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This morning’s dream heartened me:

It is a spring morning and breezes quiver greening leaves upon towering oaks. I’ve met my first cousins at the old Moloney three-story brownstone, located on a corner lot in the city. Decades of neglect have given it a derelict appearance: overgrown shrubs, waist-high grasses, cracked sidewalks, sagging gutters, trash matted against the side gate. At the bottom of the hilly front yard sits Lucy Kelly pulling weeds. I call down to her. “You are a beautiful child. Never forget that.” Her dark eyes study me with bewilderment. I plan to buy large planters, fill them with colorful annuals, and line them next to the wide granite front steps.

The image of the old Moloney three-story brownstone suggests my psychic container, still bearing the imprint of my alcoholism, despite years in AA recovery and recent ones in CPA. The tendrils of my psychic disease still hide out in the nook and crannies of my shadow. I’m powerless to extricate them.

But change, not of my making, is in the offing. New willingness appears in the first cousins to repair the broken, to replace overgrown shrubs and seed the weed-infested yard, and whatever else is needed, given my terminal illness and shortness of days. The forlorn Lucy Kelly, an image of my damaged child, reminds me to deepen my self-care, to gentle my angst in letting down this life for another.

Yet, my desire to beautify the wide granite front steps speaks of my continuing interest to cull dreams from oblivion’s cobwebs and blog their messages.

I’ve much to learn from the Beautifier…

At 3:15 a.m., I awoke with this dream:

It is summer, a Sunday afternoon. I’m excited. With a friend, I drive out to Glen Echo Country Club in Normandy, Missouri. It’s been decades since I was last there. I look forward to swimming in the blue and white tile pool surround by towering oaks, manicured lawns. We pull into the empty parking lot and hurry around to the back of the clubhouse. Then, stop in our tracks, appalled. Where the pool was now gapes a monstrous hole, filled with fetid waters that belch, then spew streams high into the air. No one is around.

 This corrective dream reveals old issues, all Step-worked but still entrenched within my psyche: entitlement and expectations and bogus watering holes.

Glen Echo Country Club, still an elite setting for golf, dining, weddings and receptions were even more so when I was growing up. Dad’s membership afforded me summers lounging around the pool, in pursuit of the impeccable coat of tan, despite fair skin. Within this setting staffed by waiters and maids, I lapped up entitlement as everyone else did. Only when I joined AA did I see its prominence among the many faces of pride. In no way could I be in relationships, even with Higher Power. So puffed up, I was playing god—and, at times, I still am…

And expectations—in the dream, I expected the swimming pool to be unchanged from the time I had known it, there being no need to check it out. Excitement, another red flag, skewed my judgment. Only in recovery did I unmask this disorder, another manifestation of pride/control, still alive and flourishing in my shadowy depths.

And the bogus watering holes—In the dream, fetid waters gave me considerable pause, its filth evoking shudders, its secretiveness horrifying. Despite decades of honing discernment skills, I can still be hoodwinked by evil within gossamer disguises, or so the dream suggests, by my trip to Glen Echo. I had no business there. Only Higher Power can cleanse such lifelong disorders within my psyche.

With the Psalmist, I plead, Create, O God, a clean heart within me. (51:10).





Step Four of Chronic Pain Anonymous – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

 Decisions taken in CPA’s Steps One, Two, and Three placed me upon a unique spiritual path. Companioned by a new Higher Power and supported by my sponsor, I was inspired to explore the assets and liabilities of my character that were jaundiced by decades of living with negative emotions and thoughts peaking from my rheumatoid arthritis.

Fourth Step work in another spiritual fellowship had produced the vague outlines of my birthright. Somehow, I had survived childhood trauma that necessitated hiding out in fantasy; its obsessive activity shut down my instincts and spiritual faculties of thinking and willing. When I did venture into the world, only my sense of it mattered, and decades of harming others was left in its wake. Thus began my first amends.

Then, pen in hand, I took on CPA’s Step Four inventory, the first of the action Steps. Again, willingness, appeared in the Ingredients, this time, to work the Step. What immediately surfaced was anger in my afflicted body, so long deprived of my care and compassion; it felt like resentments wallpapered my cramped psyche. Other disorders companioned the anger, projecting onto others and myself the many faces of pride, greed, sloth, envy, gluttony, and lust, all burrowed within disassociation.

Listing my assets, and there were many, offsetted this darkness and created a balance view of my evolution: its truth informed who I was and who I was becoming, even during my end time.

My completed CPA inventory in hand, I owned the patterns and habits coloring my character and the motives influencing my daily thoughts and behaviors, both positive and negative.

More work on my disorders lay ahead in Step Five, another action Step.




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