we hit some great meetings (several AA and one Alanon for me). I always appreciate the cross-pollination of attending meetings in different cities and towns. What I will say about Ireland, specifically, is that they say the Serenity Prayer really fast! I was still on the "God, grant me" and they were already halfway through!

At a speaker meeting, the leader shared that his first sponsor, in those often-hectic early days of sobriety, told him that he suffered from "painfully acute self-awareness." Oh my, yes. Relieve me of the bondage of self, oh please. Intense self-awareness plus a good dose of self-doubt made it pretty darned uncomfortable in this brain of mine. How enlightening it was (and is) to hear others talk about the same feelings that rattled around in my head. Maybe I'm not such a freak after all! I'm so grateful that the edges have softened over time. 

I had a wonderful reunion in Dublin with a woman I last saw when she was a teenager, in Miami, in 1988 and I was a couple of years sober. Her parents, and my ex and I, were good friends, which meant we spent a lot of time with her and her three siblings during my drinking years. She married an Irishman, moved over, and stayed. It was fun and heartwarming to share memories and get up to date, and to learn that her father was sober for 20 years before he died, and one of her brothers has been clean now for 15 years. Healing happens in many forms, and for me, healing often comes via revisiting important relationships and connections.

I had a cosmic moment in a small village on the coast of Northern Ireland, where we spent a few days on our own (with hubs driving on the opposite side of the road!). At one of the tourist sites, I realized I'd misplaced my wallet, and upon returning to our lodging, realized it wasn't where I'd thought it might be. Retracing my steps, no one had seen it, but everyone recommended that I cancel my credit cards. I didn't, with the gut feeling that it would turn up, and when I went to bed that night, envisioned going to the bakery first thing in the morning, knowing, believing that they had it, and would've held on to in since I told them, "We'll be back tomorrow." Well, that's exactly what happened. The staff people said they realized who the wallet belonged to, but didn't know where I was staying, so held on to it, since I'd said, "See you tomorrow." Trust - in the good people of Cushendall, and in my gut. 

While there, I had a drinking dream - the first in a very, very long time. In the dream, someone handed me a tall glass, filled to the brim with some sort of layered drink. I brought it to my lips, but then put it down, saying, "I'm not willing to throw away 38 years of recovery for a sip of this." It is always a good reminder that the disease is alive and well in some part of my psyche, and that recovery has the upper hand, at least for today. 

And so, the beat goes on, reacclimating to the day-to-day of life at home, reconnecting with my regular groups, walking in our neighborhood, planting the garden I'd delayed while away. Vacations can be weird - while gone, it felt a lot longer than two weeks, and now that I've readjusted to our time zone, it feels like I never left (except for the few Euros on my desk, and the new box of teabags in the cupboard). I am grateful for the resources, good health, and energy to follow my heart; good friends across the sea, and my adventurous spouse. I sometimes think that my story could've gone either way, when the disease still whispered its siren song, but here I am, here we are, all these years later, living life on life's terms, which is sometimes rocky and sometimes grand.

When is the last time you had a drinking or using dream? Does your recovery-self come in to play while sleeping? How has the painfully acute self-awareness of the drinking days and early recovery mellowed out over time? What does "relieve me of the bondage of self" mean to you today?

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I've had some questions about how to purchase the NOW WHAT workbook. You need to go to the WEB VERSION of this blog page for the link on ordering. Please contact me at  or with questions. And a reminder that the workbook, 78 pages of discussion and processing questions, is available at the Portland Area Intergroup at 825 NE 20th. for you local folks.

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