I cannot get this picture out of my head. I was driving to Flint a few weeks ago and along the way there are several farm fields – fallow this time of year. Broken corn stalks, flat and uninteresting as frozen dirt. I’m rocketing along at 80 MPH listening to Reply All. And out of the corner of my eye I saw movement.
And maybe ten white-tailed deer were running. Crazily running, like man was in the forest. It all happened quickly, but they were running in single file, their little faces terror stricken. And there was nothing I could see behind them. No camo-clad Michiganders with hunting rifles. No tractor or tiller. Not even a zealous farm dog.
Why are we running sober friends? What are we running from?
My guess is that the troupe of deer were snacking on bitter corn leavings when one of them got spooked. And without knowing why, they all got riled up. For some reason this reminded me of me. There are still some mornings when I wake up sober (perhaps a crinkled candy wrapper on an adjacent pillow) and have no idea what to do next. Do I write, hike, shower, lead, follow, get out of the way, shit or go blind?
There are contradictory precepts in recovery from addiction. One rule is that every person’s recovery is individual – hence my journey is my journey alone. The other notion is that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection (I am linking my fingers together here for emphasis – like the church and the steeple game from childhood).
So I’m a majestic individual with thoughts of my own – think big-racked stag on hilltop. But I’m also part of a club that, sadly, would have me as a member. On those mornings where the options seem limitless and confusing I really just want someone to tell me what the hell to do. Think group mentality and running like a herd of deer from dust bunnies. Is that what they mean by community? Having someone lead the charge?
I’m going for a hike. Now.
My favorite scene in the movie Jurassic Park doesn’t end well. The Australian park ranger is hunting raptors and one of the creatures rattles the fronds in front of him. While he prepares for the kill shot, another raptor sneaks up from behind. The ranger is eaten alive, but not before uttering the unforgettable line [read more...]