Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Drinking a cup of sorrow

I saw grief drinking a cup
of sorrow and called out,
"It tastes sweet, does it not?"
"You've caught me," grief answered,
"and you've ruined my business.
How can I sell sorrow,
when you know it's a blessing.?"
Rumi

There were newcomers at the meeting tonight. The topic was about the blessings that are in our lives.  It's hard to see the blessings through a veil of tears.  I know that the newcomers are wondering how sorrow could ever be a blessing. But eventually, after some time spent in meetings, listening so hard and hanging on every word, the message begins to sink in: I am blessed to have felt such sorrow because without the pain, I would not have found the light.

The sorrow that used to paralyse me and knot my stomach in anxiety has given way to so much gratitude.  And the true gratitude that takes some years to feel is that the sorrow which brought me here has become a blessing.  

I used to wonder how it would be possible to feel gratitude for that which hurt me.  Alcoholism does hurt, and it takes many prisoners.  I was one of the lucky ones who eventually became aware that there was a way to break free of the chains of the disease.  I realize that my years of being locked in by self-doubt, fear, anger, and resentment taught me about resiliency, hope, and love.  Loving an alcoholic is the great enigma because what I loved so dearly was what also hurt me.  

So my blessing today is that the sorrow brought me into recovery,  and when that enlightenment came into my life,  the darkness moved further away.  

19 comments:

  1. i understand this, for me it is the "gift of desperation" that saved me and showed me the new way of life.

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  2. What a wonderful post! What brings me down eventually is what leads to a deeper discovery. I don't think I got into Alanon feeling like I was on top of the world, I had no choice. I was in deep despair and hopelessness.
    My life today is a richer, fuller, deeper experience because of the program. One day at a time.

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  3. it is something to be grateful for...pain & sorrow can bring people together and shape lives...

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  4. I've always had an affinity for life's shadow side, as Jung might speak of it. I believe there are some people in the world who either don't understand this, or do not accept it...

    I am fortunate today to have a partner who understands the dark corners of life, and who accepts me with all my flaws, as I accept him with his.

    Sometimes I wish my son didn't have to confront the sorrow of the world. I try to remember it's not healthy for kids to pretend that the world is all fun and games...

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  5. keep talking about those blessings Syd, that gives hope to the newcomer.. the overwhelming feeling of hope is what i recall most about early sobriety

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  6. Stay with the feelings- (which I never did-) until the day I realized
    Joy is a hairs-breath away from grief,sorrow.

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  7. Someone recently told me that I had learned how to suffer in recovery. It's true, and horrible and wonderful.

    Where oh where did you get that photo?!

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  8. Sort of like how would we know which way was up if we didn't find ourselves on the bottom now and then?

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  9. This is a great realization to have, Syd.

    Love,

    SB

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  10. Acceptance lead me to a new understanding which lead me to willingness to work the program and then to my moment of clarity that freed me from my pain. If there is more suffering to come I say bring it on as I am prepared. I will turn it's power into hope and use it to share the path to serenity

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  11. I finally got it in 2008 when hubby's manic episode exploded our little life and he was hospitalized. The things that changed so drastically in my life during that time and for over a year after that was the saddest time in my life. But I can say today that it was also the best of my life because of my personal growth and my appreciation of my life today. The fact that I made a choice to learn how to get healthy and take care of myself and not live in fear of my hubby's bipolar disorder brought me out of despair. Changing focus changes everything doesn't it? I am so happy for you that you found recovery.

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  12. I am not there yet. I hate this path. I hate it. I feel ripped off. cheated. robbed. I am angry that I poured my life into being the best mother I could possibly be. I loved that kid. I gave him a good and healthy home. Every decision I made was made with his best interest in mind. This is not the fruit of my labor. I don't know what to do with this anger. Yes, I am attending al-anon. I sit, I listen, I cry. Maybe something will sink in one day. I cannot imagine getting past this grief. It feels like a rude and unwelcomed guest has taken up residence in my soul.
    I know I will eventually get a handle on it. God, I don't know how, but I know I will.

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  13. I know what you mean. I often say what Clean and Crazy said, that I was blessed with the gift of desperation.

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  14. I've heard at meetings "I am grateful to be an alcoholic". At first that was very hard for me to understand. But now I'm beginning to see that pain heightens joy...

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  15. It's the overwhelming emotional force of pain and sorrow that compels me to admit defeat and look beyond myself for an answer. Pain is the touchstone of all spiritual progress - emotional turmoil had to come before reaching genuine serenity.
    My most valuable life lessons have been discovered as a result of reflecting on the circumstances creating the distress. Seeking God's insight and inspiration helps me to uncover my faulty thinking and improves my spiritual condition. For this I am genuinely grateful and most richly blessed.

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  16. lovely post :) so true, we all need that pain to get where we are :)

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  17. wow, so true. love rumi. such incredible wisdom. thank you.

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