Every couple of weeks I find myself leaving my safe and sober haven. When I do I have to remember that I am now integrating with the public. Other people I don’t know. I’m so used to being in my recovery life bubble that sometimes being out “there” really tests my patience. I do find the longer I’m sober the easier it gets, but it still leaves me walking away scratching my head saying to myself, “Why can’t everyone just be normal, like me?” Bah! Who am I kidding? It’s really all about acceptance and today I get to live my life by principles and the example of others. And I try, I really really do. It always seems to go back to Step 11; “It’s a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.” It’s not them, it’s me.
I’m reading a book that my sponsor is reading, “12 Smart Things to do When the Booze and Drugs are Gone” by Allen Berger, Ph.D., This book is all about Emotional Sobriety and how we can live with peace in the world about us and how we can show up differently in all our relationships. Which, as we all know, is so much easier said than done. I’m already well into the third chapter and the three main areas of focus that he touched on that have helped me already:
It’s easy to say all those things are looped up into the 12 Steps of the program but reading how he defined it and how it manifests into my every day life was easier to digest than hearing about it at a meeting. I’m quite ADD, and reading hasn’t been my go to lately. Being able to sit still and read anything besides US Magazine or my morning prayer text is quite the accomplishment today. I’ve been really trying to live by those three rules lately, and I’ve found that my days with others; husband, friends and fellows have been more peaceful and easier. Initially, I always want to react in a frustrated manner and then point the finger. But it’s like that adage, “Do you want to be Right or Happy?”
Two weekends ago my husband and I took a spur of the moment trip to Palm Springs. We had tickets for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, and decided it’d be great to end our summer with a trip. This was the first time I visited the Tramway with my Husband. We are both avid hikers and enjoy any kind of exploratory adventures that come our way. Personally, I can mesh well with public outings. My husband, not as much. Both of us don’t like crowds or being on a tour with other people. Basically anything where we have to be around others that we don’t know. That right there is a pretty selfish statement, but we like to be with our kind mostly. I knew the tram ride up Mt. San Jacinto would be exciting, and that there would be 35 or more people shoe horned into the gondola. Liam would be tested more than me. When we entered the tram, after waiting 45 minutes, we both gravitated toward the windows. As soon as we started moving, the floor below us was slowly turning clockwise, which meant you couldn’t hold on to the arm bar in front of us. People were oohing and ahhing and pushing into each other as we jiggled and swayed up the hill. I could see my husband getting annoyed, so I just kept cool and carried on like the tourist I was. Don’t react. Pause. The same kind of experience happened when we took the tram down off the mountain. Our fellow tourists, and who can I just say this – were non-American tourists (about 80%) who weren’t even outfitted to walk and hike around a mountain, were oohing and ahhing louder. We had an outfitted tourist with the big backpack and camera dangling from his neck who was sandwiched up to us and was inadvertently pushing us into the glass wall of the tram, he was giggling. Don’t take it personally. We didn’t find it funny. Acceptance.
After our tram ride and hiking excursion, we checked into our boutique hotel with its 10 guest rooms and small pool area. There wasn’t much left to choose from that didn’t kill the bank, so we found a 3-star hotel, The Stardust. I read the reviews and it seemed more than appropriate for one night. It was perfect for what we needed. Not a long check in line, no complicated and tedious walk to our room, not a big pool with tons of kids and families splashing about and the privacy we had was great. We enjoyed it and while it wasn’t a Kimpton or Hyatt, we would possibly stay there again. We had a view of the mountains, and the location was right near downtown. I really have nothing to moan about here as we saw the other guests at the hotel but our interactions were minimal.
How would the tram ride or the small hotel experience have been if we were with 20 of our closest friends? Completely different because we are all like-minded. I know that we are all just a small part of the universe and our communities and I’m usually more than happy with just melting in and living harmoniously with my fellow man, in my bubble of where I live. However, not everyone is aware of their surroundings and being around others. I must be in acceptance of everyone, not just my tribe. I have to put away my annoyed sneers and eye rolls and just BE. This is what they call living in harmony with our neighbors. I’m just glad I have more awareness today than I used to have. I am able able to manage with my half smiles and hand gestures of “its ok, thanks”. Real progress for this resting bitch face queen.