February 22


“Hold fast to dreams,

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird,

That cannot fly.” ― Langston Hughes

We all have dreams that have been wiped out in our addiction. Possibly into recovery as well. I believe we are given these dreams to carry into this life. Sometimes they are fulfilled and sometimes we are not going to achieve them.

Many of us have a challenging time differentiating between wants and dreams. Dreams are carried in the heart. Wants are ego-based demands we make of the world around us. Dreams are what we are doing to fulfill the wants of life.

We dream of being a teacher or a poet. We dream of living in a certain fashion and having certain aspects of life made manifest. I never dreamed of being a mother; it did not appeal to me. Most of my friends wanted that, because it was the cultural norm of that time. Their reality around it did not fit in with what they thought it was supposed to be. I only have a couple of friends who really, really loved being mothers.

Their dreams included other life situations. Mine included a great deal of travel that would not have been possible if I had become a mother at an early age. I am so grateful for the travel that I got to experience. It enriched me and gave me a different set of values that I did not get from my culture as a child or young adult.

The values I was given were not pertinent to me. I always knew that. I was not destined to finish school and go to college or get married and “settle down” with a family. I always knew that, but did not know what the alternatives were.

They were, it seems, for me to travel around the world and enjoy many different experiences of life without any of the standard paths others were following. It was not always as amazing as people believed, but it was different. I am grateful.

Then, into recovery. Again, I did not follow the path so many of my peers did. I did not get married and start a family then either. Nor did I stick with a career for the rest of my life. I have done the same kind of work for the most part, but I have moved and travelled a great deal then, as well. I have lived in 27 different homes since I got sober in 1986. That is a lot of moving around. I have dreams that have been fulfilled and then were gone.

When I moved back to CA in 1997, I told my then sponsor that I knew it was time for me to get married and open up that part of my life. Within a year, exactly to the day, of moving back, my future husband was moving in with me. She was amazed, since I really had not been in many relationships or even expressed a desire to be in one. I dated a bit and had a few boyfriends, but nothing really serious or long-term.  Then I did. And it was the dream, even bigger than the dream I had.

And so it is. I had always dreamed of getting an education to have the credentials I wanted. I eventually did that, too. After the death of my husband. Then the life at the beach was mine again. And still is, and probably always will be. The ocean calls my spirit. Whether it is the Irishness I have or what, I don’t know. It is always my home. There are few dreams left in me now. I am content. And fulfilled. And happy. I only hope to grow deeper into my spirit today.

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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