Updated: May 28
A great tool to stay sober is to simply take stock of the moment.
Photo by the Author
Here’s where I am right now:
I’m sitting at a picnic bench on the common area lawn right outside the door of our building in the co-op complex where we live in New York City. We’re in Queens, in a gorgeous spot.
It’s the most glorious day imaginable. It’s sunny with a temperature around 70 and a slight cool breeze in the air.
There’s a little group of the cutest 3- and 4-year-olds with a few parents, hanging out, playing, and reading.
About 15 feet to my right sits my wife. She brought out a lawn chair and a cool drink. She prefers to sit in the sun, while I prefer the shade. She’s reading, which is something she does every day, often for very long stretches.
It’s difficult to say how happy this makes me because one can only write the word love so many times in one story.
We have huge oak trees all around our complex. The tallest stands 80 to 100 feet tall.
I call these oak trees the Trees of Life. I’ve always been enamored of them.
But I gained a special connection to them 5 years ago as I was facing cancer surgery. I took walks in the late night/early morning, contemplating existence and matter and life and the cosmos and my place in it and wondered if I was destined to be here much longer.
The powerful trees became, in my mind, my friends and protectors.
They did well by me. 5 years out, I’m cancer-free. That’s part of this moment in my mind and heart.
Photo by the Author
In just over a month, I hope to be celebrating 34 years of living clean and sober.
I had a few moments of grace many years ago, and it’s led to decades of being in recovery, day by day.
I could write a gratitude list a mile long. If you see a story from me that says it’s a 74,397-minute read, that’ll be a tip-off that I actually did it, and published it.
I saw some sober friends last night for the first time in quite a while. Warmth, love, and appreciation of each other were expressed via hugs and smiles, and direct compliments. That’s a gift of sobriety, being able to tell people, in various ways, that you love them. And to be able to receive love and support instead of shrugging it off or taking it for granted gives a sense of communion that can’t be beaten.
We received a text this morning from one of our friends who unabashedly let us know how happy he was to see us.
I’ve been out of work since early March, dealing with a challenging case of Achilles tendinitis.
But I have job protection, and I speak to my manager to check in every so often.
And I got a call this week about going back to an old job, one that I love.
I went and saw the manager yesterday, and we plan to speak on Tuesday.
So, the moment holds possibilities. Maybe a change, maybe not. Having options is terrific.
My sisters and their spouses are together for the weekend in one of their homes.
We’ll all be getting together on Zoom to make art together. We’ll chat, show each other what we’re making, and offer ideas and feedback. Some of us will come up with excellent pieces, and others of us maybe not this time. Being together in a creative flow is a wonderful thing, no matter how the work turns out.
It’s another beautiful form of communion.
We have a plan to see my older sister soon when she comes to NYC. And my wife and I will be following that visit up with a getaway to the country in upstate New York. We booked our place in a beautiful area that we’re considering moving to.
Photo by the Author
All of this is terrific.
For now, I’ll acknowledge that there are also challenges, as always. As there always have been and always will be.
I just showed this piece to my wife, who has my back in life. As I said, she’s well-read, and she gives thoughtful and insightful feedback. Today, she said only that this is lovely. And she suggested I take a picture of one of the trees. I’m going to do that now, and then publish.
I hope you’re able to experience peace and serenity today, and every day.