Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gestating Elephants

***Submitted by Susan, who blogs at Writing My Way Sober

18 months ago a sober friend told me it takes 18 months of sobriety to feel somewhat solid in recovery. That's the same amount of time a baby elephant is in the womb.

Well, tomorrow is my 18 month anniversary. Much has occurred in 18 months. I'd say I've experienced something akin to the miracle and power of a baby elephant.

I am more at peace and am facing Stage II breast cancer with more equanimity than I would have thought possible 18 months ago.

In fact, I'm falling in love with myself.

This is a revolution for me that would not be possible without sobriety.

Years ago I heard the following story from an Ojibway medicine woman.

She spoke of once seeing a well respected Navajo medicine man for some health problems. She had anticipated this session with great anxiety and earnestness to "be a good patient." After he made the initial preparations, he told her he needed her to do one thing or the healing wouldn't work. She waited to hear her instructions, anticipating something terribly demanding, determined to deliver. After nodding her head, he gently said:

"I need you to sit beautifully." 

She erupted into tears at this, as did I when she said it.

I don't even know what this means exactly or why it makes me cry. But I have been remembering this story a lot lately.

Such simple and yet incredibly profound instructions for healing. There is so much permission to be beautiful, to let go of shame - pointing to some regal avenue to heal.

She needed to feel her worth to heal.  He couldn't do it for her. He needed her to sit beautifully - with grace, self-love, compassion, power.

Sobriety has allowed me to realize my beauty, my grace, and my power.

So as I sat on the examining room table today, listing to the surgeon discuss mastectomy vs. lumpectomy, I sat beautifully. I was there for myself. I did not beat myself up for what may have gotten me to this point. I felt and practiced self-compassion, for I am suffering and in dire need of kindness.

I do not know how to wrap this up. I wish I could kiss you on the forehead, so just kiss your hand and pat your head gently. You are a beautiful child, wonderfully amazing, no matter where you are at with your drinking.


  1. This is such a beautiful, moving post. Thank you for this. I needed to read this tonight.

  2. Oh. Can words touch a soul? I believe they can, beautifully.

    Amazing, powerful post. Thank you.

  3. I love this so much. I wish I had wise and beautiful words to share back, but I'll just be good enough with, "this made me feel very loving toward myself and others". Thank you for sharing and helping us love and accept ourselves today. Prayers for your healing too. xoxo

  4. One of the most powerful posts I've read on this site. Thank you. My thoughts are with you today.

  5. "For I am suffering and in dire need of kindness." Yes you are, yet in this post you are *giving* kindness to us as readers and permission to also sit beautifully. Thank you for that gift, and all my best wishes for your healing.
    I'll be thinking of you for your 18 month anniversary. What a milestone! x

  6. Thank-you all for your comments. It feels good to be supported and helpful to others. Crying Out Now helps me maintain my sobriety, without a doubt. Such a miracle Ellie created!

  7. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. May you continue to sit beautifully. Today I will sit beautifully, smile beautifully and dance beautifully in tribute to your strength and love.

  8. What a lovely post.. thank you.

  9. Crying a little after reading this. Poignant. Thank you.