Actually, I’m back in Southie, so (insert silent chin nod). Before I entrance you with my thoughts on my current relationship with my Higher Power, here are a few words about where I’ve been
I’ve been away for the past few weeks on vacation – a few days in Portland, OR to see my friend “Messy” (ha! Just kidding, “Jesssie”!), a week in Waikiki to see my SF bestie “Fifi” and her hubby “Titi”, and a week in the grips of a nasty cold / cold medicine stupor. I’ve been to only a handful of meetings in the past three weeks (one was at a bonfire on a beach in Hawaii! Unfortunately, I left that meeting and then went and smoked a bowl) when normally I go to a meeting every day, so on top of feeling disconnected from my body and my routine, I am also feeling disconnected from my loving fellowship. I have however been feeling a deep connection to my couch, my cats, Dayquil/Nyquil (Dayquil “non-drowsy” my ass!), and MSNBC. I have so many fun things to write about, and I shall get to them soon, but here are some of my excuses for being unable to do so since I got back:
• I am trying to catch up with work (SUCH bullshit – can you believe that? earning a paycheck?),
• I am seriously stupid on cold medicine (rest assured that I am getting no buzz from “the quils” – I’m just trying to breathe, see, and prevent my poor little face from otherwise exploding),
• It seems cold and insensitive to write about my much-deserved vacation visiting my understanding and lovely friend on a tropical island, having a religious experience in the pristine Pacific, not to mention having a religious experience in the form of a 9-day shopping spree, when there’s an alarming and potentially devastating situation too close to me that I don’t really know how to stomach or handle or help or even face.
But this blog is about recovery after all, and isn’t recovery about experiencing the beauty and loveliness in life, tapping into this experience that was inaccessible because it was being choked unconscious for so many years by drugs and alcohol? Isn’t it about truly truly truly believing I deserve friends and happiness, even despite the anger and despair around me? Isn’t it about not feeling guilty about having this new warm life while others around me seethe with resentment and frustration? Isn’t it about learning to accept my powerlessness over others’ actions and decisions, and learning to be OK with and not helpless over them? The answer to all these questions is YES. Why, yes, Slushkitty! Go on with yo’ bad self in yo’ good life! …Now on to God!
Slushkitty and Higher Power.. First Comes Love (Middle Comes Love, Infinity Is Love)
A couple of months ago at a meeting, the speaker was talking about his Higher Power, and said, ever so serenely, that he chooses to refer to his Higher Power as “Love” and, just like that, every single thing in my life partnered and got married. With that one word, I felt purpose. I understood the dull ache of emptiness that saddened me for so many years. I felt cradled and safe in the warmth of life. I knew that my role in this loving world was huge and had meaning for so many, beyond me, my family, my cats, and some friends. (I’d like you to go back and read this paragraph aloud and imagine Enya playing in the background). I kid. But really, it was one of those overwhelming moments in my sobriety that shifted my perspective and freed me to move still closer to Hope, closer to Love, closer to the assurance of endless Love.
As a child, God was all about location location location. God saw everything and always knew what I was up to, like some pious, omnipresent, supreme Peeping Tom. It did wonders for my kiddie paranoia. The horror to remember that God was watching when I kissed my pillow! God was always up in the clouds, looking down. My Grampy was also up in the clouds in Heaven looking down watching over me, seeing everything I was up to. Seriously, dudes, love you both, but the thought of being eyeballed around the clock really gave me a gnarly case of the heebee-jeebees. Anyway, when our friendly speaker referred to his Higher Power as “Love”, when my world started making sense, God was suddenly present everywhere and in everything. God wasn’t judging me for kissing my pillow – God WAS my pillow! Love is so much bigger than I am, and isn’t this Higher Power of which they speak a power greater than myself, so isn’t it perfect that God is Love! Love has driven everything I’ve ever done and felt, even the horrible stuff. For example, when I am jealous, it’s because someone has something I want – like a rewarding job, a clean house, an ass, $5, etc…. It’s a horrible feeling. But however misguided, isn’t jealousy a lesson in Love, learning that stuff-and-things will not bring me any Love and happiness? I was, after all, seeking stuff-and-things hoping to find comfort and Love, so my jealousy wasn’t so ugly really. I can try (sucessfully or not) seeing them as goals and not shortcomings. I don’t need stuff-and-things when I have the relationships I have in AA. And haven’t I earned these relationships of unconditional Love through the misery I have endured and gracelessly customized in this disease of alcoholism we share? I am a part of something so much more gorgeous than I am (don’t hate me because I am gorgeous) – love love love the Love we share in AA. I was in Hawaii last week (you know, same ol’, same ol’) and swimming with my sweet Fifi in the ocean, and had a swell of emotion realizing how small I was and how nothing seemed important except being in that moment with my friend. I was a teeny speck in the ocean, and I was part of something so much more glittery and breath-taking than I am (don’t hate me because I am glittery and breath-taking). I was literally swimming in hot salty Love – heh. (Note: As mentioned before, I heard that experiencing more than one emotion at a time is a milestone in recovery, and I was having myself some mighty milestones in the Pacific that day. I was getting misty while experiencing a tremendous Love at the same time that I was repeatedly asking Fifi when the last shark attack in Oahu was and if I keep asking then it won’t happen.. right? She assured me that I’d only get chewed and spit out, not eaten, because I’m not as chubby and delicious as a seal, but I didn’t find this very reassuring. And don’t hate me because I am chubby and delicious).
When I was little, my mom said to me and my sister, “Do yourselves a favor and do not get married until you are at least 25” – she was probably pissed at Dad or something. We were not raised to be the kind of girl who picked out her China patterns in kindergarten, but I always assumed I’d get married and have kids. So now that it wasn’t recommended that I get married until I was well into the twilight of my life (25), it gave me license to be the girlfriend of every unsavory shithead from sea to shining sea. Marriage and kids were never pressing desires but, as I would learn in a crushing way at age 39 with one ovary and with a very grave substance abuse problem, those ships may have sailed. I ruined absolutely everything. A life alone was my penance for years of hurting people, including myself. But for as little attention as I paid back then to achieving the marriage-and-kids thing, it without question was my definition of success. Without them, what am I? A huge useless and shameful disappointment. Then something much more compassionate and greater than I am dragged this bloody pulp to an AA meeting after all other options had been exhausted (geographical cures, meds, therapy, hospitalizations, weed, killing myself, online dating). Something much more hopeful than I am threw me a bone. I had no hope! But there I was, physically sober, sitting with a bunch of happy-go-lucky dumbasses, crying and whimpering and being very angry telling everyone how much I hated myself. I stopped drinking, yes, but something much much more loving than I am took control and swung a screeching u-turn for me on my Heartbreak Highway. I know that I had nothing to do with that life-saving change of direction. That was Love… Love Love Love giving me Hope… Hope Hope Hope. I know 100% and without hesitating that the Love of my Life and I will find/see each-other, and it’ll happen when we’re ready, and isn’t that a heart-exploding and encouraging thing to look forward to? Yaaaaaaay! If Ship Kid sailed, so be it. The obsession to have kids was lifted along with my obsession to drink. Who ever EVER would have believed this possible? Seriously!!! This change was not made deliberately and out of blind faith, but very gently through a Love of me that’s waaaay bigger than I.
Someone in AA once said (I actually heard it before I was in AA and I rolled my eyes and muttered “drama queen” under my breath), that her Higher Power loves her more than anything she could imagine. Drama queen or not, her words made an impact. My thoughts went to my cats (because I am 40, single, and live alone with my 3 cats – got a problem with that? Then bite me or marry me). I thought of my cats because I love them soooooo much and they don’t give me any lip. They’re furballs of affectionate, not of the bitchy, aloof variety of cat. They just want to be fed and touched, and to play and lounge in the sun – who wouldn’t want that life?? If you rub them the wrong way, they’ll scratch your face off. They have basic needs and are so innocent and mushy – I honestly don’t understand how some people don’t like cats. Anyway, I imagine how much I love my cats and then try to imagine that my Higher Power has always and will always love me a MILLION times more than that. I realize that despite all my embarrassing and gross shenanigans over the years, I have always only, like my cats, had basic needs and have always been innocent and mushy, and have always just done my best wrestling this disease, this disease that tells me I don’t have one.
I fall in love every time I turn the corner, but Love, with a capital “L”, has a new meaning to me. It’s light and sunny, and certainly not a miserable institution (marriage) I felt doomed to endure. Damn – that sounded grim! I mean that being alone was just never a long-term option, so I settled into abusive, or at best, unhealthy relationships because I believed I deserved nothing better. My definition of success now is finding and recognizing and embracing Love wherever I can. I may be single, and am not terribly happy about it, but I already am in Love! I am delighted and never alone with honest and kind and fun friendships. In so many ways that I now see all the time, I am a part of something greater than myself, and an active part of it, not just someone fumbling through something dark and sad. This glittery, loving, hopeful, gorgeous, breath-taking, chubby, delicious place wouldn’t be the same without me. And I know now that this has always been the truth. Love has always been in me. Me has always been in Love. I’m kind of a big deal.