I had a dream the other night. The details are a bit fuzzy now, but each place I went to in this dream was empty. It was like at the end of a party where most of the people have left. There were a few stragglers, but even they were on their way out. The overall meaning I took from the dream was that it was about endings, and that I was the last one to be aware of things being over. You could say I was late to the party on that :)As an addict in Recovery, the larger meaning strikes me as being about letting go of my old life. That part of my life is over. It could resume at any moment, of course, and that’s why I keep working the program--to do what I can to ensure it doesn’t. But after more than three years living clean and sober... On the one hand, it could be my subconscious working through the last bits of acceptance of living a new life. But with how I was in the dream, being surprised at the emptiness of these places, realizing I had come late, that everyone else had left, I wonder if instead it isn’t my brain telling me I still have some more letting go to do of the old me.* * *I’ve had some major changes in my life recently. They’ve got me thinking about something I heard shared once. I was at an NA book study and a woman with over a dozen years living clean and sober talked about how, even after all this time, she still had to struggle. She talked about wishing for something that would probably never come--the feeling that she had ‘made it’. As if one day, all her hard work would pay off and she would sit back with a contented sigh.I’m remembering that because I’ve got a bit of that ‘made it’ feeling going on right now. My hard work in a number of different areas of my life is paying off. I’m grateful for the changes, amazed and surprised by the good things that are happening. And dealing, too, with all the fear and worry and obsession one would expect from a sufferer of the Disease.Being so used to bad things happening, sometimes the most difficult thing for folks like us to accept is when things are going well. I’m reminding myself that God doesn’t give me anything I can’t handle. I learned that lesson by going through a tough trial in my life--the suicide of a sponsee. It would seem that it applies to good times as well as bad.* * *This month is something of a morbid anniversary for me. Fifteen years ago, I went through some of the most tumultuous, difficult events of my life. My second suicide attempt, my being in the mental hospital, and my being arrested all happened fifteen years ago this month. I’ve done the work to move through and get past all of these events, but there can’t be any denying the power and importance of how what happened shaped and changed my life.Call it bizarre, but I’m much more at peace with the suicide attempt and the hospitalization than I am with the arrest. Even though I’ve never had any difficulty finding a job, I still do the tiniest bit of panicking every time I go through a background check. Fears aren’t always rational.The scars of severe depression are something that have proven to be something very helpful to others I meet. Talking about being a suicide survivor, showing them the old burn marks up and down my legs, it helps them to know the darkness they’re suffering from doesn’t have to last forever, that there is a way out.* * *Maybe there is old stuff, old ideas about myself and who I am, that I’m still hanging on to that I need to let go of. And, as always, the fear that I feel is that of the unknown. If I let go of the idea that I’m not worthy of love, then I have to embrace the idea that I am worthy of it. If I let go of my false modesty when it comes to being a capable, functioning member of society, then that means I have to rise up to my full potential and follow through at my true level of capabilities. If I accept that it is possible for me to have a healthy, satisfying romantic relationship, then that means I have to give up not just unhealthy relationships, but being alone as well. And being alone is something for me that is pretty damn difficult to give up, not because I like it, but because it is so familiar.Or maybe, just maybe, these are all things that I have learned, things that I already know, and what the dream is calling my attention to is that I’m forgetting them. Like, a one step forward, a two-steps back thing. It could even be my higher power reaching inside to encourage me not to fall back, not to give up and to continue to embrace the fact that good things just keep on happening in my life.As I continue walking the path, the scenery is changing.
read more: “Four Corners”