Category Archives: recovery

One Day At A Time

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I struggle with the parts of myself
that feel unacceptable—
the anger, the sadness,
the fragility, the meanness—
and I realize I just want relief,
I want to feel better.
Then I realize
it doesn’t have to be a struggle.
Could I accept all these different parts?
Could I listen to them,
respect them,
learn from them
what they’re here to teach me?
Again, I need patience.
There’s no going back to the old way,
and I cannot see
more than a few steps ahead…
can I just relax into this process
of making my way
one day at a time?

Fellowship In The Trees

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Grace brought me serenity
in the woods today.
I was surprised to come upon
some paintings on the trees
with plaques freestanding
and words
about human strength
and hope…
words about
going through the twelve steps
of recovery,
finding light in the darkness,
coming together
as a group
to provide support
to one another.
I thought of my own fellowship,
a weekly meeting
of souls who gather
to share their experiences,
to listen without comment
to the experiences of others.
We left the grove of paintings
and walked our regular circuit
in the almost freezing dusk.
Periodically I’d hug a tree,
and as I leaned against its length,
I looked up at its branches
and told it a bit of my story.
The trees listened and stood tall
and radiated their silent strength.
Back at the car, fingers numb,
children hungry and ready for supper,
I found myself looking forward
to my CoDA meeting
at the church tonight,
being with adults
who listen and hold space.
Then my son cut his finger
and had to go to urgent care;
he hopped in the car with his dad,
who was just back from work.
I stayed home with my daughter
and remembered the paintings
and the words in the woods,
grateful for the
grace
provided me earlier,
grateful for the fellowship
in the trees.

I Will Not Hide

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I will not hide.
This light shines for all to see.
I will not try to live within
the box you built for me;
it cannot contain me.
Everyday I am growing;
I am sorry you cannot keep up.
But don’t worry,
this light will still be shining
by the time
you are no longer afraid
to open your eyes
and really see.

Never Broken

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The only reason that we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with.  To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.
–Pema Chodron

Standing in the middle
of my own discomfort,
just watching and waiting
instead of lashing out,
I feel the parts of me
that I once disowned
clamoring for my attention.
What do I do?
What do I say?
Instead of taking a drink
or turning on the TV
or eating something
or shopping
or playing a game
or smoking something
or going to sleep
or running away
I just sit,
and I let myself feel this discomfort.
As I come to know
this energy of unrest
I see a small child
who doesn’t understand
why the world asks
her to be other than who she is,
smaller than who she is…
I see her sadness
and I mourn for her.
I tell her that she is okay.
She starts to believe me.

Hand in hand
we turn and face the world
together.
We aren’t waiting for the world
to make us feel complete.
We look out with the eyes
of compassion
and our vision softens our experience.
We can be in this world
with all the broken pieces
and sense the inherent wholeness,
that which can never be broken.

Yay Sobriety

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This happened.

My mother, father,
sister and her boyfriend,
my husband and children
were sitting in a nice restaurant
to celebrate my birthday.

Some of you know
I have chosen
to not imbibe the fermented fruit of the vine,
and you also must know
that this puts me in the minority
of the adult population.

So I, my daughter, and son
sipped on our water,
while the five other adults drank,
two of them to excess.

I attended to my children,
enjoyed giving them bites
of delicious food,
sharing my salad and entree with them,
engaging them in conversation.

My husband,
bless his heart,
and to his credit,
did make an effort to engage with me
between sips of beer,
and we exchanged some pleasant words
in the course of the dinner.
He only had two beers and a glass of champagne.
Surely, this is moderation, is it not?

But inside, I felt lonely.
This was supposed to be my birthday celebration,
and the adults were focusing on their booze,
becoming loud, intoxicated…

I found myself looking around
at the others in the restaurant,
wondering about their conversations,
guessing that they were surely
more interesting
than what was unfolding at my table.

My family,
with its history of alcoholism,
couldn’t help itself.
The alcoholism had to follow us into this dinner,
even though the guest of honor
doesn’t drink.

What would you do,
if you felt lonely at your birthday dinner?
Would you have put your foot down?
Would you have said something?
Would you have withdrawn?

I tried to be kind and present,
but I couldn’t help feeling wistful.

Afterwards my sister was belligerent,
verbally aggressive…
because this is what happens when she drinks too much.
She yelled, gestured,
said she didn’t need anything from anyone,
and passed out in my bathroom.
She has done this many times before.
I wish I could help her,
but I know that I can’t.
She needs to help herself first.

And now, more than ever,
I see that my sobriety,
my clarity,
my lucidity,
my health
is one of the greatest birthday gifts
I can offer to myself…
and to the world.

Yay, sobriety.

Together in Our Own Personal Haze

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It’s Christmas,
and we’re all here together again,
so…
what should we do?

I know!
Let’s pour ourselves a glass of wine,
some eggnog,
let’s drink a beer.

Put something in your hand
so that it will have something to do.
You won’t feel awkward
with something in your hand,
something to sip.

There, that’s better now,
take another sip.

Bathe your brain in some poison
So that laughter and smiles
will come more easily,
so that you will be more talkative
with those you seldom see.

It’s okay, we won’t judge,
we’re all doing it.
And heck,
the red wine provides antioxidants
which are good for heart health,
so, we should be drinking it anyway, right?

Hush up liver,
no whining!
it’s Christmas–
time to let loose,
to celebrate,
to be together
in our own personal haze.

Longing for Connection

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At the outset of this blog project nearly one year ago, I found myself wanting to explore the idea of creative recovery, how to pierce through the noise of my emotional system and delve into the creative, inspired self that can be expressed outwardly as writer, artist, crafter, teacher, mother, dancer…endless expressions of this indwelling creative spirit embodied as Lorien.

As I began to move through the Twelve Steps with the idea of my creative recovery in mind, I explored the idea of addiction and experiences surrounding this theme in my life; how I perceived my family’s relationship with alcohol, with anger, with hoarding, to name a few.  I started to see how alcohol use and abuse has been normalized within my family, and how choosing not to drink made me part of a slim minority. I am glad to have found clarity though; I didn’t need their approval or support to make this choice–it just seemed like the most loving thing I could do for my body, mind, and the people around me to choose to be substance free.

Having been completely alcohol free for almost a year and a half, I find myself even more sensitive to the use of alcohol in social settings. I don’t miss it, so I’m not worried about a relapse or anything; I never considered myself an alcoholic although I have displayed some unhealthy behaviors during my adult years.

The fact of my being completely sober threw into sharp relief the behaviors of my family members who were drinking, and I found myself wishing for authentic connection with them in the absence of alcohol use.  But how to meet them where they are?  How to be loving, regardless?

Is it unrealistic of me to hope for my family members to choose sobriety?  Is it futile? I want to know them, to be present to them, to listen, but it’s challenging when they are becoming more loud and aggressive with each sip.

Anybody out there have thoughts on being the only sober one in a group of people who are under the influence?