Better late than never!
Crazy few days in my corner of the world, with still a teensy bit more to go, but I wanted to recap yesterday’s meeting, for the sake of continuity, if nothing else.
Yesterday, as the fourth Monday of the month, we read from the book As Bill Sees It, the topical compilation of AA literature. I selected the topic freedom, in honor of our American holiday Memorial Day.
I will be honest and say that the topic in and of itself did not fill me with excitement, but the readings were interesting and the conversation lively. I was also impressed to have an attendance of 10, which is pretty good for a holiday.
Of course, the first point that hits home with anyone in recovery when the topic of freedom arises: the freedom experienced when released from the obsession and compulsion to drink or use drugs. After I selected the topic but before we started reading, my eyes fell upon the travel coffee mug I bring with me to the meeting. It is the type you get through a website like Snapfish, a mug personalized with a photograph. Mine has a beautiful photo taken of my family when we went on our one and only trip to Disney World, almost five years ago. I suppose because the topic of freedom was already on my mind, I thought back to that trip through that perspective. I looked at my own face in the picture, and I could remember, vividly, my mindset at the time. While I was generally able to control myself in situations like a family vacation, my mind would anticipate the time when I did not have to control myself. I remembered all too well anticipating the end of that vacation, where I could then end my control.
Who does that… in The Happiest Place on Earth no less?
Here’s the good news, and what I shared at Monday’s meeting: those days are a thing of the past. The past 4 days of my life have been dedicated to celebrating my daughter’s 15th birthday, which happens to be today. Friday we brainstormed a list of all her favorite food (an extensive and varied list, she will bankrupt her future boyfriends with her culinary taste). Saturday through Monday I baked/cooked/prepared every single item on the list (technically one item we ate at a restaurant, but still). We had her closest friends over for dinner, took them to a movie, then had them back for a sleepover. Sunday we went shopping for clothes and makeup. Monday she went out for a practice drive in anticipation of next year’s being able to apply for a driver’s license (all my husband, no way am I rushing that life event), and Monday night we had the family over to eat pie (no store-bought cake for this one!) and ice cream, and sing happy birthday. One more mini-event tonight with her basketball team, and I will go to sleep tonight feeling good that I celebrated my daughter’s birthday right.
Comparing that trip to Disney to this past birthday weekend… that’s freedom to me.
Even better insights came out of the meeting:
- One gentleman shared his thoughts about freedom versus responsibility. Some people think freedom = I can do what I want. For us alcoholics, that thinking did not equate to much freedom at all, quite the opposite. But thinking of doing “what I ought” instead “what I want,” ultimately provides us the greatest freedom that exists, the freedom that is peace of mind.
- Another friend at the meeting talked about the idea of dependence upon a Higher Power giving independence, and she felt that to be very true for her. For years, she admitted, she relied far too heavily upon her family for many of her needs, not the least of those being sobriety. Now, in relying upon a power greater than herself, she finds she does not have to rely upon her family to remain sober, she can manage her recovery with without them.
- In a discussion of the never-ending chatter of our minds, and that chatter hindering our ability to make calm and clear decisions, one “long-timer” share an acronym I heard for the first time on Monday:
EGO: Edging God Out
I love it! The more I go round and round in my head about a decision, the more I think and out-think and over think, the less I’m turning it over to God, and the more I’m turning it over to my ego. I’m keeping that one in my back pocket for the next time my monkey mind starts up!
There was, I’m sure, tons more great stuff, but the problem is the longer I wait to post, the less I can retain, so I’ll end here. Hope all my American friends had wonderful, sober 3 day weekend!
The awareness of how much better, richer, and more fulfilling a sober life is. So grateful to celebrate such a special day, so grateful that I will remember it tomorrow!