Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Palm Of Our Skull

"It's at night, when perhaps we should be dreaming, that the mind is most clear, that we are most able to hold all our life in the palm of our skull. I don't know if anyone has ever pointed out that great attraction of insomnia before, but it is so; the night seems to release a little more of our vast backward inheritance of instincts and feelings; as with the dawn, a little honey is allowed to ooze between the lips of the sandwich, a little of the stuff of dreams to drip into the waking mind."~Brian W. Aldiss

It's the middle of the night and I'm holding some of my life in the palm of my skull. I was trying to keep track of the little bits of mental notes I was making when I decided to get up and write them all down so I could go back to bed and get some sleep. It would be of no surprise to dearest one to wake up and find me writing. He knows me.

I finally got to an AA meeting yesterday. What a relief to be in a room of people where I don't have to explain myself. I simply get to be. Accepting where I am on the journey and telling that truth without judging myself, is probably the hardest thing I face on a daily basis. An AA meeting has become one of few places where I don't struggle to be someone else or somewhere else on my journey. What a gift.

It was a good meeting. Before I got there I really felt the need to share. When I walked in the room, the person who normally chairs the meeting asked me if I wanted to chair it. I took a few moments to think that over and decided maybe his need to share was greater than mine and accepted. I heard good, good stuff around the table. I love that I benefit from someone else sharing their experience, strength and hope. I've had more light bulb moments at a meeting than for all the times someone has been purposely trying to flick the switch on for me. I need to remember to stop trying to do that to others.

I've never had a bona fide sponsor on my recovery journey. In the beginning, the woman who introduced me to Al Anon and then AA was a rehab counselor. She gladly took me to meetings and we became friends. Since being back in the program the last 6 months, I've increasingly seen the need for a sponsor and have become willing to surrender my habit of trying to fly solo. After the meeting yesterday I approached a woman about becoming my sponsor. Every time she has shared in a meeting I have appreciated her words of wisdom. She has a beautiful, humble spirit and she tells it to you straight. I need that. It's not easy for me to trust women, especially other alcoholics. I'm not sure why. Reaching out for help is such a sign of health for me. She is willing to consider it and I will call her later today. I realized through the Christmas holidays that had I had a sponsor I would have dealt with my resentments sooner rather than later. I could have heard myself simply from sharing outloud with someone else, someone who gets it, and known I needed to take action.

I never went through rehab or 90 meetings in 90 days. When I sobered up I had a newborn, a toddler and a 4 year old. Rehab seemed too inconvenient. I can laugh at the absurdity of that thinking now. I had been sober a year and active in Al-Anon before I walked through the doors of an AA meeting. Dearest one and I have been discussing whether it would be possible for me to go through rehab now. Even though I haven't had a drink in almost 19 years I feel like I've only been working the program for these past six months.

Sometimes when someone is pissing me off I think to myself, "You're messing with my serenity." It's a gentle, humourous way to remind myself that my serenity is up to me and no one can mess with it unless I give them permission. There are people at my meetings who have serenity on a daily basis. I want that. I want it more than I want to be right. I'm willing to do what it takes to get it. God help me.

Last night while hashing out my day with dearest one he interrupted me to say, "I love you." He had this tender hearted look on his face and I replied, "You do?" I proceeded to pepper him with questions about that until he laughed and teased me that I was giving him the grand inquisition because he told me he loved me. I laughed too and decided to accept his words without having to have them clarified. I know he was seeing something in me that I couldn't see had I gone and looked in the mirror. Accepting love heals.

This past week I took a step towards better social health. I've known for some time that I need to be among people more than I am in any given week. It's so easy for me to be a hermit, to stay within my comfort zone. Several months ago I approached the head of the local historical society about volunteering my writing and research skills. I told her I couldn't commit to anything until after the New Year and this past week she called to see if I was ready to start. Despite the piles of papers I make on any flat surface in my own home, I do love to organize and file things away, which is one of the jobs this woman needs done. In the next few weeks I will also learn the practical side of museum collections and how to register and catalogue items. When time allows I will write about items already on display and at some point write a local history booklet for elementary students. Every week I will meet for a few hours with other community people and use my gifts for the benefit of the whole. It feels like step in the right direction.

This coming week I will start biofeedback training. Back in November, when I had my annual checkup, my doctor and I discussed options for dealing with my increasing pain levels. If I sit too long it becomes painful to walk. If someone touches me pretty well anywhere on my body, it hurts. My joints are getting to be an issue. Last week at a family gathering, dearest one was holding one of our great nephews when he teasingly, gently touched my shoulder joint with this little guy's foot. By the third touch I was in pain. Anywhere I scratch on my body becomes painful to the touch immediately. I don't know anything about biofeedback training but am hoping it will help me cope with the pain. I'm also on the waiting list for a local chronic pain group too, which will also teach me coping techniques. It's been several weeks since I've had enough spoons to get me through to the end of a day so I'm hoping all this will help me manage those better. Trying to balance having a life and having spoons is an ongoing challenge.

Dearest one just got up and looked at me kind of puzzled a few moments ago. Even though it's 3:30 AM, the kettle is on and we're going to have a cup of tea. Then it's time to put this waking mind back to sleep.


onionboy said...

I am glad that you'll be using your writing skills locally. Good on you. Let it be a joy for you and not a chore.

Good on you and hubby for tea in wee hours.

Sorry for the increased physical pain.

curious servant said...

I love you, Hope. You are a real sweety.

You are honest with yourself. I love how you share what is real instead of dressing it up for company.

"Dear One" is pretty cool too.

God bless you both.

daisymarie said...

a cup of tea with dearest...what a blessing...even in wee-est of hours.

such an image of holding your life in the palm of your skull...

good for you for reaching out and using your gifts...may it bring new blessings your way.

Trudging said...

Good luck with the new sponsor

Pru said...

I'm glad you have a place where you don't need to fight to just be yourself. Finding a place like that is a blessing.
I love you too.

Jackie said...

Oh Hope, I too am in the midst of trying not to become a Hermit!! After the not so gentle nudging of my husband (he had been trying gentle for the last year, since that didn't work, I guess he thought that I needed a good kick about it).

Anyway, I just signed up for an Art Class, and I am going to try to get back into yoga. It's not easy to step out of my comfort zone though.

I guess I just wanted you to know that you are not alone, and you have inspired me to do even more with me "getting out of the house" plan!!

HeyJules said...

Hope, as always, you are such an inspiration to me.

And I have a distinct fondness for Dearest One as well...