13 Jun

This morning finds me walking the wide deck of the grand ocean liner Queen Mary. I am sailing in the North Atlantic somewhere just east of Nova Scotia on the second day of a seven day journey to Southampton, England.

The weathered teak deck is spotless. The varnished steamer chairs face the ocean in perfect lines. I look past the rails to the pale wash of blue sky streaked with soft clouds, the cobalt waves dotted with flashes of white foam.

Strong pure nature invites me to find my own strength. I am grateful for the buffeting of the chilly six a.m. wind, the serenity of the deck, the graceful intelligence of the ship’s design.

A gentleman in a yellow rain suit aims his power washer at the painted white rails and the large plate glass windows facing on the deck. I wonder if he would agree to scrub me as well. I could use a good washing.

Already I have fallen off the wagon and, sullied and ashamed, climbed back on again. The temptations on board were too much for my fragile recovery: a half dozen saloons, cigar lounge, champagne bar, casino. One mojito at the outdoor Sail Away Party and three months of sobriety disappeared into the famous Atlantic fog. Then came wine, menthol cigarettes (ugggh), quarter slots and hopeless flirting with an indifferent Englishman.

Relapse is shameful and depressing. One drink and my year of sobering up seemed to have evaporated more rapidly than the wash water on the deck.

The early morning, however, brings a new and welcome perspective. Though sheepish and suffused with self-contempt, I am grateful that i did not drink on the second night and have started my recovery anew. I am thankful for my Higher Power who led me away from my self-annilation onto this lovely promenade and the embrace of a pure bright bracing blue day.

I breathe in the sea and feel love, feel hope.


Posted by on June 13, 2011 in At Sea, Meditations on Nature


3 responses to “Adrift

  1. downsizingthehome

    June 14, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Look how much more quickly recovery begins now. Doesn’t take long at all to remember how good it feels to feel good, right? Enjoy your voyage and hang onto that wagon–it will take you to the stars!

  2. Phil

    June 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    You are so brave to share this, and so smart to understand it. I think, I think, that brave and smart count for something. Can they beat shamed and sheepish? Any day of the week! Remember what Edward Albee said in Zoo Story: Sometimes you have to go a long way out of your way, just to come back a short way correctly. So breathe deep, shake your head, spit defiantly over the railing, and enjoy the cruise. (And say hi to Uncle Dwayne for us!) Love you — Phil

  3. Caroline

    June 15, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Thank you for this beautiful and very graceful post. You are incredibly courageous and I thank you for sharing this with us. I wish you a lovely voyage. And look forward to more posts and photos of your journey.
    Love to you. Caroline


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