For the past 15 years, I have been blessed with sobriety and the ability to avoid eating over my feelings, when I am agitated or uncomfortable. I have learned a way of life that enables me to stay still and sober even when difficult feelings arise. Today is one of those days. I woke up tired and agitated about nothing in particular. Over the past eight weeks, I have had very busy days including having my in-laws to stay, looking after a friend’s pets, home, and garden. Then when we returned home, I found that there were things that needed to be done here and two neighbours asked for my help. But first, I just needed to relax and take it easy. I needed to stop trying to be a saint and trying to look after everybody else and be still in my own home for 24 hours. I needed to breathe, compose myself and get a few chores done at home. Because this program has enabled me to sit still, I did do that.
It is a life of service. However, I have to put sobriety and serenity first. I have to make sure my food plan and my own life are manageable, before I can help others. So yesterday, I ignored the text messages from two neighbours asking me for a favour and to walk their dogs knowing that all would be well. I took time out and I got my things done. Then 36 hours later, I had the energy and with God's help, I was able to phone my neighbours back. This program has taught me there is nothing more valuable and essential than face to face service or at least voice to voice by phone. Text messaging and social messaging do not work for me because it is impossible to gauge how important something is.
One of the things that happened at home was that we had a little mouse visit. It made me so uncomfortable. My skin itches when I think it may have run up and down my things, my books, and my soft furnishings. I don't like to see droppings on my floor. I have to say that my husband has been an absolute rock. He is much better than me at keeping calm and methodically going through the house looking for our visitor. The day I saw that mouse, I froze on the spot, I was not able to pause. I didn't shout but I immediately said to my husband at 4am in the morning, “There is a mouse in the lounge.” He quite rightly ignored me and went back to bed to sleep.
Thankfully, I remembered God
I remembered what it says in the literature, which is “we relax and take it easy” (Page 86, Alcoholics Anonymous). I mean this mouse is not a monster. This mouse is minute and cute. But because I've seen it and how it runs from the hallway to the lounge, I felt incapable of walking on the floor. But I breathed. I said to God, you're going to have to help me calm down and go about my regular early morning routine. I had to use my prayers, and my mantra. At the moment, my mantra is the word God which calms me down. I said it over and over again consciously, and it removed from me the fear and the agitation around having pests in the house.
When I took a bath, as I usually do, I thought it is only nature. I am nature, and 20 years ago man built brick houses on top of what used to be the woods and a small river here. Of course, sometimes the outdoors is going to come indoors. This helped me calm down. Bill W, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, wrote about having to talk himself into emotional sobriety (Pg 288, As Bill Sees It). That is what I had to do very early in the morning. I was due to ring my sponsor, and I did ring my sponsor. However, before that, in the bath, I needed God in the early hours of the morning.
I needed prayers, I needed mantra and I needed to ask for the right thought and action
I needed to constantly remind myself that this world belongs to all animals, and all human beings. This mouse is God's creation, and it has a right to wander God's planet just like I have the freedom to wander the planet. Today, we are on the final journey of hunting for the mouse. We are in the last room of the house, the garage. It’s minimalistic and very clean. My husband thinks it’s cluttered and there are too many things in it. We have different perspectives on that. But I stripped back a load of other things in the garage, which I would kind of like to keep a hold of. I don't know if we are being too hasty emptying the garage. But I do know that the silent whisper in me is, none of it matters and this is a luxury non problem. This too shall pass. Some of this stuff can be sold and some of it can be given away like big bags of sand that we had leftover from when we had our driveway done. Somebody will enjoy them, somebody will enjoy some walking boots that we needed for our work and some plimsolls that we found. So all is well. I haven’t had to eat and I enjoyed spring cleaning the garage.
Once upon a time, my life would have consisted of me being paralyzed by that mouse and being paralysed at the thought of going through each room systematically clearing it out. I would never have been able to do it. I would have been too scared that the mouse might run out. Instead, I would have just bought 10 bags of sweets and rich chips and stuffed myself with them, afraid to do anything. But here we are today even when my husband went down to the garage this afternoon, after I'd had a nap. I asked him where he was going. He said, I'm going to the garage. It’s the last room we need to clear out and out of nowhere. I said, Shall I come and help? He said, Yeah, that would be nice. I rolled my eyes quietly to myself. But I still got up and I went down without him knowing. I just said, Right, what do you want me to do? And he told me and I got on with it.
These things are important to my serenity and my sobriety:
To be useful, I do things I don't want to do, to confront fears - insane fears about small creatures - to feel discomfort in my skin, to invoke the program and God, to say my prayers and to carry on doing life regardless of Mr. Mouse coming in the house. I didn't have to pack all my bags, to move somewhere, to call rent-to-kill and make a big drama out of it. I'm living with a mouse in the house, sober and still and life is good.