I had the pleasure of spending an hour with a bunch of alcoholics earlier this afternoon. I say pleasure because it truly is… I think I stopped paying attention to other people and their words months ago. There’s a lot for me to hear and experience. And we alcoholics, we are a hilarious and scary intelligent lot.
My therapist told me that she attributes my relapse, in part, to me “getting too comfortable.” She’s correct. I lost the humility and grace that keep me fresh in my program. I thought I had it all figured out… nothing left to learn. What’s funny is that I was warned this would happen, if I didn’t stay vigilant and diligent in my program. And it did.
One nugget I heard today that’s stuck with me came from an older gentleman in recovery. He was talking about life– how it’s never easy. We might stop drinking, start to figure out emotional sobriety, and feel better, but life will continue on. There will never be a shortage of curve balls. Which is one of the few things I know for sure (and, in the words of my Dad, “higher taxes and death”–two other certainties).
In this man’s verbal navigation of the tricky terrain of living, he said something along the lines of “someone shit in my cornflakes.”
Most of us laughed. I kept returning to the game my brother, sister and I would often play (and I still will because really I am 12 years old) called “What’s grosser than gross?” I won’t make you suffer through the details of the game but it’s basically a practice of oneupmanship in thinking up the nastiest, sickest, grossest things imaginable.
Anyway, on a more serious note, I have been reflecting on this notion of someone shitting in my cornflakes. When I am not in a good place emotionally, spiritually, and physically, it is really easy for me to fall back on negative, selfish thinking. Why is this happening to me? It’s not fair! How come everyone else has it so easy? Who shit in my cornflakes?
I’ve been back in the program for 12 days now and I cannot believe how different my mind and body already feel. What a blessing. I am calming down again. I am able to get outside myself and think of others. While I am still quick to react– I am sensitive and it will always be a daily discipline to work at not personalizing everything around me– I am able to pause and throw out, into the Universe, that I need some help.
I am finding a great deal of serenity and lightheartedness in my journey right now. That doesn’t mean this alcoholism and addiction thing isn’t serious; it is. It’s deathly serious. At the same time, in this moment, I am able to step back and survey my life and see something very simple. All is well. Surely the curve balls, slow balls, fast balls, and knuckle balls will keep coming, but with lots and lots of help, and one day at a time, I can dodge and jump and catch and not let them take me out of the game.
You see, the “who shit in my cornflakes?” question is really a metaphor for the self-pitying, narrow-minded, I-am-the-center-of-the-Universe thinking I revert to when I am not taking care of myself. And by the way, the answer to that question is always the same. Me. I shit in my own cornflakes.
I personally don’t do cornflakes much; I am more of a raisin bran girl. But here’s to a shit-free breakfast and day nevertheless.
Peace and love to all.