A Loose Cloak

There is a layer of dust coating my laptop. There is also a layer of dust coating my blog. It’s high time to get out the polish…literally and figuratively speaking.

I thought long and hard about whether or not to renew my WordPress subscription. Between my day job and dreaming about a summer wedding (yes, I am engaged! Yet another miracle of sobriety…), my creative goals have taken a serious backseat. They say you have to suffer to do the things your soul calls you to do and I would tend to agree. It takes sacrifice and commitment. I am a work in progress in that department. In all departments, when one gets right down to it.

As I weighed the pros and cons of keeping “Not Otherwise Specified”, I was finally swayed by the following questions: What if someone searches for content related to alcoholism and addiction and something here is helpful? And, by deleting my blog, how am I being true to myself?

So here we are…it’s been over six months since my last entry. But I’m going to forgive myself. Hopefully you will too. Either way, I’m excited to get back to sharing some of the awesome stuff I have learned in recovery.

One thing I have found to be true over the years is that “a grateful heart will never drink”. Like most things, however, it is easier said than done to maintain a grateful heart. The biggest threat to my sense of gratitude is – SURPRISE! – other people. I will demonstrate with an example:

I was in a bookstore cafe yesterday and I couldn’t help but overhear some of the conversations around me. A teacher was sitting at a nearby table. She began by telling her friend a story about a student in her class. The teacher meanly said the student’s occupational therapist deserved to be disrespected by said child because she wasn’t attractive enough. To add insult to injury, the teacher then went on to brag about how wasted she and her fellow teachers like to get, making jokes about leaving cars in inappropriate places and starting a fire at the bar. I happened to be sitting with an impressionable youth and I was completely disgusted by the example the women were setting. Was it a private conversation? Absolutely. Should they have been aware that there were kids around them? Yup!

My faith in humanity was diminishing quite a bit at that point but the Universe decided I hadn’t had enough. A rowdy group of High School-ish aged kids arrived. They were all males. They appeared to be trying to recruit a lone female at their table to work as a prostitute. I shit you not. I almost fell out of my chair. (It’s important to remember that although the city I live in is small it is also rough).

By the time I arrived home, I was furious. What is the point, I wondered, of being a person full of love and peace, when the world around you is a pool of shit? If you can’t beat ’em, why not join ’em?

Maybe it’s easy to empathize with my reasons for feeling upset. But at the end of the day, the people out in the world are not responsible for my faltering gratitude. I am. When I don’t mind my own business, I allow other people to make me feel world weary. The other issue is that I have a gigantic ego. What gives me the right to judge other people or dictate how they live their life? I am not an all-knowing, omnipotent being. And I need to be reminded of this fact at least two times a week. I am clean and sober but my mind is still sick unless I am diligent about treating my illness. Left to my own “good thinking”, I could very well be working the streets, being a mean, stuck up bitch (oops…there’s the judging again!), or driving drunk and setting fires.

I know I have focused on the difficulty of dealing with negativity in a troubled world in at least one other post, but I think the difference this time is acknowledging the importance of being “right-sized” in terms of my ego. We’re all human. If I elevate myself to a level of holier-than-thou it only makes me miserable. It doesn’t help the situation at hand.

I recently heard someone talk about “wearing the world like a loose cloak”. The idea inspires me so much. If I wrap the world too tightly around me I will suffocate. I can be a channel of peace and love if I leave enough room for grace.