At 6 A.M., I awoke to a recovery dream:

Alone, I stand at the sink of the industrialized kitchen and scrub platters, bowls, and mugs used by our AA buddies during our pot luck dinner. Our meeting in the theater had preceded this gathering. It is quiet.

Within my psyche, I am alone, characteristic of my behavior, even now, as I prepare for my transition. A venerable priest recently likened me to a hermit mystic, a description that fits my individuation, and one that relieved the pressures of socialization, even in recovery. I was to learn other ways of relating to people, especially through writing and prayer.

My work setting, the industrialized kitchen, suggests the larger-than-life tools for daily use in my psyche: the Twelve Steps of recovery, essential for deep cleaning and restoration. The platters, bowls, and mugs symbolize containers of undigested life experiences, stored away for assimilation another time, but that time never came. In the dream, I had to scrub my psyche of scum, availing myself of Higher Power’s direction. On my own, this was impossible.

The image, pot luck dinner, suggests varied nourishment for the psyche and calls to mind the AA slogan: “Take what you need and leave the rest.” Because Twelve Step recovery is unique among members, their experience, strength, and hope differ, and teach members accordingly.

And the image, theater, speaks of venues where life-changing stories occur. That can occur in all thirty-seven recovery programs of the Twelve Steps, and eight partially patterned ones, provided willingness and honesty motivate the participants. Higher Power is always present, within and among us.

The continuing miracle in my life is adherence to the Twelve Steps of Chronic Pain Anonymous, one day at a time. It works …