I shared my Al-Anon story twice in August: at my home group and at a meeting I helped start and regularly attend. At that meeting, anniversaries are celebrated at the end of the month. There were three of us who were celebrating anniversaries in August, but I was the only one who showed up. I had hoped to not have to talk again for 45 minutes, but as usually occurs, the words came out in something that appeared to resonate with others.
A group of us went to dinner afterwards which is usually fun. This time a lady came who has generally been fairly quiet in meetings, often sitting and crying about her daughter who is an addict. She has identified herself as a therapist and talked and talked during the whole meal. It's interesting how people can have an entirely different persona outside of meetings. Perhaps manic talking is a mask for the terror that she feels?
I've joined a book study group that meets before the regular Al-Anon meeting. We are reading a book called Discovering Choices. It's about relationships, a topic that interests me because I have basically had difficulty with knowing how to have a healthy relationship for most of my life.
And the book is about having healthy relationships and not the co-dependent kind which is filled with mistrust, fear and anger. Anyway, the book states that "Wherever we may be in our search for healthy relationships, we
have to begin where we are today. It may be painful to think how much better our relationships could have—or should have—been. There’s no point in criticizing ourselves when we did the best we could with what we had. We can gain peace of mind by putting aside what we could or should have done and by accepting who and where we are right now." The book is generating a lot of good discussion in the group as each of us tries to look at present relationships without guilt and regret.
I have been approved as a Hospice volunteer and will start with photographing for a memory book of a lady who is dying. I don't know how I will feel, but somehow think that being a volunteer will be mutually beneficial. My wife thinks that I am too tender for this--that it will sadden me. I may be too tender. But I want to see what I feel and what I can learn from those who are facing their own imminent death. I will let you know how that goes.
Next week, I am going on the boat for three days. I am looking forward to getting away more than I can say. I have missed going out every week. It isn't the same to be on the boat at the marina. The view is magnificent of the city and the harbor, but I need the solitude that comes from casting off lines and heading to the "secret" island. I feel as if I have been holding my breath and am waiting to exhale upon arrival there. It is my tree house on the water--a place where I can wear as few clothes as possible and live a nomad's life for a few days. This winter, the voyage may become much longer as I plan to head down the coast to somewhere tropical. Lots of options at the moment. And I am savoring each and every one.