Living with my disease is like having a sleeping bear in the house. I knew it was there, could hear it snore. I never felt comfortable or able to turn my back on it and get on with my life. I felt under certain threat. Fearing the bear would wake when my attention was elsewhere, I proceeded to poke my sleeping bear with a stick. I prodded it to wakefulness; in retrospect, it is clear I was unprepared for a wakeful bear, even with my full attention fixed on this brute. The bear, which is my disease, roamed about the house and made forays out into the world. I had no plan or tool for these events. Finding a legion of people who had worked out living arrangements with their bears, I happily joined their ranks. My bear wakes and sleeps at its will but I am no longer afraid or unskilled at handling this creature. Today I am so grateful for the bear in my life and would never want a life without it. I live in a world filled with bears and would be at a loss as to how to exist if not for the practice and success with the bear that is my own.
Draw a picture of time.
Do you leave when it is time to go
or are you the type who exits early?
Does departure time find you lingering
trying to squeeze out one more minute
rooted in this spot?
Are you the kind of person who loves the street,
but avoids the parade?
Can you bear to go, bear to stay,
bear to think that the world exists beyond this door?
Do you move with the other sheep
when all the crowd says, “Baa.”
Are you fleet with a sky full of clouds obeying the breeze,
flaunting the tides?
Do you change with the seasons
or are you passed from hand to hand,
living your life in the snow of a globe?
My life is my life,
but the most vital evidence of how I live it
is what I do on thresholds.
You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault