September 28, 2009

Auf Widersehen

So the decision has been made. Interestingly, it was a very grown up decision. I attempted to void the emotions from the decision making process in order to allow it to be reasonable instead of wrought with heart sickness.

On Friday, someone I trust gave me a book to read. He has watched me and talked with me enough over the last year, apparently, to have insight into something that I may need right at this very moment. The book is called, The Alchemist. I am only 29 pages into the book and have already identified many things that are needed in my life. Things I knew, but need to know on a new level.

One of the areas my confidant has challenged me is in the area of being present. One of the things he brought to my attention is the opportunities I miss by ignoring my surroundings. He challenged me to open my eyes and see who is around me and what they might offer me. His example was that in the Starbucks I might engage people more with eye contact, a smile and even idle chit chat. While my concept of chit chat is that it is a waste of my precious insightful time, he disputes that with the notion that I am missing an opportunity to cultivate friendships with people who I may learn from by dismissing them.

So, yesterday I was walking through the grocery when a man dropped his apples. As they went rolling on the floor I thought of the friendly advice. I thought of what I could say as a clever retort to the fruit spill. I never said anything. And that disturbed me about myself. So, this morning I decided to put this concept to the test. I have made direct eye contact with everyone I have come in contact with. I have smiled and been friendly. I have opened myself up to the interactions. I have opened myself up to the lessons. Ultimately, I have opened myself up the vulnerability of someone knowing me.

One of the most alarming discoveries that have come of my talking with him is that I know many people but I allow few people to really know me. I want to work actively to change that.

Auf Wiedersehen to the past.

“That is what learning is. You suddenly learn something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way”. ~ Doris Lessing

September 24, 2009

A life Celebrated

Over the weekend someone very dear to the treatment and recovery community in DFW passed away. I attended a service for him. I mentioned to the people who sat with me afterward that it caused me to pause and think about my own contributions. Would that many people care about me enough to attend a memorial? Would that many people have been impacted by my life when my time is done? They agreed that funerals and memorials bring that question up in all of us.

The contributions of counselors in the substance abuse field often go unsung. It seems that counselors are in the fight with the clients, witnessing transformation and trauma, but seldom are they acknowledged for the work they do. If it weren’t for those counselors and fellow recovering individuals many active substance abusers would not know another way of life. Those who publicly announce their personal recovery would not have it if it weren’t for the ones who helped them understand and acknowledge the addiction.

Many people make mini-impacts on the world just by touching one life. One life changed makes a difference to all of the people that person will effect.

I find it so fitting that this man passed as the season was changing and while we are in celebration of Recovery Month. He will be missed. But his mission will be carried on by all of those he touched. The world is different for so many because he lived.

What do you contribute and how are you celebrated?

September 19, 2009


Currently I am faced with a decision that I do not want to make. As a subscriber to the belief that decisions unmade are decisions to let someone else decide…..this is not the behavior I enjoy seeing myself demonstrate. However, I feel stopped by fear. Either of the choices I have to make is undesirable to me on some level.

I had a conversation with someone I trust and respect about this yesterday. One of the things he indicated seeing in me is that I keep getting in my own way. As he was talking and I was thinking the tears would not stop flowing. I do get in my own way. I over think and I awfulize possibilities. He described some zen ideas of allowing yourself to let life come to you and go with the flow as if it were a river moving you. While I can comprehend that and even imagine it for someone else I cannot imagine it for myself, especially not in this decision.

I need to allow myself to be moved by life.

September 14, 2009

It feels like he was an infant just yesterday but soon he will be turning 9. Internally I think I hope that he needs me a little more often than he pretends he does. Externally, I pat him on the back and send him on his way with all of my support and encouragement.

Tonight he was having trouble falling asleep so I lay with him in his bed. He told me some of his fears about when the lights go out. So I listened. I comforted and encouraged him. Inwardly, I was treasuring this moment. He tucked my arm around him so tightly that any movement I made would wake him. Each time I thought of getting up he would look at me as if to ask me to stay for a minute longer. The minutes are so short these days, I enjoyed staying.

As he lay sleeping I looked at him with many realizations. He is mine. He is like a miniature version of what I once was. He is innocent. As I once was. He is as moldable and impressionable, as I. Each morning I wake him with a cheerful call so he can start his day with a positive outlook. Each day I whisper words of support to him as he gets out the car at school in order to provide him with the idea that he can make it. Each day when I pick him up I ask him to tell me everything great that happened in order to help him find the good in all situations. And at night I tuck him in with prayers and a daily review in order to give him insight into personal inventory and hope for an even better tomorrow.

I feel so blessed that I have him. I feel so blessed that I have the ability to help him become strong – emotionally, spiritually and physically. And I ask for guidance from God and others I trust to help me guide him in the direction he is to go. I have such a short time to influence him. I have such a short time to keep him safe. But I am so grateful for every moment because I learn so much from him.


September 08, 2009


For more than a week I have been conversing with someone who knows my history. It has stirred emotion in me in a way I cannot yet fully digest. I left my hometown before my recovery process began. So, I was able to leave behind the people who were aware, first hand, of my behaviors. In the new town I was able to tell the story from my own perspective. Often, I was the victim in my story telling. Rarely did my story contain information of the wreckage I caused to other people. Frequently, I would only discuss the debris I left for myself.

Many times I have thought of the actual damage I have done. Many times I have thought that the change in my life has been a living amends to the people I had harmed that I could not locate to make personal amends. I believe my recovery is solid. I believe my lifestyle is a testament to my genuineness to live differently. However, these exchanges have left me thinking about the past more than I would like.

The person has assured me that all is forgiven. So, what is the reason this does not seem like enough? I believe one of the reasons is that they shared with me the fact that even back then they saw through some of my pain and insecurity to the person I am today. That is the part that has me baffled. I could not even see her. Yet, someone else could. And they have forgiven me for behaviors that I find revolting, perhaps, unforgiveable.

So, I have forgiven myself. I have asked for forgiveness. And I have lived the last sixteen years making the past right. I am searching for the reason I am feeling as I do today. As if something more should be done. As if a piece of that puzzle is missing.

I have been given feedback from several people I trust. They all concur that since I have dealt with the person I was then I would be better served to stop my mind from wandering back into that and just move forward with the person I am today. I want to do that. And I believe I can. This is just more than a gentle reminder that even when the past has passed, it is still a part of me.

Feedback welcome.

September 06, 2009

Cancer is so limited

It cannot cripple love
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot eat away at peace
It cannot destroy confidence
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot shut out memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot reduce eternal life
It cannot quench the spirit

Author Unknown

September 05, 2009



I thought he was the knight
In shining armor
But he wasn’t
He was as close to one as I’ve known
I suppose
He said he cared
And I believe he did
We talked
We walked
And he touched me
In my heart
He was a friend
A real friend
Such a handsome man
And cute boy
So serious
So responsible
But still silly
I laughed a lot
And I needed to
I think he liked me
As much as I did him
It was new and I wasn’t afraid
To be who I really am
And he didn’t stop me from
Being me