Yesterday, my dad and I were reviewing my travel map and plans for the trip. He was convinced that I need a Trip Tik from AAA with all the gazillion maps and all the bazillion books about each state. Of course, I don’t need all that paper waste, I have a cell phone with all the latest and greatest travel apps! Am I not a smart enough woman to figure out the newest technological gadgets? Ok…truth be told, I actually asked Dad to get the AAA info for me, just didn’t want you to think I was an old fart (ego alert). I know it’s old school but, guess what, I’m just not that tech savvy to entrust my life to electronics alone. Now that I’ve come clean, I feel better and can get on with the point of all of this. So, while we were looking carefully at my tentative and over-packed itinerary, it dawned on me that I hadn’t even done the math to see if there was time for everything on my list. I am trying to get to San Francisco by April 20th for Joseph’s birthday, right? Told you before, my brain works a little backwards.
My list of “things to see” was long and diverse. It included everything from God’s beautiful, natural creations to cheesy, superficial, totally unimportant diversions. As I gazed at the broad spectrum of my “must-see” places, it occurred to me, I had gotten side tracked. This list that I had spent days researching and adding too, started out with gloriously majestic sights like, the Grand Canyon, Redwood Forest, the corner in Winslow, Arizona, the Petrified Forest then gradually developed into places like Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, and Venice Beach. (Alright, so some of you may not think the corner in Winslow, Arizona is exactly spiritual and I respect that, but The Eagles are pretty darn special to me so it stays!) Anyway, as I kept studying the list, a light bulb went off in my brain (or God popped me upside the head). Clarity struck like a lightening bolt! Hello, Leslie…the whole purpose of this road trip is to connect with my Higher Power on a deeper level, trust my path is His will, overcome the darkness of fear and manage to stay sober in the process. Shopping on Rodeo Drive, chance meetings with movie stars and dining at the “it” restaurants have no place in this mission. I had planned an entire day of sight seeing in Los Angeles, why?? Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize there are some nice and “normal” folks in LA, but my plan did not include stopping in for nice chat and hot cup of tea with the Smiths on Main Street. My list included hitting all of the places where a mere commoner can gawk at the “somebodies” of the world. This world of make believe in which a person’s social status or worthiness is determined by “who” they are wearing or “who” they are seen with is superficial, material nothingness to me. I have never been impressed by it, so why was I planning to waste a full 24 hours of precious drive time to experience it. Having had this revelation, my very newly developing internal GPS said, “Recalculating”. I am changing the plan to bypass Los Angeles completely, in turn I will be able to take my time driving up the coast on Pacific Highway and arrive in San Fran in time to start my son’s birthday party a day early. Now we’re making better sense!
While I was in active addiction, I would never have had anything close to an epiphany like this. I would not have second guessed my original plans or the thought process behind them. My old way of thinking was completely self-centered, selfish and frivolous. I still struggle to catch these behaviors before they run amuck in my head and make a mess of things. My new way of thinking is more centered on my true purpose in this life. I believe that purpose is to be of service to my Creator and to help those still suffering from this disease. It’s not always what I want, but it’s what I am compelled to do. Now, as my brain continues to heal, I am starting to recognize when things seem a little off or not right with my thoughts. I can pause and reassess my motives before acting on impulse. I can stop and pray for guidance then wait for the answer. Sometimes I don’t get answers right away and I must exercise patience (this is not my best quality, I hear it is a learned behavior which takes much practice). Sometimes the answers are right in front of face, all I have to do is keep an open mind and open eyes to see them. Something I am learning, through this recovery process, is to slow down and be still. When I do this, I can make sure my thoughts or plans are aligned with God’s will and not my own. I’m still not always sure I’m making the right decisions, and still doubt myself a lot of times, but I am realizing that just becoming aware and “recalculating” my misguided intentions before acting on them, is a pretty good start. Progress, not perfection.