The morning began in tears reading one of my favourite bloggers, Everybody Needs Therapy, paying a loving tribute to her father who died last week.
She says of this wonderful man what each one of us would like to have said at our funeral:
He would teach that it’s what’s inside that counts, not what you have. It’s not acquiring things, it’s living that counts, living fully. This in the heart of of the suburbs, a very material world.
The abundance of life. In some ways I know my life out here in the mountains isn’t very exciting and it does get lonely. I miss the ups and downs and collegiality of the workplace, the pleasures of having meetings every evening to attend, miss going to films and being able to sit in a city coffee shop watching people come and go, the lively markets and street theatre, art galleries all around, having friends staying within walking distance. But being out here and having time to write and time to reconnect with nature is the kind of luxury money can’t buy. My sober life feels filled to the brim and spilling over.
And more and more as time goes by I appreciate how much insight I was given in my own years of therapy. although I was not able to integrate any insights or put much into practice until I sobered up, the understandings were waiting there in memory storage. The analysis I received all those years ago was very different to what often happens now, to go by this somewhat terrifying article in the New Yorker, but through the skilled listening of an empathetic analyst (whom I thought of as The Enemy for nearly two years) it became possible for me to listen to myself and to find a voice, a way of talking about my own past.
One particular insight, a great help in meetings, but one that still makes me both uncomfortable and grateful, is this:
Sobriety has been a sharp learning curve. Many of my old ways of thinking and acting needed to change. Early on, friends suggested that this Step is not primarily about ‘apologies’ but rather about becoming open to ongoing self-correcting behaviour. I simply need to admit I have made a mistake and adjust my thinking and behaviour in accordance with this understanding. I have found too that to act promptly to rectify matters prevents the build-up of resentment or grievances. To be able to tell the truth against oneself, fearlessly and spontaneously, is a sign of maturity and a touchstone of the authentic. I would love to get there some day.