Life’s A Beach


Thanks to my husband for capturing these waves!


I would apologize for my absence, but I promised a fellow blogger I was going to stop apologizing for my life, so I will say:  vacation and blogging is like oil and water, in that they don’t mix well.

But, having spent a decent amount of time already on the beach, I’ve had some time to ponder the similarities between the landscape I am presently calling home, and my recovery.  Actually, more than recovery, the similarities extend through life itself.

Sand sculptors abound this time of year, from the amateur (my two-year old nephew makes a mean upside-down bucket sand castle), to the most elaborate (I have seen ornate sand-constructed miniature golf holes that people can actually use).  I have seen the sublime (my daughter’s rendition of a businessman, with tie on, was superb) to the outrageous (my brother-in-law’s mermaid was, let’s just say, generously proportioned).  Here’s the thing about this art:  no matter how perfect, or imperfect, the finished product is, the ocean will have its way with it, and when we come back the next day we will be looking at a blank slate.

Same with recovery, and with life itself:  no matter how perfect or horrific my day is, no matter how accomplished or how unproductive I’ve been, no matter how many accolades I’ve received, or how many nit-picky fights in which I’ve participated, the day will end, and a new one will begin, and I will start all over again.  This can be good news or bad news, depending upon the day I’ve had, but either way, life can only be lived one day at a time, and I start fresh every morning I awaken.

Having many children with us (18 total!) of prime boogie-boarding age, I spend a lot of time standing by the water and doing head counts (and frequently saying to whoever is standing next to me, “I don’t see this one, do you!?!”).  My time in this position has taught me something:  stand still for too long, and I’m going under… the sand.  The longer I stand in the same position, the deeper my feet get buried, which makes me more and more uncomfortable, and becomes more and more difficult to climb out of the hole I’ve created.

And so it is with recovery, and with life:  stand still for too long, and I will stagnate.  The minute I’ve got the idea in my head that “I’ve got this,” recovery-wise, then I am headed for the proverbial fall.  And it’s equally true with life itself.  If I’m not always trying to grow, trying to improve, looking for new experiences, then I am burying myself, and over time it will get more and more difficult to stretch and grow.

Finally, we have had a recurring problem with the cyclical currents in the ocean:  right around the same time every day, we have to pull the kids out of the water, show them how far the ocean has pulled them, and instruct them to keep looking at either the lifeguard chair or us as a gauge of how far they are being pulled.  The lecture is effective for about 3 minutes before we have to pull them out and tell the exact same message.

I am certainly not a scientist, but my experiential understanding is this:  there is no fighting the pull of the ocean’s current.  You can attempt to manage it by periodically swimming against it, measuring yourself against a fixed object on the shoreline and adjusting yourself accordingly, but you are going to be pulled whether you like it or not.

I can, and have, lived in denial of my disease called addiction.  I have attempted to figure ways around it, I believed I could find a solution to it, I have even tried to pretend that my addictive behavior was normal.  All that got me was further and further away from my ultimate goal of peace with myself and my place in this world.   Nowadays, I choose neither to ignore it nor to “solve” it.  Instead, I accept it as part of my life, and I manage it as effectively as I can, one day at a time.  Just as I have instructed my children with the current, I have yardsticks with which to measure myself, and on a daily basis I make sure I am aware of where I am on the recovery yardstick, and I make adjustments on a daily basis.

Next post will center around my philosophical musings on the Fudgy Wudgy man who is always tempting my children with his treats.  Until then, I want to say I miss my blogging friends greatly, and I anticipate with relish the idea of quiet computer time so I can “catch up” with all of you!

Today’s Miracle:

Having some alone time to put fingers to the keyboard!

Posted on July 30, 2013, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Beautiful extended metaphor. Thanks for sharing this!


  2. runningonsober

    Beautiful photo, Mr. Josie! 🙂

    And Ms. Josie, I loved this post! Like MJ said, what a beautiful metaphor. Hope you’re getting in some exercise and having a blast. xo, C


    • When Mr. Josie realized he had been acknowledged by a commenter, he talked about it for the rest of the vacation! I kept telling him, that was Christy, my exercise guru!

      As you know, I did get some exercise in, actually some run/walks of which I’m really proud! I need to get my 5k playlist in order…


  3. As I have come to realize, “Welcome to life Lisa …. everyday it starts again—today”
    I adore you almost as much as cookies.


    • And I, you, Lisa, almost as much as warm, salty, soft pretzels, either with cheese, mustard, or just by themselves (can you tell I’m hungry)? BTW, I am still mulling over that post about outing myself as a soft pretzel addict (which, essentially, I just did!).

      And since life starts over again, it’s time to rouse myself from this chair and get to the gym!!


  4. I love all the lessons that you took from the ocean and how you described them! I can instantly imagine my feet sinking into the sand if I stand in one spot too long (I find that feeling very comforting for some reason) and how you described the worry of keeping an eye on boogie-boarding kids and how reminding them to keep making their way back up the beach never work for long. Vacations sure aren’t very relaxing for parents, huh? And yet there is the comforting lull of waves crashing and the sun warming our skin and how physically satisfying it feels to spend a day doing nothing much at all. Your blog post encompassed all of those feelings for me and made me think about not stagnating and I thank you for this. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!!


    • I am guessing you are not a claustrophobic person then, I CANNOT STAND when my feet sink! I can’t even stand when my chair sinks! Just writing that sentence makes me so glad to be home, and on solid ground. I will be emailing you soon, K, but I did get in a few “ralks,” as I call them (combo walk and run)… my vacay town had a 1.5 mile promenade… how convenient was that?

      And, PS… vacations with small children at the beach are about as far away from relaxing as you can get, but the sheer joy they express in that ocean makes it all worthwhile (I can say that, now, as I sit at home!!). Talk soon!


  5. You made me miss the beach even more than i already do! Than god i leave on vacation next Monday! Enjoy yourself, Josie!


    • Al, did you ever see the Today series “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” Well, I have to admit, I do occasionally contemplate “Where in the World is Al K Hall?” Now I can add the clue: not near a beach!

      Hope you are packed and ready to go on your vacation, and can’t wait to hear all about it!


  6. I am in the minority, and that is, I am not a beach person. Too much sand, water and icky things that live in the water and come up to shore. LOL. But the idea of floating and not resisting – that, I get. Go with the flow, as they say. I too have fought and resisted the tides and undercurrents and found myself sinking. And recently too – so this is a well timed lesson for me. Thank you for this, Josie, and have a wonderful vacation!



    • Thanks, Paul, and, when it comes down to it, I am not a beach person too much either… this is one vacation that is all about the kids. I do love looking at the water, not really wading into it. The sand is pretty, but mostly annoying. Proving, once again, how we are one in the same person. Glad my musings were able to hit home, even if it did not make you long to hit the waves!


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