I had a strange and recurring dream last night. It’s the kind where I am trying to get somewhere; I don’t know where, but there are all these obstacles, some rather fearful. I recall one “scene” where I am on a this road that curves along an embankment on a rushing icy river; the road itself is icy, and there is almost no rail to prevent falling in, and presumably, dying. In another part I am with people trying to enjoy a meal but something urgent is eating away at me. I am trying to see through a window to figure out what part of the city I am in, but there is something in the way. I can’t just enjoy the company.
I guess these are typical anxiety dreams, and don’t require a lot of interpretation. I have had them a lot, though now it is more obvious to me how my alcoholic mind functions: through fear and anxiety. I can’t just live life in the present; there is always an icy river to avoid, or something, I don’t know what, that is urgent, weighing on me. But there isn’t; not really. It is a choice I have to try to live in the present, to train my mind to be calm. It doesn’t happen right away but I get glimpses of it, even in early sobriety. I can just let a stressful thought pass through me, recognize it and move on. AA talks about the importance of the higher power; releasing oneself from self will and giving over to the higher power. I see this not necessarily as spiritual or religious, something that many find off putting, but as a practical tool. If I can’t get away from my mind’s chaotic self will, then release it to the unknown, a higher power, who may be a guy (or gal) in a robe living in the clouds, or whatever flipped the switch on the Big Bang. I don’t know, and that is the point, and is, counterintuitively, reassuring.
So I can have a dialogue with my dream. Yes, but no, I can say to it. I understand where you (me) are coming from but it is not the final answer. This is what I have heard called “emotional sobriety”, the peaceful state of mind that maintains long term sobriety. Today I felt a little bit of that, enough to get me to tomorrow. I can hang out with a friend from the rooms at a coffee shop and talk about it. That feels just a little scary but mostly good.