Looking at the bins, the stages of decomposition remind me of my disease, the stinking garbage I came in with. I have learned to work my program the same way I learned to tend my pile: personal experience, advice, watching and smelling the mistakes of others and myself. I learned that covering thoroughly with meetings and steps works like leaves and hay to eliminate the immediate stench. Circulation is important to prevent me from becoming stale. In the end, the secret is turning it over. If I don’t turn it over, I become putrid; I rot and ferment instead of decomposing, breaking down in a way which restores me to usefulness. When I work the process, my Higher Power turns me into a medium of growth, a renewed source of life and depth. I become rich in all the things that matter and sought after by all the people involved in planting seeds of hope.
My sponsor says it’s a sign of humility that I aspire to be like dirt, encouraging sprouts from the remnants of my past.
She might be right.
Speak from your heart, listen with your mind.
“Why do I expect new leaves to grow on dead sticks?”
I pleaded to my sponsor.
“Is that a ‘why do fools fall in love’, question?” she retorted.
“Oh, I suppose it is. I was doing so well having a ‘listen only’
relationship with someone then she asked why I don’t tell her
my opinion and I like a ‘fool’ I told her.
The ensuing pile of rationalizing and justifying
she gave stank up my whole day.”
“I bet your steady stream of self-reproach didn’t help either,”
my sponsor added.
“But, I know better!” I cried. “I mean this is why I stopped
my speaking role with this girl.
I know she is a reactor NOT a listener.
How could I fall apart at her first recognition that I am wordless
in the face of her diatribes?”
“You were hopeful, is that such a crime?
You think better of people than they really are.
I think that helps you stay willing to help them,” she soothed.
“Yes, but this snapped my willingness to work with her in half.
How do I put it back together?”
“Maybe you needed to learn that it’s okay to leave the dead sticks behind.”
You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault