Magical Thinking: A New Hope
Sobriety is comprised of countless little things. It’s both abstinence and action, both thought and feeling.
If called upon to nutshell the whole deal, however: sobriety=magical thinking.
Old time AA had six principles instead of twelve steps. Principle one was “complete deflation.” For me, deflation means the wholehearted embrace of that which I once ridiculed. It means no half measures. “Higher power?” Nope. “Almighty God.” “Coincidence?” Nope. “A message from God.”
Here’s an example. Since I’ve been in Shanghai, I’ve spoken with my housemate and my bosses and housemate many times about wanting to go fishing. I’ve got a three day weekend coming up, and a couple of possible fishing spots scouted, but I’ve happened upon no fishing gear in any store. But a couple of days ago, I was having trouble getting a cab. I had finished work at the location that’s not subway accessible. It’s in a part of Shanghai that’s miles from any metro station. But I had no place urgent to get to, so I figured, what the hell. Let’s see just how far the station is. I walked and walked. Construction precluded the route prescribed by google maps. I wound around through little booths, and the found the central fruit market, and all sorts of things.
And then there she was. A woman on the street was holding two items: a pair of binoculars and a fishing pole. I watched her for a bit until it became clear that she was selling these two items. That’s it. She had two things. She was selling exactly two things. A random woman, standing in the middle of a random sidewalk that I would never walk down, except that I had had trouble getting a cab, and there was construction going on. Clearly, I was meant to purchase this fishing pole. So I did. There are no more coincidences in this new life. Everything happens for a reason. And there are no acceptable rhetorical fabric softeners. I am making meaning through magical thinking. And that’s a good thing. It is what I am meant to do, and I will call it nothing less than what it is.
I came home from the meeting last night to a comment from Mike about the risks of leaving an infected tooth untreated. He told of a friend who had recently died from a brain infection when her tooth infection had spread. Naturally, I found substantial meaning in this. God is warning me through Mike? Did Mike’s friend die that I might live? It doesn’t seem very “win-win,” but, regardless…
I sent a voice message to my wife in short order. It looks like I’ll need to go get this done here in China after all, honey. I know it will be cheaper at home, and better, but I don’t want to die. Then I lay down for a good night’s sleep.
When I awoke this morning, an old friend had climbed out of my head. He was standing over me, arms crossed, shaking his head, tapping his foot, and tsk-tsk-ing.
“Hold the fuck on, there, Eric. I know you’ve got a bunch of sand in your vagina right now, but let’s take a big step back here and evaluate things a bit…”
Stay tuned for: Magical Thinking: The Intellect Strikes Back