I got them when my sobriety was new. They were tiny little guys, ten-cent feeders. I wanted my stepson to sleep soundly in our strange jumble of a home, fresh from purchase. The tank sat on a dresser under his elevated bed, space to fit my hand to feed them, no space for baby boy to climb in. I loved my goldfish. There is never a no with gold fish; feed them as often as you want; let the water get cold. Put them in a big space, a small space, plants, no plants. No was so hard. I hate and fear no. I am hard, fish are easy.
Tears and mesmerizing aquarium. Meetings and steps. I could not keep myself alive. I don’t know how I kept the fish fed. The program kept me going, kept hope flowing, and the fish swam. In this century, when we finally are outliving wild goldfish, we are sober together by the grace of our Higher Power. It’s been a wonderful time. I am grateful to be here with the goldfish. I am grateful the goldfish are here for me, expecting so little. Maybe I could return the favor.
“I’m grateful you appreciate the fish,” says my sponsor.
Find a bell to ring
Turning into a spin,
the edge cuts into my misconceptions,
the point sharp and accurate to a fault
digs into the excess I carry around,
keeping me from my useful purpose.
A good eye and steady hand
are needed lest breakthrough ruin me.
Not that all is ever lost
for a spoon with a hole
in the bowl will stir a soup smooth.
Relinquishing my burdens and trusting the carver’s tools and methods
takes great commitment.
I am carved commitment or no,
but things turn out better when I don’t flinch.
You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault