Dear Owl “Drive Thru”- A Reflection on Sobriety

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It occurred to me this morning at my weekly AA women’s group meeting that the only thing that prevents me from picking up the next drink is what my head is filled with and what my hands are doing. If I am not careful about doing what the program suggests, my head might be filled with lies and deceit, therefore giving my hand an opportunity to engage in impulsive activities. Last night I had a drinking dream. This was the first in a long time. Some AAs refer to drinking dreams as “freebies;” an opportunity to taste and engage in patterns of our past without the guilt of live participation. In the dream, I had a shot of vodka in my hands, and I lifted it to my lips and took a sip, just enough to wet my lips. I could feel the burn of the clear, fiery spirit in my mouth. I set down the glass, and immediately thought about AA, and my conviction to stay sober.  I wondered if this tasting of the alcohol counted as an incident I would later feel compelled to confess. Did it count as “falling off the wagon?”

I did not recall the dream until I was sitting in the meeting this morning, and the woman next to me recounted an incident last night in a local health-oriented grocery store where she was tempted to drink by a wine-tasting they were offering to all shoppers, complete with cheese and crackers as a chaser. In the end, she didn’t partake, but her story was a strong reminder to me that my sobriety is contingent upon where my head is at and what my hands are doing. It is up to me to continue to make deposits in my sobriety bank account.  Then, when under times of stress or struggling under the burden of resentment, my head might be able to control my hand by cashing in on a deposit of truth that is instilled by the program, and by my God. The absence of alcohol in my life has enabled me to be filled with His truths powered by love, instead of the lies and deceit of the world. My life is growing so enriched because of this.

To those of you who are taking the time to read this, but do not struggle with alcohol, think about this: substitute the alcohol in this story with any struggle you are experiencing, be it food addiction, control issues, pornography, low self-esteem, etc. There are a myriad of struggles which separate us from the person we are designed to be. Where is your head today? Get it out of the world for a moment and fill it with a wonder for the Almighty. “Be still and know that I am God.”

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About Dear Owl

"Owl" has been the recipient of my journaling for years as I've chronicled through all of the ups and down of my life. "OWL" represents "One who listens." It helped to imagine a wise, grandfatherly old soul to whom I could pour out my heart unabashedly and with a no-holds-barred conviction. Lately, I have been disclosing the challenges through which I've traveled as I've raised my second daughter, LiLi. This child, seven years old when we brought her home, was my second internationally adopted daughter from China. Raising LiLi has been the hardest, most guilt-ridden challenge of my life. When I was called to adopt a second child from China, I never imagined a journey like the one our family has traveled since 2003. Riddled with heartache and sprinkled with bittersweet joy, there wasn’t much time to dwell in the “Why me” sorrows. It has been revealed to me that the answer to that question is this: LiLi’s arrival into my life was the beginning of a long road toward redemption. I have a plaque in my kitchen that reads “Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best.” LiLi was my slam-dunk. Journey with me as I recall memorable chapters to our story.

One response »

  1. Paula,
    I must confess, I am mesmerized by your blog. As I read your stories, the voice I hear in my head is your voice, its as if we were seated side by side, two old friends, catching up with each others lives. So much of what you write I’m so familiar with, yet some of your stories and struggles caught me unaware. Your passion and trust in God is evident in your words. You are right where you need to be.
    You are an amazing woman Paula. I’m so grateful you’ve chosen to share your life’s truimphs and heartbreaks this way.

    Keep writing, it’s not only cathartic, you just may end up with a book in the end. You have been a graced by God with the gift of words.
    Love you!
    Mary

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