Monday, 8 September 2014
One of my favourite sayings in AA is that the programme provides a 'bridge to normal living'. For the first few months I had no idea what was meant by this. I didn't understand that my life could be lived any other way; I didn't understand that there were others like me and I didn't understand that I could change. Now, while I know more, I'm beginning to understand how much more there is to know. Initially I completely rejected the fact that I could do anything normal, I felt so far away from any perception of normality that it seemed preposterous that this could apply to me. To be fair, I didn't want it either. I wanted excitement, unpredictability, fun; things that I thought didn't happen to normal people. How little I knew. As my awareness developed I began to release that my current way of living was like standing on a penny. That I could only do it on tiptoes and that it was no surprise that I was constantly falling off. Also, that when I looked up from my penny, it was in the sea and, that while I could see normal living, it was a long way across the water. Little by little, my penny grew into solid land and the sea gradually became a trickle of a stream running in front of me that I could step across. As I sit on my front steps, in glorious sunshine, the dog at my feet, a cup of tea by my side; I am enjoying reflecting on this change. In the past I have likened life as a recovering alcoholic to walking along a fence, precariously balanced, knowing that at any moment I could slip off and fall into the depths beyond. Today, it feels like I'm sat on a sea wall, dangling my toes into the water below. Let's face it, there's no point living so near the sea and not knowing how to swim. However, there are big differences between swimming in the shallows and swimming in the deep with the sharks. I need to develop my swimming skills as well as my sailing ones to make sure that I keep myself safe and out of harms way. In early recovery my focus was on my drinking and the basics to stay sober. To keep myself safe for the longer term, I need to look at all aspects of my life, to make sure that my emotional/spiritual, intellectual and physical selves are well, much like a three legged stool, all growing together so that balance is maintained. This may prove to be the hardest journey yet and I have to ask myself if I am really up for it and the consequences that it may bring.