Breath – Life’s Source and Threat

This moment has its own value apart from its purpose, potential or destiny… Our immediate experience speaks of the value of breath, of justice, of community, of security, of sanity. In the face of threat- a virus, violence against and oppression of our brothers, addiction and chemically induced coping- elements of life become more vibrant. Our priorities and purpose clarify.

Our windows needed cleaning.

The coronavirus gave us social isolation and a rightful fear of contagion. Our nose and lungs are our points of vulnerability. Breath, a life-source became a vector of our demise. We cover our faces which were once our windows of communication and social connection.

Social distancing and isolation, once alien to wellbeing are now survival tactics. Our evolutionary need to interact in a social unit has been arrested. Do we encounter anxiety or are we truly vulnerable? Are we hypervigilant or are we vigilant?

In the race to avoid exposure, to contain the spread, a bird is singing in the back yard. Our spring flowers have bloomed, filling the air with sweetness. Our children and pets look to play, to love and to receive our care. We get groceries for someone unable to leave home. We remember what is important.

Racially motivated killings and oppression propel public outrage and social upheaval followed by opportunistic looting and mass destruction. The sounds of helicopters and sirens drown out our conversations. Our storefronts, once abandoned for stay-at-home protections have been looted and burned, and ultimately boarded up for tomorrow.

Media platforms broadcast political fractures and the fragmentation of our mutual identities. Our pacts of civility are broken due to overwhelming resentment and frustration. We become self-righteous and critical.

Our growing cynicism is confronted by a kindness at the grocery store. We nod “hello” to a stranger in a mask and their eyes light up. We see groups of all races, cultures and classes marching to speak singular truths. Justice and more perfect unions become the ambition of youth. A police officer shows kindness to protestors. Kids become active; youth see their role in political participation. The future seems bright again. Only through strife do we seek change.

Indiscriminate alcohol and drug misuse during the pandemic and civil unrest result in further medical, domestic and economic damage. Too much time and too little to do are spaces some of us fill in altered states. Chemicals provide temporary relief and pleasure while secretly building needs and hunger for the same. What was a one-time binge becomes routine.

Discomforts and boredom are solved by a drink, a hit, a dose, a snort or a toke. Oblivion becomes preferable than being confronted with reality. Our relationships slide side-ways- either conflict or avoidance creates a greater sense of loneliness. The drink or drug become reliable solutions. We deserve a little more pleasure and relief.

A friend suggests help or a meeting. We look for help. We take that forbidding step, that leap into the swimming pool of recovery; Sobriety and fellowship bring hope and energy. We feel like ourselves, we feel our emotions and we can see in color again. To maintain this new path, we establish new routines, take on new ideas, and relate with a new set of friends. We accept help.

“Now” is actually separate and apart from the millisecond preceding it and the one to follow. What lies at our noses is the phenomena of beauty and light, of horror and shadow. Images fill our sight: care givers revive failing patients; multicolored masses demand justice; looters steal the message and the spoil our streets; neighbors inebriated at the noon share stories of fantasy and hopelessness. Recovering people sleep at night and find contentment in the moment.

Our initial reactions are to flee, fight and freeze. Instead we breath.

Breath- the essence of life and recovery.

Take a risk and breath.

David, Twin Town (866) 594-8844