Finding Peace, Joy, and Hope in the Mundane

When I was ‘told – sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly’ that I needed to find a higher power to stay sober, I bristled to put it mildly. My first thought was ‘I’m a scientist’. And in my head in my best Bill Murray, Ghostbusters voice, ‘back off, I’m a scientist’.  I dismissed the ‘group’ convention as an easy compromise higher power. And I saw absolutely no potential in a ‘doorknob’. But science – that felt reasonable and seemed like an obvious choice for a scientist. I like the explanatory and predictive qualities of science. So I could believe in science. Except, I couldn’t. I don’t believe in science. Pet peeve #48 is hearing ‘I believe in evolution’. Pet peeve # 12 is that they are Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese. Closely followed by # 13 is they are gulls, not sea gulls.

But I digress. I understand evolution and I accept it as a model supported by oodles of evidence. But believe in it? No. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as passionate about science as I ever was. And I use it in my recovery. But I must admit, my placing primacy on science for getting sober and helping me to stay sober, was initially a liability. Once again, I find reflection and writing a gateway to open windows into what I do believe. Many of the poems that I’ve written since getting sober are about the beauty, grace, peace, hope, and love in the everyday, exceptionally ordinary mundane. A starry night, a meandering stream, a dog or cat on my lap, a grandchild playing in a shipping box or falling asleep on my chest, an unexpected smile from my spouse, a sunrise, a sunset – these and more are what I connect to stay sober and to restore my ‘sanity’ (I prefer my sense of well-being. 


I saw the divine
The other day
It ‘twas there
Right before me
Where it had
Always been
On those countless
Endless days of
Searching and
Of seeking
All about me
Though I
Could not see
Until I stopped
Seeking and 
I stopped searching
And just looked
Beneath my feet


I’ve walked among the flowers
A field of dandelions in bloom
With a child a toddling along
Stopping and stooping noticing
Each and every seeded head
Wrapped in curiosity 
As feathery seeds take flight
Rising and floating on the breeze
And I smile when I do remember
Moments such as these


I sit in the quiet
The stillness before dawn
Darkness cradles me
In the interlude between
Cats scritch scratching
Mussing about a litter box
Then running across the floor
Leaving dusty tracks behind
How can tiny padded paws
Make so much noise
The dog on my lap
He leans his head
Against my chest and sighs
And so do I so do I

About the Author

Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.

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