I’ve been feeling particularly blessed this week.
Not for any real reason, but I seem to have come to a point, a juncture, where most things are fine. And for me that is fine.
But it’s hard to shake the habits of a life time, so I’ve been giving this feeling a little bit of thought, which has led me to look back on my life to try and discover what is different.
The first thing that I noticed was, that although there is a lot of drama going on around me, I don’t have the urge to participate in it. Sure, I’m giving the hugs and the kind words, and on occasion acting to move things in a different direction, but I’m not carrying it round with me by not getting drawn in.
Then I revisited that old story, the hole in the sidewalk , and realised that I am learning how to avoid falling into the craters on my path.
I am one of this world’s fixers. Bring me a problem, and I will do my best to put it right. I am tenacious, so will not put it down until I’ve mended it. But, there are some things, and some people that you cannot fix, and I have learnt in that case you just have to put the broken thing/person down, or they will just draw you in until you are as broken as them.
The focus of my morning meditations has been ‘relationships’. And what I am learning from that, is that if you are sad and grumpy….that is what you give out, and this effects the people that you are surrounded by. It perpetuates and becomes a feedfest…..obvious I know, but how many of us really think about this until we are no longer sad and grumpy?
I am a naturally happy, bouncy person. At Uni, I was nick named Tigger. Some people could not tolerate being around me because of the sparky energy I gave off. Sadly I was attracted to ‘interesting’ ‘troubled’ types. I wanted to make them happy…
Now let me think about why this didn’t work, and why I spent the next 20 + years anxious, depressed and drunk…yep, that’s a big duh from me.
I’m not blaming any of these people for my state of mind, or implying that they made me drink: I picked up the bottle and lifted it to my lips. What I am saying is simply this:
When you stop drinking, you start on a voyage of self discovery. After the initial euphoria, comes the wtf? Which usually has a bit to do with, wtf have I done with my life. Odious comparisons, feelings of failure and loss, grief so deep that it can physically hurt. Many try to fix this with changing their lives externally…new job, new city, new relationship. But as the time in sobriety lengthens, it becomes apparent that these external fixes are mere sticking plaster, and there is a bigger job to be done…fixing your internal world…getting yourself back into sync with you.
This is when you have to take yourself on your own internal walkabout, and sit with you in your own personal desert.
It’s hard, you have to learn how to find water and food and shelter, protect yourself from wild animals and other preditors, make sure that you are not burnt to a crisp by the sun, and avoid the crazies who haven’t learnt these lesson, cos if you stop to help them, they will drag you down. Having done all that you then have to face maybe the hardest lesson of all, be happy in yourself and the space that you have created. Appreciate yourself for who you are. Celebrate the gifts you have, and learn the skills that you crave for. If you can’t draw and have always wanted to, take lessons. Learn. You may not be the next DaVinci, but you may give yourself another route to peace and contentment.
You may then feel that you want to move back to the city, or you may choose to stay in the place where you have learnt how to be happy.
Either way, the thing to bear in mind is that the journey is not over. It will continue until they lay you to rest.
I have come to think that not drinking is maybe ( and I’m sorry if I cause offense by saying this) the easiest part of the journey. I know that the cravings, the wanting to be normal and the changes that your abstention causes in others, may not be easy to handle, but you do eventually come to a place of acceptance, where not drinking is not just OK,
it is OK+
I can only talk for myself: learning who I really am and what I am about is really tough. Exploring my internal world has been challenging. I am grateful that I have arrived at a place where I am looking forward with delight and anticipation to continuing my travels, and what they may bring in the future.
So, have a good week dear friends
With hugs and blessings
There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk : The Romance of Self Discovery
by Portia Nelson
“Chapter One of My Life.
I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in.
I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It still takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place! But it isn’t my fault. And it still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It’s a habit! My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down a different street.”
― Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery
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