Around here in June, they say if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes. I thought about that today, not because of the outdoor weather, although it’s been reliably irregular, but because of what it’s like to be a human being.
My inner weather is whimsical, affected by the least little breeze stirred up by outside circumstances. One of the things that attracts me about Alcoholics Anonymous is its promise that I can lead a life of serenity in spite of what happens around me and to me, if I stay focused on gratitude and helping others.
Live in an attitude of gratitude, they told me as a newcomer. You don’t just have a drinking problem; you have a THINKING problem. Your head is not your friend even though it’s attached to your neck. Address the problem of the mind, and you’ll straighten out, physically and mentally.
All of that, I’ve found in my experience to be true. But it does take work. Ten minutes after an uplifting AA meeting, I can be a sad sack all over again because a foul breeze blew in from outside. Someone looks at me wrong, my shoelace breaks, I have to do something that I don’t enjoy.
This week a woman said she fell into a bad place in her head and it made her start isolating at home, where nothing got any better, surprise, surprise. A man said he got a bill that was higher than he expected, and he was bummed out about it big time.
It takes so little to make our emotional weather go south on us. I have a lot of aches and pains this week, I’m fatigued by a new medication, gosh, life is hard. Next thing I know, I’m oblivious to all the grace in my life.
I’m working with a new sponsor, who has assigned me the task of maintaining a written gratitude list that I add to daily. I’m not batting 1000 in that area. But it has made me conscious of my inner weather. Today, I’m grateful for food in my refrigerator, for the way cats’ eyes change in the light, for living in a home that has flowers blooming in the yard. A foul breeze may in the next instant blow that gratitude all to hell, but hey, I can start all over again!
Each day brings its own bucket of challenges. I’m grateful for the 12-Step program tools that keep us going when life happens. I couldn’t do life alone. Without my AA fellowship, I’d be stuck in my head like a shoe in a dryer. I haven’t had a shoe in the dryer in a long time. Thanks, God.
The photos in this post are snapshots of northern California taken on my trip to visit my niece. Thank you, God, for landscapes.
I'm a poet, gardener, and freelance writer who lives in California by the coast, in a small town surrounded by pastures, woods, and vineyards. Other things I am: recovering LA magazine editor and recovering alcoholic, wife of a tolerant man, mom to two beautiful daughters, mistress of beagles and cats, lover of mysteries and photography, a survivor of suicide, depression, addiction, and sundry minor ailments. I write for a living and write poetry for life.
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“Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” (Art Linkletter)
We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. (John W. Gardner)
Survival Tip #19
My strength lies solely in my tenacity. (Louis Pasteur)
I'm a recovering Lutheran
"This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road." (Martin Luther)
A Philosophy of Life
“It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.” Samuel Johnson
Visitors are beautiful people.
My AA Recovery Story
I got sober in 1990 after a life of drug and alcohol addiction, and I had 15 wonderful years. Then I moved and left my homegroup behind. I didn't replace my sponsor, who had died. I didn't work with newcomers, and I went to only one meeting a week. Ultimately, I didn't stay sober. I experienced that strange mental twist, and I picked up. But I jumped back into the program, and my life has continually gotten better. I'm married to a man with 23 years of sobriety, and we work our program at home. AA is the hub the wheel of my life revolves around. I've been able to explore a creative side of my personality that once lived only under the influence of drugs. I have perfect moments during each of my precious days. We are none of us invulnerable to that strange mental twist that precedes the first drink, and all that stands between us and the drink is our constant thought of others. My prayer these days is: God, do your will in and through me today. If I can be an inspiration to others, then my life is rich. God bless you all.
Rosebud on Ice
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. (Anne Bradstreet)