I went out into the garden in my pajamas again to take photos of tulips. The tulips I planted in the first weeks I lived in this house have bloomed. Again. Reliably. Faithfully. I have taken photos of them every year since then. This is the ninth year I have watched in wonder as they have bloomed.
But I notice that this year there are weeds in the photos. And dead leaves from last fall. And other things that would not have been in the photos from the past.
It is easy to conclude that I am now older and don't quite enjoy the labor of gardening like I once did. But I think the truth is slightly more complex than that.
When I moved into this house I made fast friends with the woman across the street. We became really good friends. It was a revelation to me because I have pretty much stuck with alcoholics since getting sober. My new friend was a gardener and a compulsive home improver. We spent hours talking about our gardens, and we spent hours in our gardens. Even when we were working separately in our gardens, we would call out to one another. We weren't really working alone. It was really great fun.
Several years ago, Mr. Right (number 4) came into her life and she married and moved away. And as women frequently do, she forgot our friendship completely. She will not even say hello when she comes back to the neighborhood - which she does frequently since she couldn't sell her house, but rented it to her daughter. I think I remind her of something she would rather forget. It is sad to me because I thought we were real friends.
Anyway, the gardening thing... I think I am not much of a gardener. But when I had a friend who was gardening, I had the encouragement I needed to actually want to garden, and like to garden. It wasn't a chore, but a pleasure.
And thus it is in Alcoholics Anonymous. When I have surrounded myself with people who have the same problem (alcoholism) and the same goal (sobriety), I have found that I love to be sober, and I love to do what it takes to get and stay that way.
Trying to stay sober on my own would be like trying to motivate myself to go out and pull those ugly weeds. I can hire someone to pull the weeds (which I think I will do), but I cannot hire someone to stay sober for me.
Thank God I have an entire fellowship I can avail myself of. I cannot do this by myself.
"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 59.