What do you mean, “Draw within the lines?”
“What about all of these other surfaces that need decorating?”
I was about six years old when I was happily coloring at the kitchen table and then looked up. I suddenly had an idea that little colored crayon circles would look nice just above the drawers and below the countertop on the kitchen cabinets. Wow. It did. It looked beautiful.
I continued around the entire kitchen with my glorious idea. It was almost complete, when mom walked in and saw me drawing with crayon on the kitchen cabinets— “oh, she’s gonna like this...”
A whack on my bottom stung so painfully, I stopped in my tracks with such surprise. I guess she was not pleased. How was I to know that crayon art was limited to the coloring books or paper on the kitchen table. And, even if I did know that, who made that up? If it was fun drawing on paper and in the coloring books, drawing on the cabinets would me MORE fun, right?
I learned boundaries from my mom and dad. What was acceptable and what was not. As an adult, I grew into loving painting on watercolor paper and canvas. The boundaries were not so clear in my “drinking thinking” later in life. I didn’t have any whack on the bottom to warn me getting drunk was out of bounds. No pain or consequences to suffer (except a hangover) to help me realize that it was not good behavior. I didn’t know when to stop. And, frankly, why should I? Aren’t we still having fun? If one was fun, wouldn’t twelve more drinks be quite delightful? Isn’t more of everything always better?
My dilemma as a child and the drawing experience, was learning the boundaries of my mother’s rules. The boundaries of drinking for me were nonexistent. One was never enough. So when I got sober, I had to change my thinking about drinking. I have a sober friend who always says, “It’s not the drinking, it’s the thinking.” If I didn’t take that first drink, I wouldn’t get drunk.
Huh? It’s not the first drink that gets me drunk, it’s the third, fourth, fifth and so on. I had to learn that if the first drink didn’t happen, the likelihood of more would not happen either.
Hmmm. I had to replace that first thought of a drink with something else. How about a conversation with another human or with God? Yep. That helped. Again and then, again.
Then, I had to figure out what to do when those feelings of having the first drink appeared again. What was I thinking or doing when I wanted that drink? I was usually bored, mad, anxious, resentful, and wanting to take myself down a notch. What else would work?
Prayer. Walking the dogs and prayer. Walking the dogs, prayer and a meeting. Walking the dogs, prayer, a meeting, talk to my sponsor, and oh yeah—working the steps.
Yes, this worked.
It has worked for me for 5100 days in a row.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9