Finding Now’s in a Garden of Then
I haven’t felt much like writing much lately. Either in a funk or a change that I am still sitting on, waiting until the next indicated thing arrives. The aspects of life that I once felt connected to so much thinned to the point of re-evaluation. There is one aspect of all of this experience though that has arisen as a point of note, about sobriety and well, life in general.
In the Big Book there is a whole chapter to the family about how to deal with the recovered alcoholic. There are simple tools that could be used to help the process along, a viewpoint that they may not envision and as well suggestions for the alcoholic in this phase of their lives. Myself, I have been having a flurry of memory recalls of the oddest and old variety, things I thought I had well forgotten. Not all of them bad or good, just there and to a certain extent troubling me, my expectations of the world, that like many things has changed its mask much in the recent months. I am finding that belief systems are great until they don’t work anymore, that doesn’t necessarily change my mind. Yet, it allows for my mind not to think about those things and let something else or nothing at all take its place for a bit, or even a long while. In others I sometimes see to much of people thinking themselves into a belief system instead of feeling their way or living their way into one, it can help, but honestly isn’t that really backwards?
In my biological family I have my share of alcoholic or addicted syndrome siblings and relatives. The one thing that has struck me lately is that I miss my sister, Cindy, she passed in ’08 after 15 treatment centers, never able to quite get this sobriety thing. She had twin girls and a son, after some time I figured I would connect somehow with any of them, but alas, they are their fathers kids more than their mothers. Their actions that of people that I will never really ever know, there are quite a few. Just like the program it seems a little time away will reveal many truths untold but common knowledge. Being a better person doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to shut up and like it, sometimes you have to say something, do… something. I once messaged a niece that I hadn’t seen for years and asked her if she was going to be just like her mother. Very estranged from the family for reasons they will either not admit to, or are just figments of their overactive imaginations, that runs in the family too. Toss in any element of addiction and wowza, who the fuck is that? I am still waiting for a ginger headed Marine to show up at my door and punch me for talking to his wife like that.
At the same time of this grand change and awakening, as the aspects of your life gets better, maybe not on someone else’s ladder, but your own. There is this re-awakening of a troubling aspect of it all. Some are better at really letting it go and some don’t even try and then there are those that just found new ways to bury it deeper. Little nooks and crannies in belief systems that allow the crap to live in altered but seldom unseen renditions of the same tunes. Religion and spiritualism are easy, it’s the people who are all messed up.
I have found that in my family in sobriety as well, those who I got sober with and around. Time will tell of many things and in this case it sure has opened my eyes a bit. The sincere sounding hardly at all and the craziest bastards the ones closer to the truth. I have stated that with any belief in something there comes a good disbelief in other things. Since it is all subjective, I am just going to say that I am writing this in Hungarian, and that the moon is hollow and filled with candy. In my group those things would be ridiculed and snickered at, but the person themselves would never know that in our consciousness of “acceptance.” They will tell the truth about you, but not to you. The ranks of real people I have found in the fellowships has thinned and you could say that I am coasting on the happy road of destiny. At this point there is no need to engage the gears, when change itself can propel me and that is what I have been doing. Like family and the fellowship and probably in most groups of people, keep close to be coddled and your distance to be condemned. I am a loner, I am an introvert and I am a human being first, I will take condemnation from others for being myself. I just won’t take it from myself any longer.
The forgiveness and simplicity in keeping my life meek, small, simple, simple of actions and simple of work. Mindful and habitual is working for me, I simply do the next indicated thing. I don’t make it about anything but doing the next estimable action, or simply the most mundane. I almost understand the old idiom of ignorance is bliss, not as an apathetic route, but as keeping what is important in the forefront. Placing those things that drive luxurious emotions and thoughts in their proper order. In the Jaycees we used to have a saying that went God, Family, Job, Jaycees. That placed the importance of what worked in our lives and their order. In recovery though, much of that list of importance is subjective to the moments as you go along. For some it is important to them to be involved and close to those Godly folks, rarely respecting any other beliefs or journeys. People make the fellowship their family and then go on to project all the family problems they relate or related to appear magically in others through projections. Some do the same thing with their newly found “friends” as well, placing masks from some remnant of life onto them, making them something other than the truth.
This has proven fine and a workable plan for my life, at least for now. Things never do stay the same and I have found the most unmanageable lives are the ones that hold onto the damned stupidest things. I want to ask the question of how, in a life full of growth and change all around, some try their best to hold onto something that is made for them not to, the past. Although I really can’t because I have been there myself before and still at times and it is the human condition as much as it is addictive and a dysfunctional society. When it was suggested that I change everything, and it is to all, I really didn’t understand how deep that onion would have to be peeled. I feel grateful that life has gently blessed me, through a myriad of health and wellness issues as well as financial to peel that onion almost to the stem. It hurt like hell and still does if I live in the past… I don’t though and the only things I am keeping up close and present from the past are the lessons and the beauty, I get enough ugly thrown at me anyways.
So finding a balance and finding my now’s in a garden of then’s is especially difficult at times in recovery. I didn’t mesh up before because I was too unmanageable, now I don’t mesh up because others are seemingly too unmanageable, the laughter. So as not to be a martyr to my own recovery, I am keeping it simple still. Those folks are either there or they are not, either blood family or extended, I am moving forward in my life. There is no need for forgiveness or indignation because I have no expectations of them, simply myself. By keeping it small like this I am able to see when it is me going off the rails with my thinking and egotistic thoughts, and it is easier to see it in others and find either curiosity, education, or entertainment in the “gifts” they are offering me. Again, not very many things are going to have a direct impact in my life other than the things I work for. The things others do, they do, and if I am worried about that in any way then I am trying to manipulate something which is fighting, and I stopped fighting a long time ago.
I miss my Sister, and my other siblings that are still alive. I wish I had a better connection to my nieces and nephews and to my extended family(s). I do not, and that is the way it is, at least for now. Not all my moments are joyous and free, but a good portion of them are, with just a decision to watch my step and pick my now’s from the garden of the present.
After all of these years, and an open policy with my feelings and emotions; I have to decide which shops to close up.
It is hard being honest and open with people who cannot be open and honest in return. I don’t fit in, anywhere and apparently I am not worth fixing.
The Honesty of Gratitude
Each morning, shortly after I wake, I look up and say Thank You and that I am grateful.
It may not seem like much of a morning prayer and it isn’t meant to be. It is simply a recognition of the day and the centering of a part of me. I wonder on some days though how honest is my micro tithing to my higher power is?
(Now this is hard to follow, and is just something I consider)
In my mind it helps to place myself in a place of accepting the gift of all the blessings I have received. It helps me also remember what is important to me and my true nature. I do it first thing in the morning because that is when I am least likely to be affected by my own over thinking. I am becoming all too aware of my natures and knowing that admit I need a little help in all of this.
The thing that hit me though is that Gratitude is Honesty. It is hard to convince yourself that you are grateful for something that you are not. It opens up the honesty channel pretty quickly and to get to the gratitude area one has to think and use their heart at the same time. Balanced between the two though, the truth comes out and gratitude for even those things you cannot fathom you would be grateful for can come out. That is the learning, and that is when the gifts of all of this comes in as well.
Looking in the mirror of ones character is not a pleasant task at times. People just don’t want to do it, it is messy and ugly and you face things you thought were long removed from yourself. It is the peeling of layers and finding that what was indeed thought of as gone is merely disguised. Through being grateful though, the mirror reveals itself from within looking out. It is a mirror that shows the true self and reveals your layers in a different manner. The ugliness not so large, the solutions not so overwhelming. So instead of looking for my bad parts I am looking to what good parts it is that I am missing. (wow, I needed to edit this)
I can say this now after a few years of work that it is true in my case. The gratitude changing the way my layers are organized, change and solutions taking the place of depression and blame.
Yesterdays returned to their rightful place, and so did the troubles – that I can do nothing about – go with them.
Tomorrows became a wonder again and a childlike magic has truly returned to my life. Someone told me long ago to never let the magic die, I understand that now more than ever, I am grateful for that.
Call it faith or magic, trust or enchantment, my gratitude is honesty in it’s truest form, it is what it is and I am grateful, oh so grateful, to those who shared themselves to show me mine.