A wonderful weekend of AA and Alanon speakers, meetings and workshops at the Convention (or Roundup, depending on what part of the country you're in) I was lucky enough to go to this weekend.
Much like a gust of wind to a becalmed sailboat, the Roundup was a true boost to my somewhat flagging spirits. If you've never been to one I urge you to go. The speakers generally have a great message, and the workshops provide special focus to things every person in recovery should be mindful of. This convention was especially warm and charming and full of energy, sobriety and affection, and I am deeply grateful I had the opportunity to attend and participate.
Something I thought about on the plane home (and I didn't get patted down by TSA at either end of my journey -- is it wrong to feel slightly rejected by that?):
So often, even in sobriety, it can be negative energy which prompts us to action. The fear, the resentment, push/pulling us out of our complacency and into forward motion. It's not for nothing the expression is: "Pain is the touchstone of our spiritual growth."
But sitting on the plane (I can still buckle an airplane seatbelt without doing severe injury to internal organs, so there's that, too!), looking out the little window at the clouds and turning the Convention over in my mind -- savoring the various recollections of a weekend spent with a community of sober alcoholics, addicts and alanons coming together in love and service -- I felt reinvigorated and it really struck me that if we remember to open ourselves to it, the positive energy can be as motivating, as much a call to action as the negative.
So if you'll forgive the brush with grandiosity it is for me to amend a classic quotation (just a brush, Mr. SponsorPants? My, you are doing better!):
Pain is the touchstone of our spiritual growth. Yes. But not pain alone.
Love too can call our spirits to rise and flourish and move forward with real purpose on our path;
in short, Love is an equal touchstone to our spiritual growth in recovery.
And if that sounds like pap, like treacle, to you... well, maybe it is.
Or maybe you're just afraid to believe in good things because it's safer to stay in the comfortable, stagnant, boring land of sarcasm and faux sophistication and hide behind the mask of cooler-than-you. "Cooler-than-you" is at heart a child's evasion. You might want to look at that. There is courage in being willing to embrace a message of positivity and hope. There is courage in being willing to be mocked or minimized for that -- even if the mocking and minimizing is mostly in your own head. (And could that be your alcoholism talking? Using a pitch-perfect impersonation of the voice-in-your-head which will most intimidate you, to keep you from raising your eyes to the next great place of healing for you to achieve?)
Be brave, and keep the faith in good things.