Sometimes my motivation to stay sober comes from an unexpected collaboration of events. Events which normally would appear quite ordinary, but put together they become very powerful learning experiences.
I have spent the last week dealing with our friend’s death. I cried so much. I cried at work at my desk, and in the hallway, and in meetings. I am not sure why I have been so overcome. Maybe I haven’t truly dealt with death yet. Maybe sobriety has allowed me to feel and, oh hell, I am feeling. There were moments when I really wanted to check-out and immerse myself in something else like eating, sleeping, housework… and anger. I had a fleeting thought that a drink would be just perfect, actually I thought of it a few times. But A DRINK would not do it, it would have to be a gazillion of drinks. And then what? Well, I would still be feeling this.
Yesterday my four-year old boy asked me if we could go ice skating. My first thought was UGH. We have only gone once before, so needless to say he doesn’t know how to skate, and I really didn’t think I had the energy, or the mental strength for this; it just seemed like too much work, and way too strenuous, and it’s too wet, and too cold, and I hate sweating! But my son was quite persistent, and very cute about it, so I grabbed a few things and off we went.
Of course, being so wrapped up in my own crazy world of feelings, I have completely forgotten that ice skating was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid. So when we got to the ice rink, I was instantaneously overcome by emotions, again… and tears, again. Oh good grief!
I had to regroup quickly, I thought, so I could help my son get on the ice and attempt to skate. But to my surprise he quickly assured me that he didn’t need any help, and he could do it all by himself! He got on the ice and grabbed the rail. I watched him fall and get up and fall again. Each time shrugging it off, then trying even harder. At one point he did seem fed up, but you could see that he wasn’t ready to give up. An hour went by… and then all of a sudden he let go of the guard rail and just went for it! Wow! He looked back and gave me a big grin and, off he went again!
I was just amazed! (And again overwhelmed with feelings) There is something so inspiring about a child taking these big leaps despite their fears. Their determination is so admirable. It’s so inspiring!
Last night I was sitting and thinking about my day’s events and how inspired I felt by my little boy. So often as adults, we lose that spark, we get stuck, we can’t let go. I though, wow, I have been stuck. Then I saw this commercial, for the iPad Air, which uses this poem as the narration. This poem really touched me. The last thing that the narrator says is What will your verse be?
O Me! O Life!
by Walt Whitman
O Me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
And what does this all have to do with sobriety? Everything! Because when I was drinking life didn’t really exist; all I had was my bottles. I was fear driven and paralyzed. Today, I have a life, a life full of all ups and downs. I miss my friend dearly, nothing will bring her back, I know, but at the same time her death has made me realize that I am here and that life exists!
What will your verse be?
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