The Breakfast Buzz

Recovery wisdom is so abundant that it is hard to find a conundrum or even a time of year for which there is no appropriate sober saying.

Recently, for instance, I have been looking for 12-step aphorisms to counter the intense cultural pressure to find a “New Me” in the “New Year.”

No one wants to find a new me more than I do, and the sooner the better.

But it’s a hefty, lofty goal–and this is why I am oh-so-grateful this January for one of my favorite recovery sayings:

Progress not perfection.

The importance of those proverbial baby steps was brought home to me recently by a seemingly small nutritional dilemma that turned out to have global implications. And that was:

What liquid should I pour onto my breakfast cereal?

Get a life? I desperately need to. Bourgeois problems? I got ’em.

But the decision turned out to be weightier than I could have imagined.

At this point, I must beg your pardon. Some of you are probably way ahead of me in medical, nutritional and environmental awareness and things that I am just discovering may be old news to you. I apologize. I am, however, trying, as per my sober admonition, to make progress in overcoming my ignorance in these areas.

The issue of what liquid to use in bathing my breakfast grains first arose a  few years ago when I realized that I had to eliminate from my diet the beloved and creamy treat I had been splashing on my cereal since childhood–i.e. cow’s milk. I have been made increasingly aware in recent years that dairy products contribute mightily to heart disease and cancer.

What to do instead? I turned my attention to soy milk.

This seemed like a promising choice–until a few months ago when I read that there was some concern that the estrogen in soy might contribute slightly to the growth of breast cancer tumors. Other research showed that a lifetime of eating a diet high in soy protected against breast cancer. The most respected docs concluded that moderate soy consumption was the way to go.

Was a bowl a day moderate enough? Soy milk was confusing. So what next?

I searched the aisles of my grocery store–and I could not believe my good fortune. Dairy milk and soy milk were not my only options. There were also nut milks–cashew and almond, to be exact. My heart leapt with joy and relief as I loaded containers of almond milk into my cart. I was not doomed to crunch drearily through dry cereal after all.

Alas, my celebration of a Dairy Free Me in 2020 was cut short yesterday in the checkout line, when the young man behind me launched into a grim lecture on the mass extinction of American bees. The reason for this horror, he explained to his companion, was excessive demands on the little critters to pollinate almond trees–and subsequent exposure to pesticides. Thousands upon thousands of bees were dying from chemical poisoning, he said, due to burgeoning consumption of almond milk.

I looked guiltily at the cartons of almond product in my grocery cart, then turned around and asked my neighbor what he would recommend as a dairy alternative.

“You could try coconut milk,” he said.

Upon returning home, I reviewed what I had learned and pondered my options for healthy and eco-friendly breakfasting  in 2020. I thought of the sober advice to seek “progress not perfection” and it comforted me.

Clearly in this situation, as in much of life, there was no flawless fix. I needed to look for baby steps on the breakfast front. After reflecting on the matter a bit further, and perusing a few more nutritional and environmental websites, I concluded that if I used soy in moderation it should not prove too risky and decided to keep an eye on the almond situation to see if worker bee conditions improved sufficiently to allow me a bowl of almond milk now and then. According to several reports, the nut farmers and beekeepers are eager to work things out and make life better for the insects.

As for next steps, it looks like I am headed to my grocer’s coconut milk aisle, and thence the oat milk selection. I will doubtless find imperfection, but maybe also a chance to do just a little better at my breakfast table in 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reverie

There are some sober sayings with which I struggle mightily. I want to follow their wise advice and yet find I cannot.

For instance:

“We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”

Sometimes I feel so full of remorse and heartache about the past that I want to cry until I am all cried out and then slam that big ole door and never look back again.

For instance, right now, as I contemplate the recent passing of a wonderful man who for decades brought hope and inspiration to my family.

He was an Episcopal priest, the dean of a great Cathedral, an intellectual, activist, family man and compassionate friend–a charismatic bear of a fellow, large in stature but also refined, with kind blue eyes and warm hands that welcomed and comforted. He married me to my truest love and baptized our child. He celebrated my family’s brightest moments and consoled us at times of unspeakable sorrow. His faith, optimism and love of life were infectious.

He also witnessed my greatest shame, when an unfortunate bout of youthful vanity and foolishness coupled with an ill-timed surge of female hormones, caused me to abandon the marriage he had blessed. My husband invited him to our home to intercede but I was too deep in my craziness to be reached even by the kindest and wisest of loving friends.

Months later, I tried too late to undo what I had done. My truest love had moved on. I did my best to move on as well in the decades after that devastating break, Time and sobriety have helped me see that the fissures in my marriage were not all of my making. Still I have never stopped regretting the decision to break that deep bond of trust and affection.

And I have never found such a bond again, although I have sought it.

As I wrestle with the feeling of shame and loss that has been triggered by news of my friend’s passing,  I wonder what the dear man himself would say about regrets. Like all happy and successful people I have known, he seemed to be capable of reflection without remorse. He was philosophical and forgiving of others and their failings, and I would hope he treated the darker moments in his own life with the same gentle compassion. He struck me as someone who always looked ahead with optimism, to the next adventure, the next opportunity to do good, to help, to love, to celebrate.

I imagine that even now, passing through Heaven’s Gate, he is eagerly embracing his new dimension and excited about what lies ahead.

I pray for the departed soul of this marvelous man. I pray that I can let the past rest in peace, and take inspiration from the exuberant, loving and optimistic life journey of my family’s cherished friend:

 Rev James Parks Morton, 1930-2020

 

 

 

 

Starting and Stopping

I used to be a black-belt blamer. It was a skill I honed growing up as one of four siblings.  Every so often, our parents would catch us engaged in some form of mischief and they would play detective before meting out punishment. I got very good at shouting “She started it! He started it!” whilst pointing the finger away from myself. Or, if I felt unjustly accused, I would yell, “No fair!” (two words that have never made a difference in anyone’s life because, as we all know, life ain’t fair). Perhaps you have similar memories.

Another phase in my brilliant buck-passing career came when I began psychotherapy in my early 20s. Like many people new to soul-searching, I was amazed at all the terrible things I was remembering other people Doing To Me. It’s curious that I have always been slower to recall the terrible things I did to others.

Now, as a person in recovery, I am learning the virtue of taking responsibility for my actions: owning up to what I have done or am doing, and making amends if it is wrong. Blaming goes along with pity partying and asking others to take care of us–it is frowned upon in sober circles.

Not surprisingly, there are many sayings that encourage us to look at our part in things, instead of focusing on what the other guy did. Here is my favorite:

If we are disturbed, there is usually something wrong with us.

No fair! But true–and ultimately freeing when we accept it.

Early in recovery, I was hesitant to take any responsibility in situations where I felt troubled by another person’s behavior. I found myself exclaiming “he started it” to myself as I had in childhood. I resented the idea of shouldering any blame for someone else’s irritating or infuriating actions.

Then I realized that looking for my part in situations that trouble me is not about blaming anyone, including myself. In recovery we focus on solving problems, rather than simply attempting to mute or ignore them with drinking or drugs. Since it is also a tenet of sobriety that we are powerless over other people, it follows that solving a problem is about adjusting our own behavior or perspective rather than trying to change someone else (or get Mom or Dad to do it).

Yes, we can always say “ouch” if someone hurts us. We can also request a behavior change from another person. But beyond that we must look to taking care of ourselves in a difficult situation with our own attitudes and actions. Why? It’s pretty simple. Trying to change someone else doesn’t work.

Maybe we need to accept something. Maybe we need to walk away from a toxic situation or person. Maybe we need to look for human connection or help elsewhere.

Calling on our Higher Power, a spiritual entity of our own definition, is also useful when we are dealing with troubling interactions. Praying for clarity, strength or a new intuitive solution can help a great deal.

I have discovered that one of the best antidotes to finger pointing is saying the Serenity Prayer, which is often recited at the end of recovery meetings. When I meditate on this wise incantation, I recognize that it offers me the choice of acceptance or courageous action, two alternatives that can help me get through any situation without playing the blame game:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can.

And the wisdom to know the difference.

P P and T

Yesterday afternoon, as I traveled by taxi and train to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration, I was imagining a sequel to the film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” which, as you probably know, depicts a tragicomic trip to Turkey Day.

My movie would be called “People, Places and Things,” a holiday fable whose moral would be a recovery saying I recited over and over again as I journeyed from Washington DC to New York City and checked into a hotel:

”I have no control over people, places and things.”

I whispered those words to myself on the Quiet Car of the Acela train when the folks across from me continued their drunken shouting even after I had pointed out that talking was verboten. And repeated them in despair when, having exited the train and pushed my way to the taxi stand, I realized that my laptop was still aboard the Acela and heading to Boston.

I mumbled them despondently in the back of a taxi stalled in traffic because of streets blocked off to make space for the ginormous balloons of the Macy’s Parade.

I recited them through tears of frustration after quarreling with a hotel manager who had booked me in a space too small to accommodate both me and my adult son who will be coming from Vermont today to join the gathering.

”Sir, you put me in a room with only one bed but I reserved a pull-out couch.”

”We have no record of that request, ma’am.”

“I specifically asked for a pull-out. My son is a grown-up. We don’t share a bed.”

”You should have double-checked the confirmation email we sent you.”

”No one told me to check the email. I trusted you.”

”I’m sorry, Ma’am,  but we are fully booked. All the rooms with sleeper sofas are taken. Here is a voucher for a free breakfast tomorrow.”

And I am chanting them today as I eat the free kale frittata in my room-for-one, having just spoken to my son about returning to Vermont after dinner.

Recovery is all about relinquishing our need to control. It’s about accepting the things we cannot change and handing things over to our Higher Power. We are taught to “let go and let God” and “wear life like a loose garment.” If we don’t loosen our grip, frustration and resentment are likely to lead us back to addiction.

Letting go brings us tremendous relief from unhappiness but it is difficult to master, especially during the holiday season when we feel pressure to have an insane amount of fun and make everything turn out perfectly. At the same time, the chaos that ensues when millions of people are traveling, shopping, eating and trying to be perfect, pretty much guarantees that our attempts to have our way will fail.

There is, however, a miraculous thing that happens if we give up trying to change the things we can’t. The sweet and reasonable side of life shows up all on its own to help us out.

For instance:

After I stopped sobbing in my hotel room and decided to check my email, I discovered that my laptop had been found on the train and would be returned to me via FedEx.

When I decided to not sulk in my room last night and went ahead with holiday plans, I had a lovely time with my relatives and a magical encounter with my sister’s adorable Tibetan spaniel.

Walking back to my hotel after socializing, I caught sight of one of the balloons that had stalled the traffic: a magnificent white goose with a golden beak. It was delightful.

And today I convinced my son to take the train back to New England rather than slog sleepily through traffic and weather in his Subaru.

People. Places. Things.

They are wonderful.

As long as we don’t try to control them.

Have a great Thanksgiving, dear readers, and thank you for letting me share!

Street Music

Recently, as I related in a previous post, my recovery fellowship lost a young and very beautiful friend to suicide. At a memorial in honor of our lovely acquaintance, several people shared about how difficult it is for individuals who are afflicted with severe mental illness to summon the strength to keep living. Every day is a struggle to hold onto faith and courage,  to show up for loved ones, to not look for a way out. Our friend was incredibly courageous, it was noted again and again, and she kept going as long as she could, until she simply could no longer find the strength to walk another step.

I do not want to compare my relatively minor trials to my late friend’s agonizing hallucinations and despair, but I do know that many people, including me, suffer occasionally from the feeling that getting through the day requires a superhuman quantity of courage and effort. To be honest, and I feel ashamed to admit it, there have been a handful of days when I have considered the possibility of ending my own life because I did not know how to banish a sense of suffocating darkness. So far I have managed to not conceive of an escape plan. I have found resilience. I have rebounded. I have faith that with the help of my Higher Power I can keep finding my way back to a bright and serene place.

Sometimes, however, I need powerful encouragement to get back on my feet. Luckily, there is a very strong piece of recovery wisdom that has helped me hold onto hope. I carry it with me everywhere, I’ve written about it a couple of times, and sometimes I clutch onto it fiercely. I definitely think it has saved my life.

Don’t quit before the miracle.

When I first heard this beautiful proverb, I thought it was telling me to hang in with my recovery way of life because at some point along the road something marvelous and exceptional was going to happen. An amazing bit of luck would land in my lap: an extraordinary life partner, a small fortune, a creative opportunity that would brighten and broaden my world.

Over time, however, I have stopped expecting the pots of gold and grails and other epic dreams to come true. Instead I have become aware of the small miracles that appear in my life each day and inspire me to keep going. All I have to do is summon the energy to hoist myself out of my despair, or maybe it’s just ennui, long enough to take a look around and open my heart to everyday magic, and it never fails to show up:

For example:

The magic of running into an old friend.

The magic of a beautiful break in the clouds or a fresh breeze after a storm.

The magic of street musicians or a sweet song that comes on the radio.

The magic of a loving encounter with another human being.

The magic of receiving a real card or letter.

The magic of animals and babies spotted on a walk.

The magic of laughter and silliness.

The magic of pain or sadness ending.

To not quit before the miracle is to carry on each day with my ordinary endeavors, while holding onto the faith that bright and shiny moments will occur and remaining open to the luminous energy they bestow.

I am certain that my beautiful friend, in her 40 years of living, experienced episodes of spontaneous joy and everyday miracles. There were many happy stories at her memorial–about fishing trips with her Dad, her passion for drawing and hearty restaurant dinners, and her loving attachments to family and friends. Surely these brighter interludes offered respite from  her pain.

I pray that I will hold onto my faith in miracles.

I wish the same for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutty Noel

I wasn’t planning on writing about the holidays quite yet.  But then I went out to do errands today and everywhere I went I saw people getting their jolly on. Folks were up on ladders hanging lights and wreaths. I heard strains of holiday music in a department store and came upon a jaw-dropping 25-foot Christmas tree and enormous gilded throne for Santa in the lobby of my local shopping mall.

Clearly Noel has arrived early this year–so I might as well get in the spirit of things and offer a post in honor of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Some recovery sayings are so helpful that you want to give them a big Santa Claus hug. Here’s one that never fails to rescue me during the holidays. I hope it will be helpful to you, too, as the days get shorter, the food gets richer, the sentimental soundtrack gets louder and psychological triggers start popping up everywhere:

All people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill and frequently wrong.

Those brilliant words, authored by AA co-founder Bill W., brought me a tremendous sense of relief and gratitude when I first read them in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

Keeping them in mind can help me survive any trying encounter with loved ones–and challenges are plentiful during the holidays, when normal levels of mental illness and irrationality ramp up to the stratosphere.

I am speaking primarily of my own behavior, which can be counted on each late November through early January to regress to childhood, complete with frequent weeping, sugar highs, fairy tale expectations and loud carol singing.

And other people? Well I have noticed that they, too, can be moodier and perceptually challenged as the year comes to a close.

It was all much much worse when I was drinking. No surface was left undecorated, no song was unsung (especially those in a minor key late at night when I was alone and morose) no cocktail untried, no punches pulled with my equally inebriated significant other. Holiday fights were epic.

Now, armed with sober wisdom, and the gift of sobriety itself, I find I try to give others the space they need at Yuletide, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to engage in nostalgic craziness and regression. I try to remind myself that at holiday parties many of the people around me are  emotionally unhinged and drunk off their asses and I need to hold onto my sense of humor and perspective when dealing with them.

And I try to practice the same tolerance and kindness with myself and remember that, drunk or not, I am capable of lapsing into mental malaise and perceptual distortion, especially when lights are twinkling, sentimental music is playing, boards are groaning under trays of sweet and fatty food,  the air is thick with spicy smells  and my mind is overflowing with sentiment and memories.

I am grateful that my sober sayings are there to help me 24/7/365.  Let It Snow and Hang Up the Mistletoe. I feel ready for the miracles and the madness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responsible

A lot of sayings in recovery underscore the importance of self-care.

I am not talking about getting a pedicure.

Sober self-care is serious business. It’s about taking responsibility at every level for our own wellbeing and, especially, refraining from asking our friends and family to do for us what we can do for ourselves.

A friend of mine in recovery thought up a perfect expression for this type of self-sufficiency:

It’s an inside job.

A sober “inside job” means  using our own inner resources to solve our problems rather than dumping them in the laps of our friends and family. Taking ownership of our feelings, our actions and our own care is part of becoming reliable people who don’t prey on others.

This doesn’t mean never sharing our problems, or never asking for support. I am not talking about retreating into stoic loneliness. The “inside job” perspective on our self-care is all about being responsible and reasonable–as opposed to self-centered and all-about-me needy–when it comes to what we ask of ourselves and others.

When we take the “inside job” approach, we are doing the opposite of what we did as addicts. Alcoholics, drug abusers, gamblers, and other addicts not in recovery will do anything to sustain our deplorable way of life. That means using and abusing others, and insisting that they take care of us emotionally, physically and financially. We expect them to finance our vices, heal our self-inflicted wounds, clean up our messes and really do anything that allows us to pursue and deny our addiction, and we are shamefully selfish and insensitive about how much our demands hurt our loved ones.

And when it comes to the needs and wants of others? We are blinded and deafened by our self-centeredness. We could give a rodent’s derriere.

I have been on both sides of this behavior. In my drinking days I manipulated and took advantage of numerous loved ones in my efforts to drink, deny and not suffer any consequences. Thinking about the folks I leaned on financially or dumped on emotionally, I feel a terrible sense of shame.  I still have amends to make to some people for my behavior during my brief but intense love affair with fine wine.

I also need to recover from the addicts who have attempted to use, abuse, manipulate and prey upon me in order to sustain their addiction, their selfishness and their denial. I still need to get better at setting boundaries and turning away the active addicts I meet along my recovery journey who want to drag me into their self-centered craziness.

The ultimate nuttiness comes when I become trapped in a relationship with an addict, and then in my distress lean too heavily on other friends and ask for too much support rather than drawing boundaries or ending the relationship. In this situation I am spreading toxicity when I should be containing it. I am asking others to do for me what I must do for myself.

Self-care is essential to maintaining a sober state of mind and body. We don’t need to do it perfectly but we need to keep at it one inside job at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Me

Some of our wisest recovery sayings are not very pretty. Here is one that grates on me–but the message it carries is critical to my sobriety:

I am just another bozo on the bus.

The message is humility.

The search to be special, to be uniquely appreciated and loved, in our overpopulated world is risky at best and tragic at worst.  Despite our culture of approval-seeking, in which millions of us chase after clicks and “likes” and emojis every day with our tweets and our posts and our endless selfies, it seems doubtful that most of us actually find the gratification we hope for. Are not other people usually too busy posting, tweeting or uploading their own selfies to take the time to make us feel special?

Moreover, an era of oligarchs and one-percenters, in which more and more of us are being forced to fight over a smaller and smaller share of wealth and opportunity, is not a great moment in which to strive for uniqueness and affirmation.

And what happens when we fail in our quest to feel like one in 7.7 billion? Those of us who are vulnerable to addiction might relapse in response to the pain of recognizing our own ordinariness.

But humility–now there’s an idea just right for our times. And an idea that keeps us sober. I don’t mean to disparage the heroic legions who are fighting for economic and social justice. You have my total support and admiration. Humility works no matter what.

Humility, and its sister, gratitude: Those are the states of mind to strive for on a planet we share with billions of others. If we practice acceptance as well, nothing can steal our serenity.

When we are humble, grateful and accepting, getting one “like” or one heart emoji is wonderful, and when we get no response at all, we can handle it. There is a lot to be said for lowering ourselves and our expectations: low is not necessarily a bad thing.

One of the lessons we learn in recovery is that we are more than ego and life can be more than gratification of desires. The need to be special or unique is not so much a quest for real love and companionship as it is a way to bolster our pride and vanity. Recovery encourages us to do better. We learn that it is actually rejuvenating, a relief, really, to stretch ourselves beyond our self-preoccupation and self-pity and appreciate other people and the larger world. We discover that the love and fellowship of a few true friends, relationships in which we give as well as take, apologize for our wrongs and practice tolerance of imperfections in ourselves and others, are far more precious than feeling singular. We begin to see that the need to set our unique selves above or apart from others, even if encouraged by success or legions of internet followers, tends to leave us lonely.

Maybe instead of recoiling from the idea, indeed the reality, of being one of billions on the human journey, we should look around this bus we are on, start a conversation with our fellow passengers, listen to what they have to say, do what we can to offer them comfort and friendship, and accept their gifts of love. Instead of trying to stand out and dominate and be special all the time, what if we found joy and discovery, love and serenity in  the experience of being one of many.

There’s a place on this post where you can click “like” if you agree with what I’m saying or enjoy my words. There’s a link that you can click to find out more about my new book. If I am following my own advice, and the wisdom I have discovered in  recovery, I will be very thankful for your  “like”  and  express my deepest gratitude and joy if you acquire and read my book. I like love and attention and a little success as much as the next bozo on the bus.

Then I will remind myself that it is not feeling special but being humble that keeps me sober–and being sober allows me to have a life.

About the author: Mary Ellin Lerner is a journalist and blogger who lives in Washington, DC. Her new collection of essays, “Sober Heart: Reflections on Life and Love in Recovery” can be purchased at:

https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781624292163

 

 

 

 

 

Revelation

While I strive to include a wide variety of sober wisdom in this blog, I find that certain proverbs crop up more often than others in my recovery journey.

For instance:

Rejection is God’s protection.

I didn’t always love those words but  in recent days I have come to appreciate them.  Truth be told, I’ve been something of a rejection junkie my whole life–especially when it comes to romantic relationships. Cads and creeps, bounders and blighters and every other type of man behaving badly have been my specialty. I wish I could believe that my proclivity for rogues is a rarity but I know (and I bet you know, too) that it isn’t.  A lot of us gals seem to gravitate toward loutish lovers.

Usually the reasons are complex and buried in childhood. In my case, or so therapists have told me, my psyche twisted a lonely youth (with lovely but busy parents who entrusted others with my care) into the unfortunate conviction that the only people worth loving were unavailable. Men who offered crumbs of affection, were only interested in me sexually, or were abusive, did not strike me as undesirable.  No alarms sounded in their company. I was used to longing, loneliness and emotional pain.

Before I found recovery and its message of self-care, including the proverb about rejection and protection, I did not feel that being rejected was the work of a loving Higher Power. To the contrary, I suffered through each failed relationship,  believing that this was simply the way life and love worked. I had no idea that, having protected me with rejection, God was encouraging me to find a kinder gentler version of love. It didn’t occur to me that my Higher Power was ending my relationships so I could find something better.

Even after several years in recovery, I still found myself chasing after reluctant suitors while ignoring any opportunity for a positive connection.

As I evolved from a beautiful and sexually alluring young woman into a Woman of A Certain Age whose youthful spark, while not completely extinguished, was appropriately diminished, I discovered  that my love life had vanished.

I blamed the death of romance on various culprits having to do with age and recovery. Maybe I was too sober. Maybe I needed those glasses of wine to find love. Maybe men lost interest in you when you hit 60. Maybe I was simply too old.

But then I kept seeing and hearing things that contradicted my theories. I learned that a sober woman I knew was engaged at 74 and another one in her 60s. There was a friend’s mother on Facebook in her 80s snuggling with a boyfriend on a couch, another friend in her 70s posting pictures of her new man.  And I could not deny that in my early 60s I had plenty of “likes” and “views” on the dating website to which I had reluctantly subscribed.

It seemed hard to hold onto the theory that my problem with finding love was age or sobriety.

And then, on a recent afternoon, as I walked into Starbucks for  my daily infusion of sugar and caffeine,  I saw something that inspired a powerful epiphany about my predicament.

A woman who looked to be in her early fifties and a gentleman of a similar age were in front of me in line and he was groping her like an amorous drunk. First he planted a kiss on her neck. Then, standing behind her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and bumped his groin suggestively into her backside. This was followed by more neck kissing and more grinding from behind while she grinned with what appeared to be a mix of pleasure and embarrassment.

I felt a little embarrassed for her as well, and annoyed at their antics. I wanted to tell them to get a room. But I could not deny that among my feelings were pangs of envy.

And I realized what was getting to me.  The man had all the earmarks of a cad and a bounder. His moves were rough and domineering. His face had an unpleasant sneer. He reminded me of my last bad relationship. And I longed to be in her place.

Then it dawned on me (and this is really twisted):

The trouble with my love life wasn’t that I had gotten too old for romance and relationships altogether but that I could no longer attract those scoundrels who appealed to me the most. As I passed 60, I had aged out of employing my looks and sexuality to get crumbs of attention from womanizers and users, the knavish men who had attracted me all my life.

The demise of my troubled love life with age was the ultimate expression of rejection as God’s protection. But I was heartbroken. I didn’t want the predators to prey on others. I was screaming “Come back. Don’t Go!”  to my disappearing ne’er-do-wells just as surely as I had silently said those words to my preoccupied parents decades ago.

If God was protecting me from something bad in order to help me find something better, I had no idea where to go or what to do.

And I still don’t, although I am coming to believe that kinder and gentler love is at least a possibility. The only prince in my romantic history was introduced to me by my mother who at 93 is still a beautiful and vibrant woman and brilliant with email and Google. Maybe she can help again.

In the meantime, thank goodness recovery sayings, like apps, are plentiful and cover all contingencies. And there is one that comforts me now:

More will be revealed.

I look forward to whatever (and whomever) comes next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Gratitude

Thank you so much for visiting. I am happy to say that this blog has had more than 1,000 hits in its brief existence, and I appreciate my readers more than I can say. I am also very grateful for the “like” and “love” emojis you have posted on Facebook in response to my essays, and the appreciative comments when something amused or touched you.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Recently, I published a book, Sober Heart: Reflections on. Life and Love in Recovery, which is a collection of essays very similar to the ones you have been enjoying here. It’s all about my recovery journey, The perspective is hopeful and good-humored and I share many lessons I have learned from my own missteps and foibles.

I think you would really enjoy reading it. And I hope you will click on the following link and order your very own copy today. Or consider giving it to a friend as a holiday present:

https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781624292163

If you are based in the Washington, DC, area, you can save on shipping and pick up a copy at Politics and Prose, a delightful bookstore and cafe (you might already know and love it!) located at 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, near the corner of Connecticut Ave. and Nebraska.

Thank you so much for your support.

Your grateful friend and recovery blogger,

Mary Ellin Lerner