This morning I did a blog piece about our gusdi, Doves Native Designs. Little did I know at the time that today is a very special day for her. Today is the 22nd anniversary of her sobriety. After several people had contacted her to ask questions about her name, she wrote up a powerful story of her life, her past problems with addiction and asked that it be shared with you. It is very courageous of her to share such an intimate story of her journey on the Red Road with us. Here is Rising Dove’s convo to me and her story: I was about 6 months sober/dry when I had a moment of clarity spiritual experience. I was a bottom level drunk and was not able to function on many levels. I had to relearn how to perform basic life tasks like: wash dishes, drive safely, wash and fold laundry, vacuum the carpet, (I am still scared of vacuum cleaners, different story) care for my children and myself. I was intimidated or scared of everything and everyone. I had gone into what is often called the “fog.” I had been actively drinking since I was 13 and was 33 when I came in to AA. I had overdosed on speed and alcohol at age 20 and spent two months going through DT’s without any contact with another human being. Because of that, when I was discovered and returned home to my parents I was hospitalized. I underwent a series of 26-electro shock treatments, in 13 separate treatment sessions. After leaving the hospital, in a short period, I returned to drinking. I continued to drink for an additional 20 years. Therefore, when I reached the rooms of AA my life skills were almost non-existent.I had attended AA meetings twice a day. One of my favorite meetings was a noon meeting. I had been asked not to bring my girls to the noon AA meeting I attended because they were so young and could not sit still. The last day they were there they, all three, folded themselves up in the folding chairs we were sitting in. I understood the distraction that caused, so after that day, I found a baby sitter and went to the meetings by myself. As I am writing this, tears of laughter are flowing as I remember the horror I felt in that moment. I had no idea how to get the girls unfolded, some of the women helped get the girls and chairs in order and soon the room was once again focused on its primary purpose. I explained this to give you a better idea of my mental state at the time of this experience. It is said in AA that people who stick with the program will get walking around sense after 5 years; my walking around sense did not come to me until my 7th year… Although I had a driver’s license and could drive, I chose to walk to the meeting at noon. It was about a 15 min. walk from the house and gave me time to sort through whatever had me upset in the moment. Something always had me upset in the moment. On this particular day, I was more emotionally upset than normal. I do not recall what the reason, but know that I did not need a reason to ride the emotional roller coaster. For whatever reason I was upset and angry at the world. I was an emotional basket case and suffering. My sponsor approached me as I walked up the sidewalk to the church. She started to suggest that I work on my second step more sincerely. “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”. She wanted me to find God. She was concerned that if I did not find this power that I would drink again and then surely die. I told her I was looking but he was obviously hiding because I could not find him anywhere! I was so upset… I fired her.
I had not been raised going to church. On Sunday mornings, we would get a dozen dounuts and a half a gallon of milk and my Dad use to take us to JC’s pond. We would run and play and eat donuts and drink milk right out of the container, it was great. I asked my Dad “Who is God?” He told me “The sky above us and the ground, and the trees, and leaves on the trees are God.” He picked up a crawfish that was in the water beside us and held it up for me to see and then said, “This crawfish and you and I are all God.” Although much of my childhood memories are vague or gone, I have not forgotten exactly what he said. I had attended various Church’s throughout my adult life seeking to have a relationship with God. I wanted to have the kind of relationship I saw others have. So many of my beliefs have been made clear to me now and I know that the type of relationship I sought could not be had while I was still in the active stages and depths of my Alcoholism. After I left the meeting I remember that as I walked down McDonald Street toward my house, and I became calm. I looked down at the sidewalk and from in-between; my legs walked a Mourning Dove. I stopped walking, it went about three feet in front of me and turned to face me then stopped. I was shocked and stood very still. I remember that the only fear I had was that it was not real and it was a hallucination. I had not had a drink and had not taken any hallucinogenic drugs for many many years.