Pilgrimage to There, And Back Again.

Sixteen days ago, I drank too much and bought a gram of cocaine, ostensibly as a ‘Fuck You!’ following an argument. It was actually a ‘Fuck Me!’ doing no one but me any harm, and showing me up as a fool. 


So I decided that in a lifetime of grand plans and grander gestures, what was needed by me, for me, was to undertake a massive quest of personal hardship in – as a mate put it so aptly – the belly of the beast. I was given the opportunity of attending AfrikaBurn, a fantastic, phantasmagoric exploration of music, trance, art, electronica and self, some 140km from Ceres, near a place called Tankwa. With 5,000 people,  mostly off their tits on drugs of one sort or another.


Family and friends railed against my decision to attend, slating the need to prove this to myself, and the risks were very real that I would not come out the other side sober, or even OK. Or even alive. Dramatic? No. 140km from civilisation, and at least 100km from cell phone reception, in the dusty Karoo desert, if anything went wrong, it would go wrong badly. It did for one young lass, who suffered an aneurysm on the last night of the festival, and died, Monday morning, nameless, and alone. But she died in a place she loved, doing what she loved. And that deserves respect for her soul.


I don’t demand your respect for my soul, but I WILL take your respect for my action, with humility, and thanks, because although the messages were few before I left, they were profound, during the event from strangers I met who heard from me on offering a joint or some mushrooms or MDMA that I was doing the seven day blast sober, and from friends and family on my return. 


I had some idea of how many people were following my journey, and some inkling of how many were inspired by it, but it was only tonight when speaking to my lifeline, James, that I realised that this is not some amateur dramatic presentation, this is MY life, HIS life, OUR healing, and suddenly, I realised what I had risked by taking that journey. It was not just my sobriety, or my life, each dependent on the other, but it was also James’ healing and his escape from solitude. There is a welcome responsibility there, as with people like Mariet, and Allison, my sister Lynn, the people at my N.A. meetings, and at A Way Out, all of whom depend on my stories and my progress, just as I depend on their compassion and support.


For the first time in my life, I realise what it is to be needed, to be depended on, to have a responsibility for another human being’s happiness. I relish it! I cherish it! I unashamedly renounce the years I selfishly thought I had responsibility for myself alone, and that my life was mine to do with as I please! 


I am alive, and I am happy, and I am happy to be HERE, now, part of James’ life, part of my friends’ and family’s lives. I am proud and humble (not quite as conflicting as you’d think!) to be part of the living, breathing community, the vital machine, and key to the happiness and success of these people, because they are key to the happiness and success of my life.


I went to the desert, to slay a dragon, and I gave birth to a phoenix: ME!


Find your desert, slay your dragon – it’s the next, most vital step.
© healing.me 2012. All Rights Reserved.     

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