Broken, Unbroken


These days are a blur, in some respects.  A whirlwind and yet standing still in some ways.  Like watching a top spin on the table.  Fixed, and yet eyes lost in the swirls of motion.  I run a lot these days.  I need to.  I like to.  And when I run, my body breaks down in tiny ways.  Fissures at microscopic level erupt and later repair, making everything stronger.  But in the meantime, I am fatigued.  Sore.  Ice and medication and wraps help.  But there is fatigue.  There is an ending to this all, of course, a race coming up, and hopefully I can finish that race.  In the meantime, I run.

There is a cycle of broken, unbroken that swirls around me lately.  Small cycles nestled in large ones, like microclimates within the bosom of the seasons.  In the large season, I was a broken man with a crippled spirit and diseased mind.  My body was fatigued, but because of alcohol abuse and poor choices.  My soul was crushed like an old beer can.  But I got into recovery and started to mend that brokenness.  I am still mending.  I have my microclimates in the meantime.  They may feel like maelstroms but pass, and like trees after trauma, the roots become a bit stronger.  The bark a bit tougher.

I try to look at the whole picture, the big shot between the clouds and the suns rays, past this earth and into the other world.  In inner world.  I use gratitude as a slingshot.  I use Creator’s callings and nudgings to do so.  But I often fail in that and see things through human eyes.  But I am human, after all, and do my best.

I read the blogs, I hear people share in meetings, I scan the newspapers.  I see a snapshot of a totality that is way beyond my mere human one and it both gives me pause for reflection and as an opportunity for further gratitude.  But in comparison to the heartache, the pain and hurt out there, I see that I am just a grain of sand.  Suddenly, I feel silly talking about sipping an adult beverage by accident.  I feel ridiculous discussing how once again ego is nipping at my backside, or how many miles I ran this time.  It seem fraudulent in some ways.

Does it matter how many grams of protein I am getting when others have no food period?  Does it make any difference what kind of shoes I am wearing that day when many don’t have?  Is it acceptable to moan about first world problems when I read about others who are suffering greatly, alcoholics and non-alcoholics?  Perspective would have me say no.  Gratitude would have me say that I should be bloody well be happy to be sober, happy and well and for me to shut the hell up on everything else.  Help another alcoholic and get to bed.  Stop whining about everything else. There is a plan afoot.

There is a certain brokenness that pervades me these days.  I can’t pinpoint it, and it’s rather vague.  I am physically well, and I connected to God and pray for an open heart and open mind in my daily affairs. I do laugh and I do my best as a father and husband.  But there is that human weariness that has been preying on me lately, and am seeking guidance in this.  This is nothing to worry about nor is it something that bears motherly “tsk tsk it will be okay”‘s.  It just is.  And like everything else, it will pass.  Good or bad, or whatever label we put on such things, it will pass.  In the meantime, I just observe it and bring it to light.

Like that muscle tissue, there are fissures in all of us.  Micro tears in our spiritual fabric that will get stronger as we do what we need to heal.  It’s gradual.  Or it is for me, at least.  I needed to heal physically first, then to carry on mentally and spiritually.  It’s an ongoing thing.  It’s a marathon.  I guess it’s my job to do what I need to do.  As we all do.

I see there are many bloggers counting days lately, and I tip my hat to them all.  I know what it’s like.  I see friends out here who have broken past the early years of sober talk and now getting into deeper territory with eloquence and charm, and I tip my hat to them all.  I see that there are many out here who suffered, or continue to suffer, in afflictions other than addiction, and I tip my hat to them all.  I see many who have broken into bigger medium and carrying the message to so many more, and I tip my hat to them. There is a greater deal out there than this bottle thing.  Bottles are but just a symptom of a greater problem.  And that is where I hang my hat at night.

This post probably doesn’t make sense.  And feel free to move along if so.  No offence taken.  But as I pass through the places where I am urged to pass, I take stock of things.  That heaviness right now is neither bad nor good.  It just is.  No need to feel sorry about it.  Broken becomes unbroken, as long as I trust the process and just let it be.  I am no longer in charge of this flight, so I just do the next right indicated thing.

For those of you who are struggling, who are hurt by loss, who are wondering why things are the way they are, for those who are getting banged up in some way, I offer you this: nothing in Creator’s world is by accident.  We are where we are needed to be. Acceptance is the key, the answer.  Surrender is the way to freedom and victory.  And things will always work out the way they are supposed to be.

They become unbroken.



43 Comments Add yours

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Learning the lesson of your last paragraph. Peace be with you, as well.

    1. Thank you…very much appreciated. Hope you’re well, my friend.

  2. Dede says:

    I’m feeling a similar heaviness right now. Trying to move past it and be grateful…..peaceful…and accept the grace that is given. Beautifully written. Thank you.

    1. I hope that the heaviness passes for you as well. Grace is a lovely word and it certainly fits here. Thanks for being here and the kind words.


  3. Art Mowle says:

    Absolutely understand everything so beautifully writen. “It just is” mkes so much sense. I too am in a “place” where I must just trust God. That He had a plan for all. Great post. Peace to you as well.

    1. Thank You Art. I have learned reading your posts, in their honesty. Trusting God and the process is where I am at today. I am not in charge. Just have to remember that.

      Blessings to you and thank you for being here, my friend.

  4. fern says:

    I love your humility in this post. It’s not worrisome to me at all, it shows you’re deeply in tune with the thoughts and feelings that move through you. I am also trying to be consciously aware with the knowledge that all things shall pass and what remains is me without judgement or suffering, without my ego trying to take over, I am in the peaceful present.

    Love this sensitive side of you.


    1. Not sure if it’s humility, but it’s something I suppose. Sounds like you’re on the right path, and that peace is well deserved.

      1. fern says:

        I feel like I completely missed the mark on your post. 😦 After I wrote it I wasn’t sure if I was being too positive for what you were conveying. I wanted to take it back. Sorry about that, Paul. I meant well, really. 🙂

  5. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Peace be with you, my friend. That last paragraph says it all for me right now…nevertheless, I know I have to start to do something different before I fall off the ledge.

    1. Thank you J. I hope that things turn around for you as well. We’re never alone.
      Blessings and hugs

  6. Kate says:

    Great post, Paul. Sometimes I feel wearied and overwhelmed with the state of things in the world – sometimes my own life, sometimes just seeing all the evil and destruction and pain that exists out there. It can feel oppressive. But your last paragraph is key in copings – nothing is by accident. Somehow, God is working all the evil for good endings. I don’t always see how it is possible, but trust that that is the reality is really the only way to cope, I suppose. Thanks for the ‘deep thoughts.’ I can relate, lol.

    1. Thank Katie…yeah there is a greater plan out there and unfortunately we’re not in on it. Just see the next little step ahead and that’s it. I can decide to take that step or not. I do have free will, but in the end, I have to learn to trust that He has it. Always did and always will.

      Thank you for being here…hope you are well 🙂

  7. Sometimes the world tries to tell us we are but one in billions, and it is good for putting things in perspective. But it is also important to understand the significance of one individual. Because YOU are important, to yourself and many of those around you. I am sure you have changed people’s lives and influenced how others think and behave. So your thoughts and feelings are thus equally important. I often get patients who says to me.. Oh doc, I am sure you’ve seen much worse, and I often say, yes, but this is a bad thing that’s happening to You so it is important we concentrate on getting YOU better. Everyone is important, to themselves and to someone. 🙂 Love the post and how you try to work things through in your mind, I detect maybe a little ?Guilt ?maybe 🙂 Peace.

    1. I love the example of the patient there, Tiff. I am not sure if there is guilt, but perhaps there is. Maybe I am not aware of it? But I understand the power of will and dedication and all those things. We aren’t robots either. It’s a balance and I am just aware of not making it all about me, because for a guy like me, that can lead to unpleasant ways of being. Just keepin’ it in check. Thanks for your warm words of support, as usual. You are fantastic.

  8. Ah, how beautifully written this post is. I wonder whether that “certain brokenness” is actually what makes us human. To “observe it and bring it to light” is an inspirational call and I thank you for it. Love from The Sober Garden x.

    1. Great call, SG. I have a book I read a while back called “The Spirituality of Imperfection” by Kurtz and Ketchem and it talks about this. I should probably re-read it with different eyes. Thank you for your support. Blessings.

  9. Livinglifesimply says:

    Your writing is wonderful. If only I could put my jouney into such wonderful words as yours. I have been sober for almost two years now. I am in such a peaceful, happy place. I have surrendered to god. I do a mantra each day for what I am grateful for. I start with A for abundance. B for bliss. C for carefree life and so on. My life has transformed so much. I must say I do not get those heavy feeling days anymore which I am also truly grateful for. Thank you again for your posts. Take care. xx

    1. I am glad to hear that you don’t have those heavy days. I am almost always in the same place, but I am probably a bit hyper-aware of when I am off. Perhaps I make sound bigger than it is (really, an alcoholic doing that?), but I like to pin it to the wall and stare at it, I guess.

      Blessings to you and thank you for being here.

  10. Tracy says:

    It makes complete sense Paul. You’re an alcoholic! And in recovery! And it’s a journey not a destination. There will sometimes be those broken kind of days…luckily we know what we can do to feel less broken:-)

    1. I have to remember that, don’t I? I will learn that lesson one day. Thanks Tracy

      1. Tracy says:

        We will help you remember when you forget:-)

  11. mishedup says:

    beautiful Paul.
    i have nothing to add except my love to the mix.

  12. jeffstroud says:

    The Broken becomes unbroken ! The “magic” if you will, is that recovery works, when you work it! Healing begins once we admit we have a problem, in any area of our live. A Marathon doesn’t get accomplished in a day. It is the training, is the running everyday, building up the strength and resources. Somedays we feel weak, we can’t do it, or we don’t know why we are doing what is is we are doing. We have goal, something we didn’t have when we used, something we didn’t have when we had a hangover.

    Gratitude, a relationship with Higher Power, relationship with Self and everyone else in the world.

    Great Paul, Thank you so much!

    1. I had a longer reply but my own blog ate it. Needless to say, Jeff, you help me every time you swing by and make your comments and observations. I truly do. But I get that way during runs when I wonder why I bother or why should I keep at it. But I do. And I go back out knowing I need to. I am not going anywhere.

      Thank you and abundance of blessings to you.

  13. Paul says:

    Hey Paul! How goes the battle? I have felt the way you described and although I am sure there are elements that are unique to your own situation, I can tell you what made a difference to me. You say: “Acceptance is the key, the answer. Surrender is the way to freedom and victory. ” I don’t disagree with that as far as it goes. Much like the Old vs New testament, there is another important way to perceive life, that does not negate the original but rather adds to it. And that is Grace. The words you use – acceptance and surrender – are indicative of going along with that which you would not have initiated or intellectualy agree with . And you are doing it to follow a path that your faith insists that you take to find the answer. And there will always be subjects or questions like that in everyone’s life. And yet there is more. That is a base layer of believing much as the Ten Commandments are the base rules in the Old Testament. God is laying down rules and consequences. A necessary part of any structure, belief or otherwise (i.e teaching school, estabishing a safe workplace, organizing a city, etc, etc). Once God is accepted and those rules are explained and described, then there is another level. It is the level that Jesus brought to the Bible – Grace.

    Look around you at what you have, how beautiful God’s world really is. That we have been given all this through no effort of our own. This can only follow the rules and the acceptance and surrender, and it carries one forward into the beauty that surrounds us daily. A single blade of grass is more complex than anything Mankind has ever built or imagined. That we can stand in the light of God’s Love and reach out to others and spread that love. Or as Micheal Jackson says in “The Man in the Mirror” : “If you want to change the world, look in the mirror and change the person you see standing there.”

    Anyway Paul, I have known the large, empty, cold feeling you described, in my past and I have addressed it with Grace. As surgeryattiffanys said – you are special, as is everyone. God loves you as much as any person in this world and His love is complete. He does not expect you to save the world – in fact it is specifically said that you should help your neighbor, not everyone. Take care of yourself and know that you are as important as anyone else. Look around you and see the gifts, the Grace, that God has given us. And treat the world that way – you will be surprised what a difference it makes. And don’t get down on yourself if your Grace slips, it does for everyone upon occassion.

    Great Post Paul. Thank You very much.

    1. Paul I can’t tell you how this has helped me. I have to say I almost got teary reading this. It certainly gets me to the core and perhaps speaks to me more than I thought. I have always known that I stood in Grace and that I am to be grateful for it. Grace got me to where I am now – nothing to do with me by any stretch of the imagination. I tried to do it my ways for decades and it didn’t work. But His way did.

      I have to balance the idea of being a mere servant for Him and also trying not to be too special, if that makes sense. Ego has a fine way with me, and reading my own press brings me nothing but grief.

      You are a kind and soulful man, Paul, and I am blessed to have you here. Thank you for your wise and wonderful words.

  14. jrj1701 says:

    When you said

    Is it acceptable to moan about first world problems when I read about others who are suffering greatly, alcoholics and non-alcoholics? Perspective would have me say no. Gratitude would have me say that I should be bloody well be happy to be sober, happy and well and for me to shut the hell up on everything else.

    and a certain verse from an old Beatles song came to mind,

    And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree living in the world agree There will be an answer, let it be
    For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see
    There will be an answer, let it be

    I struggle with let it be, always struggling with the half-truth of I can’t change others, yet my actions and words can help someone who is struggling to come closer to God or chase them away from God, yet if I do nothing then I have to live with the fact that I sat by silently while another mad brother/sister died inside their wall. In the big picture I am nothing and also I am something very special, a unique individual creation of God that has something to share, even if it is only to remind folks that God loves them.

    1. Big love to you JR for this. You really helped me here by what you said. You certainly did not sit silently and you certainly helped this brother out.

      Abundance of blessings to you.

  15. Good morning Paul! You always give me something big to mull over as I sip my coffee. Deep stuff here, and I am seeing some real growth in your perspective:

    “Broken becomes unbroken, as long as I trust the process and just let it be.”

    It sums up a lot of what I’m dealing with in my life right now (and dealing with is way too dramatic a term, but I’ve only had one cup of coffee, vocabulary does not kick in until after two cups). Which goes to prove that no matter how different we appear on the outside, we are so connected within.

    Thanks for starting my morning out right 🙂

    1. It’s true that we’re connected within. I hope you’ve had a great Sunday and thanks for being here. Blessings to you.

  16. mike says:

    Welcome to the real world bro. Do you ever feel like – at the core of your being- you are like a red flag hanging off the rope of a current tug of war match?
    The consensus around here is that it takes around 5 years -give or take- to get your marbles back. The last leg of that period is he worst. I know. You got the tools and some healthy diversions to keep you occupied. Stick with it kid. I guarantee you wont be disappointed.

    1. I have heard that 5 year thing many times. My sponsor is getting his 5 year medallion tonight, so I am excited to go. But I have seen major shifts in him in the time we have been I see your point. I know it will be alright, Mikey. I just know it. Gotta slog it out at times. I plan to stick with this like my life depends on it. Oh, because it does. Love ya, Mike.

  17. That human weariness…I started to complain about something my kids did the other day and then I saw how trivial it was. First world problems, like you say. We are so privileged in comparison to most of the world. Just being able to type these words is a privilege that most people don’t have. I’ve been finding myself wanting to take off my armor more and more lately, to stop analyzing and just live. Beautiful post, Paul, and very timely for me. Thank you for what you do.

    1. Thank Karen. Hope you’re well. Blessings and thanks for being here.

  18. Hi Paul. I can’t express adequately enough how this post moved me. Thank you. Please, whatever you do, continue to blog. Please.

    1. Thank You Maggie. You made my day. Blessings to you.

  19. byebyebeer says:

    It makes perfect sense. The days have always been a mix of tough and easy, happy and sad, but lately I feel more comfortable with the tough and sad. I observe and sometimes comment about it, but I don’t mean to complain (really) or elicit sympathy. I know it’s normal and, best of all admittedly, transient. Acceptance is the answer. It’s only starting to make a little more sense lately and still and maybe always very hard for me to put into words. And yet you did so here so thoughtfully, gently. This is some beautiful, top notch writing. This is what it feels like after 3 years sober. This is not what I knew it would be like, but this is what it’s like and I love it and I’m grateful.

    1. I didn’t know that this would be where it’s at as well. Just as I don’t know what years 5-10 will be like. As you said, it’s transient, and I certainly don’t share to elicit sympathy as well. So I am with you on this. I think my ego thought that I would have “gotten” this by now, but it’s just the beginning.

      Grateful to have you here.

  20. sillymelove says:

    You are an amazing writer… thank you for this!

    1. Thank you for being here. It made my day.

  21. furtheron says:

    Honestly … I flinch at that quote from the book – the bit about “nothing in Creator’s world is by accident” because very simply I don’t believe in a deity like that, therefore the control hand of the almighty is an anathema to me. So I flinch and recoil from that as it doesn’t fit my (imperfect) model. However I do believe “I am where I am allows me a reason to achieve something” even if that something is not obvious to me.

    If I can read a little between the lines is this a “What’s this all about?” question you find posed in your head now? If so I’m with you. In some ways my life has actually lost meaning since I got sober. When I got sober I was in a hugely well paid job with big responsibilities etc. Now I’ve been slowly dismantling that and shuffling further back from the front of that stage. Frankly I need a new production and a new stage – probably one off Main Street a side streets production with a co-operative feel and less scripted outcomes so that starting stage left doesn’t lead to a series of acts that move me to stage right with a bigger wallet and smaller compassion.

    Still for me a work in progress – must frustrate the hell out of my family and friends who don’t get how and why I’m continuing to question and change on the inside. Incidentally the world at large does not help matters with a bombardment of stories that make you question motives and actions not just of the fanatical view but of those elected representatives who seem to be able to prevaricate endlessly about intervention vs freedom whilst civilians just watch all they knew in their lives taken in an instant, then those same people tell us to protect our borders from these poor unfortunates when not unreasonably they leave the camps they have been forced into to seek a better life where we live in relative luxury and utter safety.

    See Paul – we we get sober we also have to learn to deal with these adult issues with a conscience we cannot drown out in a sea of booze.

    Oh – just so you know, there are loads of people who have read your blog who you have inspired in some way through your story – you have made a difference and continue to do so in your way

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