The Welcoming Coin

hjiWe went to a meeting –

My friend was celebrating a milestone

That I would never think of reaching.

The usual set-up,

Readings, speech, sharing,

Coffee after.

Then that guy came over to me.

I remember he was quite tall,

Yet his name escapes me,

He owed me nothing

Yet he came across the room

And he asked me things I wouldn’t

Have the care to ask others,

For I am not the one

To stick out of the crowd.

He gave me the coin which was no medallion

To celebrate my humble one year

That I’ve recently reached

And yet it was that and even more

Simply because it came out of good heart,

Unwarranted, unexpected.

That’s when I knew

That sticking with these people

Would be the best thing

I could have done

And I should keep it that way,

For it will set me free from all that binds me,

Scares and angers my mind,

Tortures me spirit,

Making me perpetually poison my body.

This welcoming gesture was not an object to keep

But a gift of an open door

I have walked through

And kept on walking.

 

Walking still.


the image is mine. looking good.

honesty w/self

IMG_6548-300x200Three months sober, I went hiking in Jasper. Well, honestly, I rented a cabin in Jasper. Hiking was an addition to that. I had a crazy summer with jobs coming and going, relationships up and down, plus there was plenty of stress of not drinking while temptations were everywhere I looked. I needed a break from that insanity before it was time to get back to school. So, I booked a cabin and in August I went for a somewhat controlled environment adventure in the mountains.

Several days in, me and the small group of guests had a hot day hike. On the way back to the cabins one of them offered me to share some beers with him and his wife. First thought that came to my mind was “Crap, I should have stayed at home in the city, in the environment I could certainly control and have a better way to handle temptations.”

The second thought was less fearful, yet much more dangerous: “Hell, no one will know I had a beer or two! Plus, it would just give me a buzz. No big deal!” I knew though that I would obviously know. And I will remember. And I will suffer, because of the guilt that I broke down so easily. Also, I would suffer due to the more than likely serious mental maelstrom that will follow after the fun of intoxication subsided. I could hide even that, from others, but not from myself. I was new in the program and I didn’t know how you come back to AA meetings after a relapse. I didn’t want to find out.

All these thoughts went through my mind with a lightning speed, like in a Stephen King book, where there is an odyssey seems to pass through in the character’s head, and yet in reality only several seconds have gone through. I was about to look up to the fellow hiker and give him my answer when I thought of something else – how will he take my answer? Will he laugh? Will he say I better have some self-control? Will he do something that will make my isolate in my cabin for the rest of the week? I didn’t want to deal with any of that. And yet the good time of sobriety that I have enjoyed so far, no matter how difficult the time was, prompted me to speak my mind. All that thinking took another couple of seconds, I guess, and I finally made up my mind not to waste more of my companion’s time.

“Um… actually… I’m in recovery. So… um…” I tried to speak like nothing in the world could bother me, although I don’t know if it was working, “I am not going to join you… but… umm… have a good time!”

His reaction was not something that I expected.

He produced the biggest smile that a person could without wrecking their face into parts. In an instant his eyes shone brighter than the sun did all day. He shook my hand, saying: “Good for you! Keep it up” or something in that vein. It was quite a while ago, I can’t remember it quite well. Yet what I do remember is that conversation gave me a tremendous boost to keep it up with sobriety.

I was even happier with not taking a beer farther on that day, because the owners served wine with supper, which is something I’ve forgotten about. Refusing a wine at the table was easy. Refusing a beer when it felt like it was begging for you to accept it after a long hike in the sun, that wasn’t as easy. And a couple of beers followed by some wine… shit, it would do me in physically after ninety days of not drinking and then mentally, with all the thoughts I’d have to deal with. So, I was near ecstatic about the fine job that I was doing, keeping it sober.

That episode keeps coming to my mind in the summer. It’s the season I’ve sobered up, it’s the hiking and camping time. It keeps reminding me of the right choices that I’ve made, and how it keeps paying up for the life of sobriety, and because of that, of freedom. Freedom from hurting myself, freedom to be comfortable in my skin, freedom to speak my mind and to ease my mind from thoughts of however others choose to live their lives.


the image was copied from http://www.ecolodge.com/where-you-play/, the website of Rocky Mountains Escape where the above mentioned adventure has taken place. I went back there many times.

Amends in Eights

handsTwelve years ago, I went to visit my family for a little reunion. I was three years sober, and right before the trip I realized that when I met them two years prior, I hadn’t even thought of making amends to them. Which may have been a good thing, because at the start of my recovery I knew very little of what making amends was.

OK, I did know a bit, and I did them to those who I thought I’ve really hurt. Yet with my family, we’ve been having a good relationship around the time I’ve quit drinking and from then on as well, so I’ve figured I didn’t need to talk to them about these things. Until someone in a meeting talked about making amends, and that was just several days before my trip, and it hit me between the eyes. I realized that whether I thought I needed to do that or not, that was irrelevant. Admitting my wrongs was part of the program I was trying to live. It was a part that if I didn’t do it then, it would come back later and serve me a mighty kick in the butt.

I’ve spent time with my family and at the end of my visit I made my amends to my Mom, Dad, and my brother. It felt good to talk about these things, but the more I was releasing the pent up confusions, fears, shame, and worry that I carried in me in my addiction, with me hiding it, I was realizing that my family members were getting upset. There was so much they haven’t known that the more that I’ve shared with them made them amazed and depressed. I was leaving them after that visit with a feeling that I’ve messed it up while I was trying to do more good than harm. As I’ve learned later, there is no right way to do amends. I’ve heard people sharing at meetings that they were not even heard and they had doors slammed in their faces. Some people on the receiving end are not ready to hear those things. I had a feeling my parents were just happy to have me back without knowing what has happened to me, just being content with me doing better. Conversations I’ve had with them through the years after confirmed that thought.

Two months ago, I went to see my parents again, although this time the reunion was not to reconnect. My mother was dying. She was diagnosed with cancer two years prior. The treatment failed to help her. My trip was to say goodbye to her. Two days after I have arrived and have spent time with her and my Dad and brother, her conditioned has worsened and she has lost consciousness which she hasn’t regained. I’ve had an opportunity to spend time with her for two days before her passing to speak the things to her that were my amends, the ones that by then I didn’t realize I needed to make.

Necessity to make amends is not one of those things that I’m fully aware. Yet, they are the things that never cease to come up. Making amends is a perpetual process that has to happen, because resentments never fail to plague me. I’ve had conversations with my Mom that didn’t go as they were planned, ending with negatives more than positives. Some of that we hadn’t talk much about afterwards. There were things happening even when I was a kid, and that we didn’t go over either. And I still remembered of those. I wasn’t sure if it even mattered to bring those to the fore. It was a long time ago, right? Yet I had a conversation with my partner who argued that I needed to say what I had to say, because that was the last chance I could do that with my mother. That’s when I’ve reminded myself that those resentments may come back and serve me a mighty kick in the butt, and I would never have an opportunity to resolve those, therefore I’d be doomed to carry the guilt forever.

Speaking to a person who is unconscious is just that – speaking. I didn’t know my mother could hear me (my partner begs to differ), and I did it anyway. I sat by her bed, held her by the hand, and I spoke of things that bothered me about our relationship with her. I spoke about how I felt I was born, raised. I said my thanks. I said my worry. I admitted my wrongs. I’ve expressed my remorse. I spoke of things I could’ve done better and what I could improve in the new phase of my life without her. I spoke of things she could do when she moved to the other side, and that is watch out for my father and brother. It happened to be a monologue of proportions I never knew I carried in me. And although she hasn’t answered to any of it, by the time I said those things, I knew I had to do say them, and that I had to do that for a while.

Interesting thing is, some of those frustrations and guilts that I’ve given a voice to those two evenings, I wouldn’t be able to speak them to my mother’s comprehending face. I wouldn’t discuss it with her. I didn’t even know how I would start that both-side conversation with her. In a sense, I’ve done those amends on my terms without her looking me in the eye and answering me. Even now that I’m thinking of it, preferring that I’d rather talk to her about it face to face, with her being very much alive and full of vigor, rather than lying on the bed, her eyes closed, life draining out of her, I know that I’m satisfied with the way it did happen… because otherwise I wouldn’t do it for a long time, out of inability to speak my mind without hurting her, even if in her eyes I wouldn’t.

It’s been sixty days since she is not in my life anymore, and it feels so strange not being able to hear her voice. Yet thinking of her, how she was alive, that is satisfying. Because that is the only way I can connect with her, the way she was – healthy, smiling, talking about things she loved. Her touch. Clothes she wore. I feel that I deserve not carrying dark clouds over my head recalling those scenes from memory. Is it because I’ve admitted myself to be imperfect in front of her and silence was the comforting answer? I choose to think so.


the image was copied from https://poesypluspolemics.com/2017/04/18/silent-hands/ and blurred and faded and twisted by me. thank you. a wonderful poem you’ve got there.

snowing light

snowFrustration at powerlessness may never go away. Desire for complete control sometimes is overwhelming, yet things are happening the way they are supposed to. I’ve witnessed that many times and yet I still battle it.

Two days of Spring at the time that Spring should have been majorly on the way, and then… the warmth and melting of snow and ice is replaced by the coldest day of the week and sharp wind, carrying more snow. The white joyously proceeded to cover everything that has melted like the warmth hasn’t been around for weeks. And I’m laughing at it, because I don’t want to growl in frustration. I’m tired of Winter, I’m tired of cold, and ice. I have to grin at the changes that I do not welcome to stay at least somewhat positive.

Yet for some reason I find it hard to apply that grinning to darker currents creeping up from the voids opening under my feet and tempting me to support my ego fire to the point that I assume I should have all things bending under my will.

Humility is easy to express unless ego prefers to listen to things that work for other people and I want to have that. I know that I should remember my limitations and be grateful for those. Snow lit by the morning sun starts falling at the time I wait for inspiration calls. Winter is not ready to retreat. Springtime will come when the nature says so. My gratitude for realizing it opens my eyes some more, and I can see that the right inspirations, not the things I want, but the ones I need, are continued to be brought to me, whether it is when I’m looking for them, or when I least expect them.


the image was copied from https://www.123rf.com/photo_48132831_winter-watercolor-abstract-background-with-falling-snow-splash-texture-christmas-new-year-light-coba.html and cut up mercilessly by me to avoid intrusions that don’t belong in the balance. thank you.

Shine Until Tomorrow

220px-LetItBe (1)Words drop on you suddenly and kick you in the teeth. Words you may have heard countless times wake you up suddenly. Words you don’t really care for anymore because the meaning is lost in the constant use. And yet they come and wake up something in your mind’s lazily burning flame.

The words now are “Shine on Until Tomorrow, Let it Be.” The Beatles are the band that I’ve been listening to since I was a kid, but their earlier records were more fun and I liked those, while the later songs were something I didn’t care to listen in albums. I guess the rock-n-roll driving force was more important to me than progressive and philosophical streams that had flown in later times of the band.

Yet at times the songs from the later 60s/early 70s creep into my life more often lately, as from the Doors that I go back to often, as the Beatles repertoire that I come upon by a chance, and those songs kick teeth. In the case of the Brits, “Let it Be” song caught me by surprise at the place I’ve heard it recently, but also by the meaning of the words. The thought of a person lost in the darkness and yet accepting to hold on until tomorrow, and so it shall be – it never struck me as a one day at a time idea, yet that’s how I heard it. There is a lot of hope in those words, just like in the Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” that I came upon recently after not caring for it for 25 years. Something hopeful that I may have heard when listening to “Let it Be” in my youth when studying English and translating classic songs word by word, be it the Beatles or Iron Maiden, yet not fully taking to heart.

The days lately are dark, whether it is because it still winter that refuses to go away, or because of the fear of lurking sickness and many shut doors. As the members of this mighty horde called humanity, people have made it through many obstacles on their paths, and this is just another serious one. We are going to make it through another day in order to make it through months. Although the days are dark, there is still light here – we’ve got food and we have people to talk to. Isolation and social distancing doesn’t mean you have to play alone and walk in solitude all the way. March on and the light will shine. Until tomorrow. What’s after – we’ll see to that later. Today is the most important time.


the image was copied from wikipedia.org and lighted out by me in reverence mixed with confusion. thank you.

runners will be shot

PO11188957-frontI seriously thought I could escape this rat race. Like Jeff Waters wrote “I just needed a break from it all.” Only a long term one. I wanted to keep on being drunk. I loved it. Bliss. Lack of care. Beautiful solitude… and then from time to time I’d meet like-minded people, only at the end I’d always end up alone, so I kept that as normality. Besides those unfortunate occurrences, all was great as long as I was not sober. I didn’t want to care about anything. I just wanted to dedicate myself to alcoholic intoxication, for its illusion was beautiful. It was love at first sight and love that promised to be endless. I was all for it.

Funny how life keeps working on a different level and by different rules than what you think you need. Life started grinding over me and forcing me to change which is what I refused to do. While I was trying to escape what I thought was a tyrannical regime, all I could feel was constantly been shot at by the guards. And it went that way until I gave up running and accepted life on its terms.

Easier said than done, of course. Much easier in my case. I felt like surrendering would be betrayal of everything I knew and stood for. I fought relentlessly. It took time to realize that what I was really betraying was giving myself an opportunity to live a happy life. Not that happy worry-free life they show in Disney movies, but a realistic happy life where I do everything I can and care for and get what I deserve, including the mental and spiritual balance.

And when I fully realized that life without booze and running could actually be a good life still, I stopped in my tracks. I then turned around and went back in the direction where I was trying to perpetually escape from. The walk towards turned out to be much shorter than the running away. I was arriving at something with every step I made.


the image was copied from https://www.customink.com/fundraising/escaperoom and butchered by me. very smart shirts, by the way. escape rooms rule!

Allow Some Time

So often

Things appear out of control,

Out of our wanted mental grasp,

Of our undying pride

That we have to have all the power.

For this is how we were raised and taught.

Don’t I know that!

Even knowing that time,

That we think is controlled by the clock,

Is an illusion,

It doesn’t help

When I sense it run through my fingers

Away

From my holding it so firmly.

That’s when I stop caring so much for it

And no matter how much depends on

Saving time

I still say,

Mostly to myself:

Allow yourself some time

Give a chance to self

Look into the blow of wind

And you may see something different

That you’d miss in a rush,

Or doing something else

That is really of no importance.

Excuse your own ignorance,

Or bad mood,

Or intolerance

And move on noticing things

You may have never seen otherwise.

 

As the world appears unique with time

Within one day,

Same places lit by the sun from different angles,

At the same time

Loads of useless information

Create a sight

Of how things are to be.

But if we take a closer look

At all these memos and agendas

They disappear as smoke gone in the wind,

Providing you with time

To do something special and lasting

For yourself

That you maybe cannot even describe with words

When It Was Proclaimed to Be Over

rune_jera_transparent_background_runes_symbols_alphabetAnticipation

Fear

Of heights and flights

Of loss

Of fear itself

Recognition

Heartbeat of the chat that happens to be the last.

Pain of knowing pain of those so close

Waves of freedom falling on the beach

Joy of meeting

Misery of the reason the meeting took place

Wanting to let go

Wanting for the others to let go and go on

Wanting for the dark within the room to retreat

Caring

Holding hands that bind

Seeing things one thinks they shouldn’t see.

End of life of the one

Who was always

Who loved constantly

Who stood strongly no matter what

Sleeping dance of spirit united with spirits of many

Who know even if others share not the glory of knowing

Then, from dark – light

Wanting to be a part of the sunshine

Sea keeps approach/retreat approval of life

Even in the event

Of the proclamation of it being over

Within our mind

For energy never ceases to amaze

In its perpetual breathing.

Peace in union of three

Desire for more wonder

Sorrow wanders in our feet

As we walk with our faces

Turned to the sunrise

Anticipation

No fear

Loss is natural

Pain is not eternal.


the image was copied from https://embroidery.design/download/rune_jera_transparent_background/ thank you

eating crow

53498212_6d5d00f6f4Heard an opinion recently that AA is a glorified Losers club.

I must agree. We are not perfect, not omnipotent how we thought we were before, perhaps, but together through connecting we stand strong with all our common and individual weaknesses and weirdness.

We ate our amount of crows and we still sometimes do, but we know it and we know why, more often than before. Humility makes us more aware of ourselves and our limitations, which is how we become to know our strengths. We come to understand our character defects and we do our best to promptly admit them and learn from the experience not to repeat our mistakes. Sometimes we fail to do so, but so do not just addicts. People in general are imperfect, so we try to stop beating ourselves up and concentrate on improving instead.

We can be wrong in our minds, but it is actions that count. We are not wrong to reflect on thoughts we have or actions we are about to take.

We are the glorified losers club after all, and the glory is true and it’s all ours!

Going back to the speaker – they said they remember being wrong many times. They still can be wrong, but they have improved – if they were wrong, they stay in denial only for two days, no longer for two weeks, and no more for two years. Talk about positive thinking!


the image was copied from https://www.flickr.com/photos/itsyourdaycakes/53498212 thanks.