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Monday, July 30, 2012

Finding Love in Brookings, Oregon

What a fabulous weekend!

Friday morning I flew up to Arcata, California where my friend Patrick met me at the little airport.  It is so little that people meeting the plane are allowed to go to a fence and watch the passengers disembark from the plane and walk across the tarmack.   It feels like getting off a plane in the 1940's, except no one is smoking.

We drove through the Redwoods, taking the old Redwood Highway, to Brookings, Oregon.  We passed herds of Elk, drove under magnificent trees and along a sheer cliff.  The road was winding and gentle and the view was gorgeous.  By the time we entered Brookings, I felt as though I was coming home.

I had been invited to speak at the SouthCoast Round Up, an annual gathering of people like me (alcoholics) from all over the area.  It is not a huge crowd (about 175 to 200 people) but it is the kind of Round Up where they take you hiking AND treat you to Thai Food - how can that be anything but fabulous?

The same weekend of the Round Up was the Second Annual Pirates of the Pacific Festival so the entire  town was filled with people dressed like Johnny Depp and saying, 'ARGH' over and over.  The town is beautiful anyway but fill it with colorful characters and you have the makings of a weekend extroidinaire.

I got to share the podium with a woman I have admired from afar for many years but never got to meet.   She is as beautiful as my sponsor and sober 36 years and what a great sense of humor!  I always learn something from speakers I hear but from this lady I heard something that just made me jump and cheer inside.

Usually, around the tables of my 12 step program, you hear, "Let us love you until you can love yourself".  I have never EVER been comfortable with that phrase but I could not for the life of me figure out why.  Then I heard her say, "No..that's not what we do.  What we do here is we love you until you are able to love other people" and that makes all the difference.

My biggest problem is a preoccupation with me.  I am always worried that I am not good enough or that people will leave me or that I will somehow blow up a relationship simply because I am too much or because I am too little.  Whatever I am it is not right and so my problem is not setting boundaries or taking care of me - trust me, I can set a boundary so high you won't be able to SEE over it.  In fact, whether I am thinking highly of myself or poorly of myself the problem?  You guessed it.

I think far too much about myself.

So when this marvelous woman urged us to love the newcomer until they could love someone else I wanted to stand up and scream, "THAT'S IT!!!!".

So I am passing that bit of wisdom onto you.  Before you think only about taking care of yourself or setting boundaries or putting your own name at the top of your amends list ask yourself if your primary problem manifests itself in selfishness and self-centeredness.

If it is.......well (shrug) look to how you can help others.  It will make your attitude about YOU much, much better.

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