Let the Flowers Bring You Back

Now it’s like this.

These are some of the flowers that line a path I’ve walked for many years, though in different times and (almost) as a different person.

I saw them first nine years ago, in the early spring of 2014, when I would cut through the this church parking lot as I’d walk my older daughter to kindergarten at the neighborhood elementary school. She was just six then. She’s now got her driver’s permit.

We’d build extra time into our walk to have the space to be able to smell the flowers. The white alyssum were here favorite. “They smell like syrup,” she’d say. Those flowers (and those moments that became fond memories) gave me such joy.

About 18 months after I stopped drinking, I ventured inside the church. For a meeting, the 12-Step kind. That meeting and the women who composed it saved me. I saw the flowers lining the path in a new way then. They gave me hope.

When my marriage dissolved and we could no longer afford to stay in that house within walking distance of the school, I missed walking by the flowers. They had become like friends to me, like family. I missed chatting with them. Their absence, and the absence of the joy they’d once represented, brought me deep sadness.

In fact, there was a time that I could hardly bear to look at them or I’d cry. That was about this time last year, in March, when I lost the community that had been my sober home for the previous two years. When that was lost to me, I returned to my old 12-Step home and every time I’d walk through the church parking lot, all I felt were the stinging reminders of what I had lost.

Until, that is, I focused on what I had gained. The space created by loss has been filled with love, and I’m now older, wiser, and more seasoned. More me. I’m so glad I returned. This meeting, and the women who compose it, bring me joy and hope and the opposite of sadness. They bring me recovery. They help me see the flowers again.

Today these women celebrated my nine years of sobriety (official date last week), and these yellow beauties bloomed as if to cheer me on. Now it’s like this, and I’m so grateful.

Just a reminder to keep walking the path.

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