Friday, June 25, 2004

Getting Sober, Meeting the Goddess Brigit

To see my other stepwork online visit Index of Stepwork.

About three months before I quit drinking it was Halloween. I was dressed as a druid for Halloween, with a black robe of some sort. My memory is kind of hazy—this happened before I had stopped drinking. Laura, my wife, was furious with me because I was openly flirting with other women and leaving her sober to clean up my mess. Laura did not know it, but I had decided that she was the problem. It was obvious to me back then that if Laura and her nagging were out of my life I would be free to do what I wanted when I wanted.

I did not know it then, but Laura was getting ready to go. She was not sure where or how but she was gone baby gone. My drinking, my belittling her had gone on long enough. I had not been the man she married for some years now and she had had it.

I don’t remember much, I remember though that I had thought that if were to be a druid, I had best study up on what druids did and I went to the Dungeons and Dragons Deities and Demigods for guidance. There I learned about the Druids and how they were Celts who built Stonehenge (Wrong) and worshipped tress (wrong) and followed the Celtic gods (wrong). I did decide that Brigit was to be my Goddess as a druid.

So the drunk druid (me) somehow winds up facedown on the icy cold concrete of the patio of our townhouse mumbling that if there is a god, or goddess or anything out there, please help me. See, things were bad, really bad and I did not pray to quit drinking, or to be helped just this once ‘cause I promise I won’t drink again, I’ll do better next time you’ll see all I need is one more chance.

Actually I think I finally prayed and said something like, “Goddess Brigit, this can’t go on, I need help, things have to change.” And since it was now November of 2000, I prayed that Al Gore would win the election.

Now, of course, I had invited a Goddess into my life, whether or not I knew it. I do want to say I don’t particularly think my prayers changed the election, but I find it ironic and symbolic of what wound up happening that Al Gore won the election but did not get the presidency. I got exactly what I asked for; I just did not get what I wanted.

On February 1st, 2001 I started to drink as always and but that night was different. I’m not sure how, I don’t remember any of it really. I do remember threatening either my or my wife’s life with a knife. I know I was violent. I know I broke stuff.

I also know that on February 2, I was on the patio and my hands were shaking so that I couldn’t light a cigarette. That was common in the morning. What was not common was the almost physical sensation that I had really done IT. The marriage was broken beyond repair. Never, ever before did I feel that the marriage was just done and over with. Other things were broken too: finances, employment and the future. I had to do something. The feeling I had was that it was either time to get a gun and kill myself, again, not an uncommon idea for me at the time.

Instead I picked up the phone and got the number for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Laura does not talk about that night at all really. It was months before she started to treat me like she used to. She no longer believed me. She no longer believed in me.

An unusual thing happened in AA. It was suggested that I get a sponsor and I did. He suggested that I start working the steps and I did. He suggested that I get a Higher Power. I got on Google and started looking up world religions and faiths and I learned that February 2nd (or February 1st for some folks) is called Imbolc, or Oimlec by Pagans. Imbolc was an ancient Celtic holiday celebrating the quickening, the first signs of spring, and the first new growth. It is a time of new beginnings.

It is the Holy Day of the Celtic Goddess Brigit, the only day sacred to Her.

Sitting there, in front of the computer, I could almost hear Her laughter. She was not laughing at me; She was inviting me to join Her in laughing. I would swear She tells me life is absurd and not to take any of it too seriously, because She isn’t.

I try to imagine what the Goddess looks like and I fail. Mentally I can’t quite get a glimpse of Her, She dances on the edge of my peripheral vision. Sometimes Her hair is a brilliant red, others it is blonde, or maybe a beautiful silver grey color, or even black like a night sky. The Goddess is often a young beautiful lady or a wonderfully aged woman with a handsome face of serene age. Mostly She is a mother, a middle aged lady with a silver streak in the red of Her hair and a ready smile.

She has kept me sober now for almost three and a half years. My marriage is stronger now than it has ever been. No longer am I a sick, spoiled child Laura must be a mother to. I am a partner in the marriage, a man who can be relied upon to do what adults do. Laura, my wife, is my best friend and lover. I have friends who care for me and about me. I am able to contribute to their lives as well.

That was not true three years ago.

I work the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and practice a Wiccan, nature based spirituality. I am happy, joyous and free sometimes. Most times I am simply content. And when I am down now, I no longer feel that it is the end, that it will never change and that I cannot do anything about it. I know that it will pass and I can speed its passing by helping another alcholic, spending time with my wife, exercising, praying.

I read this over and I can see how inadequate my words are to describing both Her and my relatioship to her.

It is morning, I should greet Her and thank Her.

Good Morning Goddess Brigit! My name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober since Imbolc 2001 by Your grace and Your grace alone. I would like to again thank You, my Higher Power, for this my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be SOBER!

Please, Gracious Lady, be with me today, all through the day and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine be done. Inspire me to act and create in Your name. Be welcome in me and to me, body, heart, mind and soul.

Adjuva Brigitta! Thank You! Blessed Be!