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May 05 • Doing Swimmingly

Day 666


I watched a Netflix movie today to kill some time. I wasn't feeling very well and picked one that I thought would be harmless and that I might even sleep through. Then right in the middle of the predictable bonding moment, the vulnerable kid imparts wisdom to the broken anti-hero:

"You don't drown by falling in the river. You drown by staying submerged."

Phrases like that exist in art because people have lived through crap, and part of their healing is in sharing their pain in safe places. This particular phrase seems to be something an observer would say, or maybe a guru that lives far from a river.


When I was drowning, somebody telling me this would not have helped. If someone said that all I had to do was dog-paddle my way to safety, I'm pretty sure I would have told the teller to go to hell. I felt like I was wearing concrete shoes, and there was no stroke I could implement to keep my head above water. I was wrong, but I don't know how to communicate that to someone struggling for air. There came a day when I reached out to someone who knew better. I admitted that all I'd learned about staying afloat wasn't working for me and I needed help. I made a decision not to stay submerged. People who need to hear that will only hear it when they're ready, and I think it is rare when someone hears a motivating word at just the right time to become a world-class swimmer. The rock bottom is still the point of turning for nearly everyone, and a lot of those rock bottoms are at the bottom of those rivers where encouraging words are difficult to hear.


As a fellowship of addicts, we continue working on our sobriety and try to be ready with a helping hand or even the life preserver of an SAA group when the time is appropriate.


–JR

 

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