Expect delays. Literally, that was on the construction sign flashing at me on my way into work this morning. I think it’s pretty darn funny that it takes a flashing light and a sign on the side of the road to make me think. I mulled around with the whole idea of expecting delays for some time. How can I expect them? When will they happen? What are the circumstances? Why are they happening in the first place? Sigh. Easy girl. Breathe.
Today I am grateful for the sign in the road. I mean, how often to we get a literal reminder that our days are just not going to go as we planned? As an alcoholic, I like to be in control. I want to have my day go as I want it to not as My Creator will have it. But today, I get a reminder that in life: I will have curve balls (see yesterday’s post) thrown at me. I have choices today. I can choose to get all riled up, or I can pause, pray and proceed. If I know ahead of time that there will be delays in life, that what happens is on God’s time and not my time, my day goes easier. I am not in charge of the universe.
I also have to expect delays in my sobriety. I am not going to have the calm as the others in my group do. Many of them have over a decade of sobriety. But they are here for me to show me how to accept the delays, push through the setbacks, and embrace the diversity in our lives. Through their example I can learn how to do my old behavior differently today.
Sometimes, my day is smooth. I rarely think about alcohol and I am focused. Those days are rare. Most days, I think about alcohol, my disease, my behaviors, my character defects, my speech patterns, my journey several times a day. I use pre-November 7, 2013 as my barometer. Yes. I have had delays without a doubt. But, I have also been in the express lane on a few, delicious moments.
Still other days, I am up to my elbows in compromise and thereby, for this alcoholic, potential conflict whether it be with my four kids, my husband, my students,and/or my coworkers, and I realize a yield sign would be rather handy. “Slow down!” it tells me, “Merge with others! Share the road!” Yes, compromise. Negate my bullheaded approach that I am always right, that my way is the only and right way to do things. Yield to others. I am impressed how kind and caring others in this world are when I -without giving up my one and only rule (No Drinking Today)- am flexible and think about their perspective. I feel like I’ve had lasik surgery and my eyes are truly seeing the world for what it is. It’s amazing to me.
Still other days the road narrows and I have to fit myself in a situation that I don’t think will work for me. But the options are slim. So, I slow down, let others in before me, and carefully make my way. I stay vigilant like there’s a photo enforced speed limit. Someone’s watching me…my Higher Power is for sure. And He will guide me on this uncomfortable road until the danger is over, the rough patch and I can branch out again. He protects me.
One of the best lessons I have had is road closed. For me, the road closed is drinking. There is no detour, no alternative route, no parallel bridge. That was the one and only route for me for a long time. However, the funding ran out and just in time. The road will not be repaired. Only a new road can be built in its place. And it’s long and windy, with a few potholes and a rough shoulder in areas. But it’s marked with bright yellow caution stripes on either side. Those are my areas to watch: slacking on meetings, not praying, not helping a fellow alcoholic, not reflecting, not getting out of my head, drinking. All of those areas will cause me to wreck on the side of the road.
So today, I have to do as I must: Expect delays. Yield. One Lane. Road Closed.