Saturday, May 09, 2009
Gillian’s idea of venting anger in a healthy way has us all perplexed, wondering if the next thing any of us do will be interpreted as stepping out of line. We’ve all just been chastised by her for not taking morning meditation seriously. Guys are complaining, not commenting afterwards on how it affects them, not choosing to read at all, leaving a number of books abandoned. When Gillian gives you that scowl, you know not to get on her bad side.
Gillian D. is a talk black woman from Kentucky. Sporting grandma glasses and a low-maintenance afro, she’s here on this weekend to do one thing: get us motivated. She is wise and kind beyond imagination, but this morning she is definitely not the latter. An African American grandmother is the toughest soul.
She splits us up in three groups of three, gives us each a daily meditation book from her private library, then asks us to read it and, “…I’ll be back.” After the chastising we’d all received, there’re no protests. Arriving back, she demands, “Now each of you write your interpretation of the reading. You have 20 minutes.” She disappears again.
When she reappears, she orders us to sit in a circle, collects all our papers, and distributes them to others to read as if they were the author. That last bit is a little odd to contemplate, but again, we’re all walking on egg shells, so no one protests. When we read each of each other’s letters we are role-playing. She calls on us by the author’s name and asks us to then interpret what each letter meant to us.
Dustin V. reads my letter on Joy:
“When one full of joy enters a room, some is bound to spill out. It’s contagious. When joy comes through you, it’s shared with others. If you wake with joy in your heart, just for that day, expectations will not become resentments. People in hatred will not overcome you, and may be affected by your attitude in a positive way.”
“Joy is also a way of seeing things, not filtered through rose colored glasses, but seeing the positive in some event that would normally appear negative. Yet another learning opportunity is at hand.”
“Joy can make all the difference.”
His verbal interpretation, even through the tears, gives a positive spin on the hell he’s endured over the last week. Dustin’s mother, grandmother, half-sister and her husband all died in an unfortunate car accident 1500 miles away in California. Dustin himself is mentally challenged, speaks in a monotone voice, and generally has a difficult time making friends. This on top of the challenge we all face here at The Station with addiction. Four days after the accident, his sister with three years sobriety ODs on heroin over the trauma.
What he said blew me away, “This was exactly what I needed to read today.” Those letters were distributed at random.
I learned at last night’s meeting that Neil S., who just received his one year medallion, had too lost his sister. She’d just got back from the hospital where she’d recovered from a drug induced coma. She then settled down with her drug of choice to unwind. The crack she smoked caused her heart to explode. “It’s never enough until your heart stops beating.”
I have 85 days sober today.
-- Without Wax