My mother grew up in Parkersburg, West Virginia. When I was growing up, my family would make the drive from our home in Northwest Indiana to Parkersburg at least once a year.
When we were very young, interstate highways were still under development. So our route took us through small towns and a lot of slow moving traffic.
It was the 1960’s. I’m not even sure my dad’s company cars came equipped with rear seatbelts. If they did, using them was definitely optional, and John and I never exercised the option to use them.
We would spend the long hours of driving playing all over the rear half of the passenger compartment of the car. Nap time meant curling up on the floor. I would often nap or just sit there watching John play with his toy soldiers. He’d line them up for battle in that space between the back seat and the rear window.
If dad had to make a sudden stop, the little green soldiers would scatter. John would protest, but eventually just start over again. There was, after all, plenty of time.
We would always arrive after dark. Exhausted, and ready for sleep, it was hard for me to be excited to see Grandma as she would come out to greet us. I can still remember her coming out in her powder blue bathrobe to welcome us. Everyone else in the house might be asleep, but not Grandma. Man do I miss her…
As a child, I never gave a second thought to our safety on these long journeys. Mom and Dad are both the kind of people who can always be trusted. I could sleep for hours on a car trip without a second thought about safety. I knew we would arrive safely at Grandma’s house. I knew a soft quilt would be waiting for me on the bed that she had prepared for John and me. I knew I would awaken to the smell of bacon in the morning.
My trust was so complete. So was my serenity. Growing up, I didn’t understand that not everyone grew up surrounded by love and stability. I had no idea that serenity was something that eludes so many people. So many children.
Somewhere along the way, that serenity I had known as a child began to erode. As my universe expanded beyond my immediate family, I found my trust sometimes betrayed by others. I discovered that there was darkness in the world.
As my trust became more difficult to give freely, serenity was slowly replaced by worry. I knew I could trust my family, but beyond that, trust was becoming harder and harder to find. Growing up can be hard…
In recovery, trust is not optional. Everything about Narcotics Anonymous is about learning to trust, whether for the first time, or re-learning, as it has been for me. Trust in my Higher Power, God. Trust in my sponsor. Trust in fellow recovering addicts. Trust in anonymity. Trust in the twelve step process. Even trust in myself.
As I’ve walked through the process of recovery, and my trust has grown, so has my serenity. The worry that dominated my life just two short years ago is now gone. It has been replaced by peace.
I am learning to trust again. The fellowship I share with my friends in recovery is like those quilts Grandma always had ready for us. Warm, inviting, and full of love.
Walking into a meeting, any meeting, is like awaking to the smell of bacon in the kitchen. It refreshes my soul and feeds my spirit. There is comfort in the fact that every NA meeting opens the same way. The opening readings set the tone for the meeting just like the smell of bacon set the mood for each new day.
I don’t miss those car rides. They were long and boring. For the longest time though, I did miss the trust that I experienced on such road trips. Im thankful that through the program of Narcotics Anonymous, I have found that trust again, and with it, serenity.
Have a remarkable day!