December 9

LOVE MONTH: DAY 9: “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” — Erich Fromm

We are the blessed people I know. We can have a daily reprieve from the hell that is addiction. We are blessed to have the wherewithal to leave it in our past and move forward into life that is free of those horrible chains.

The man who wrote this quote is one of my all-time biggest heroes. He understood the horrors of being incarcerated in a camp during WWII. He wrote deeply about the love he experienced to offset the things people were forced to do and see in those conditions.

We all experience the full range of human emotion. As I sit and write this, the smoke is billowing past my windows and filling my home. Today I have electricity to use fans to keep it out of my house. But the sky has not cleared at all since Monday. I feel like it will never end.

Ash and the smell of burning wake me up in the morning. I am blessed to hear the helicopters just after I smell the smoke. I am amazed that sleep happens, but I consider that the amount of acceptance I have learned to practice. I am blessed to have the bed and pillow and blankets and roof. I also know I will be awakened again, as I have on two previous nights, if we are being escorted out again. I am not leaving unless my life is in danger. I can do things here that feel good and important. We have a neighborhood gang. We are helping each other and banding together to do things for those who have lost it all.

When we sit with these things that life gives us, we learn to love the things that are left. I cannot replace anyone’s stuff, but I can ease their heart and be in the moment with them.

I learned ALL of this from you guys. And from people like Dr. Fromm, who witnessed great acts of kindness and love in the middle of Hell. He wrote about them, so I would have a blueprint for how I would act in tough times. I want to follow that blueprint to the best of my ability. It is the lesson I want to share and hand down and walk.

So many wonderful acts of kindness and love are shown in these days. We forget our petty bullshit and get on with the job of being human and letting our hearts break open when we witness the sadness of life. We gather and hug and inspire each other and then we go do it again.

We have survived many kinds of hell. All of us. And the gift is that we can use that strength to survive other kinds of hell. We must use it, or it will have been for nothing. Dr. Fromm taught the deep richness of love from the place of extreme Hell. This is just a fire. It is big and scary and powerful and taking way too much from the place I love…this beautiful city and this beautiful land.

But I also know what happens. The earth will heal, our hearts will heal, and we will be blessed to have found respite when it comes. Meanwhile, we will use our broken, sad hearts to help others to heal, because there is always something I can do. There are animals and firemen and refugees who need to eat and have warmth and shelter. I can do something about that.

You guys taught me to share my experience, strength and hope. I got through so much to get to you. And now I get to show others what Step 12 is REALLY all about. Not just talking about it in a meeting, but going out where things are tough and being tougher than life, because I have had that spiritual awakening and continue to find God in the people whose eyes I can look into and hug. And we can keep going, no matter how I feel or what I think.

My challenge today is to go grocery shopping. I filled my refrigerator on Monday and lost most of that. I am still not trusting enough to do it again. This, my dear friends, is a quality problem. Six months ago, that would have been devastating financially. I am in okay condition today to do it. Just not quite ready to trust that this damn fire is out enough that electricity will last. I have read that part of Step 3 in the book about 100 times this week. Reliance on that Power. It is there, but still not for electricity… hahaha!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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