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At 6:20 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is evening service at the black church I’ve been attending, at the invitation of the pastor and his wife. Again, I’m greeted and enter the fellowship filled with hymns and prayer. Other than occasional constipation, I am well. The pastor, also a physician, will perform a proctologic exam in his office in the morning. Having had one before, I’m anxious.

The vibrant setting of this dream, the evening service at the black church, opens my psyche to hidden disorders that require identification and correction. The occasional constipation keeps my body/mind starved of vital nutrients, dulls my perceptions, and dumps me within the morass of sloth: Why bother?

The pastor bridges the gap between God’s presence and the worshipers in his black church: such engagement restores disorders that sludge human interactions and quickens spirits into living flames. On my own, I’m powerless to achieve the wholeness to which I aspire.

Yet, I’m anxious. Given my long-standing pride, it’s painful to admit my arrogance and willfulness, smirches upon my character for all to behold. For much of my life, pretense kept such disorders at bay; whenever aware of them, I barely nodded at their toxicity.

Since working the Twelve Steps in Recovery, however, such disclosures become frequent cries to Higher Power to effect the necessary changes. This is precisely the task of spirituality.

With the afflicted Job (10:6), I identify with his cry to God: You must search out my faults and probe after my sin. Such purification works: It’s about becoming humble and serving others.

At 4:30 A.M., this corrective dream woke me:

In front of me stood a suntanned mom, her arms filled with kid books, her blonde toddler holding onto her jogging shorts. Then it was my turn at the counter. “You’ve a ten-cent fine,” said the librarian looking over her computer.

This dream felt like a particle of a larger one, but substantive enough to work with.

The ten-cent fine stands out.Admittedly, an annoyance, it speaks to the issue of contracts, including book rentals. The imposition of fines for late returns speaks of the library’s ownership of books and other materials on their shelves.

In the dream, I incurred such a fine, unlike my usual attentiveness to such matters. Paying the dime smarted: it was not the amount but “someone” had found out—I was not perfect.

On a deeper level, the fine serves as a wake-up call to my present circumstances. That “someone,” a unified voice of trusted family and friends, kept reminding me of how well I looked, much to me dismay. Eventually, I learned they were right.

Despite diseased lungs, I was not dying—not yet.

For too long, if I’m honest with myself, I have been harboring scenarios of my demise, lapping up others’ sympathy, concerns, gifts, and notes of loving prayer. In recovery circles, such obsessive thinking catastrophes the future.

It’s all about mindfulness, of pacing my ADLs lest further weakened by exhaustion—limited living, but living, nonetheless. Others have done this and so can I, with Higher Power’s help, each twenty-four hours.

With a jolt, I awoke with this corrective dream:

Lethargic, unfocused, I’m driving my new used car home from the dealership. As I approach the grocery store, I remember needing eggs and decide to stop. I pull into the parking lot that slopes toward the curb, then turn off the ignition. To my horror, the car keeps moving. I don’t know where the brake is. I need help.

Given the busyness of yesterday, it’s no wonder that my Dreamer spun this story.

Lethargic, unfocused speaks of the dissociation from my body as well as the world around me, a condition I used to live in before getting into recovery; it kept me isolated, unable to learn, stunted psycho-socially. That I’m still swallowed in this malaise reveal its deep rootedness. Yesterday’s relapse led to disregarding my third breathing treatment at the scheduled time. Exhaustion precluded remaining awake until a later time when it was safe to take it. Only with this morning’s treatment did deep breathing fill my lungs.

Driving my new used car suggests my self-will run riot, as described in the Big Book. In my present circumstances, I’ve no need for a car. Yet in the dream story, I procure one. I will have it my way, no matter that I may harm others or myself.

The grocery store with its eggs speaks of my penchant for nutritious foods to maintain my old body, such as it is. I still avoid sugars and most grains.

I don’t know where the brake is. —A terrifying moment seated in my car rolling toward the street and a probable crash. This image prods me to listen for Higher Power’s direction and not go out on my own, and to say No when taxed beyond my endurance. I’m the one with the terminal illness.



Such are the associations from these dream images, urging deeper listening for direction.


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