I can see the colors now

Well, I’ve got about an hour before I get to my meeting, and I have a wonderful friend that is graduating from a sobriety program afterwards (YAY! - I'm going to go support her), so I thought I’d get my blog started early.  Hopefully, I don’t delete it this time.  Oi.

Earlier today, I went and sat at AF’s work (since I’m on vacation and all) and had lunch there.  I was probably there too long, so next time, I’ll just have to be there to eat, and maybe hang out for another thirty minutes or so – over three hours seems a bit loiter-ish.  (Ya think?)  During my visit, I was asked if I could go grab her and a coworker of hers some lunch from a sandwich shop just about three blocks away.   I agreed to do this, so I got their order, some cash, and headed out.

Today is a very cloudy day, not the kind of day to be walking.  The wind was blowing, and though not freezing, it was still a bit too cold for a light jacket, but I walked anyway, rather than drive.  It was a nice, little distance, and it felt great with the fresh air blowing against my face.

As I walked, the thought of what my sponsor had told me about service work crossed my mind.

“Being of service doesn’t mean only for alcoholic reasons, or only for alcoholics; it means for any reason, for anyone, alcoholic or not.”

I was doing it, without thought or selfish intent, and I was just as happy to do so.  I smiled (as I am right now) at the thought of how my outlook on "service work" has changed, just because of a simple explanation.

In the past, as recent as a week ago, I hated the term service work.  I could come up with all sorts of reasons why the term was so terrible, but mostly because it implied it had to be done (forceful) as opposed to it was done because it needed to be done (of a caring person); and I focused on only that – but after my sponsor’s suggested definition of it, it was like a new, brighter bulb was turned on.

When I was walking out the doors of my 28-day inpatient stint at a treatment center, a counselor asked me, “Do you see the colors yet?  See how everything looks different?”  Of course, being only 28 days sober at the time, and still full of fear, I lied to her and answered, “Yes.  Everything looks different.” I thought to myself, ‘What in the hell is she talking about?  Everything is still drab, colorless, and cold.  She’s full of crap.’  I really had no idea what she meant!

I just didn't understand what she was saying – to me red was still red, blue still blue, yellow, yellow, and green, green; but it was dull, like a foggy mist surrounding everything.  It took me about nine months before my body began to clear up enough for me to even think straight.  Even then, although the colors were deeper and more vivid, they were just that – colors.

As I slowly grew, in time, I began to notice the clouds again.  Not just “clouds,” but clouds.  I could see the contrast, the blue background, the gray shades, and the depth and definition of them.  This is when I began to realize that things were different.  That was roughly a year and a half into sobriety.  But still, I wasn’t quite there; I couldn’t see what she was talking about.

It’s as though I’ve had these layers of masks placed on my eyes.  As I peel one mask off, I see a little more detail, a little more color, and a little more brilliance.  This is what happened to me today, as I walked down the street of this town, where a major bridge was being reconstructed, and there were cars everywhere, people doing this, some doing that.  I could feel the people around me, and a smile spread across my face.


As I walked into the sandwich shop, I did something I hadn’t done in a long time – if ever, really.  I greeted the employees there with enthusiasm.  They looked up, smiled, and a conversation ensued.  A real, honest to God conversation.  Light hearted jokes about how I was missing part of the order were tossed around, with smiles and laughter.

This is what I’ve been missing?  This is what I’ve been hidden from all these years?  Not by my parents, or the church, or any prison walls – but purely, insanely, by fear.  Fear.

That is entirely unacceptable, it is not good!  And now – now is where it ends.  Knowledge of the Light only has to be seen and felt once, and then it cannot be taken away -- I've seen it!  I've felt it!  I now know this exists!

As I walked out of the shop, I could feel the cold wind cross my face, reminding me that I’m alive and well.  My step was somehow lighter than when I went in.  And the three blocks that I walked to get there, was brighter, even on this dismal day.  I listened to the construction workers chat, gabbing about their job and the apparently funny incident I had no privy to.  I smiled.  I could do nothing more to keep the single tear of the present moment from rolling down my cheek.



I returned to AF’s workplace, both sandwiches in hand. I knew I had more than likely screwed up on her coworkers sandwich, but guess what?  I left the fear of that mistake at the sandwich shop.  When the coworker had finished her sandwich, she simply thanked me and stated that it was very good like that.  I didn’t know people responded like that – or, I guess I did, but – Left Side and Right Side were certainly trying to me convinced otherwise.


With her head cocked slightly, AF looked over her shoulder and thanked me, too.  Of course, the pleasure was mine.  I didn’t want to leave, but I knew I must, because loitering can only be tolerated by any one person or business for so long, so I respectfully, and unwillingly, left – with a smile in my heart, and warmth in my soul.

As I finish up this blog, with only twenty minutes to get inside for my appointment, I realize that it is now raining outside. You want to know what I see?


People walking.  Vehicles driving.  Squirrels scampering.  And rain.  Beautiful, life giving rain, scrubbing the skies, soaking the ground.


It's all full of purpose, isn't it?  Life, I mean.  Everything we do, and everything that's around us.  All full of purpose, and color, and change, and energy.  I didn't see that before.  I couldn't see that before.  I can only wonder what the Creator has in store for me next.

If I just let the Universe take care of my needs, my needs will be met.  And for this, I am grateful.


I speak tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM locally.  Am I nervous?  Not as much as I thought I might be.  I'll just let it go, give it to God, and pray, "Thy will be done.  Aho."


Header image attribution:
Gladiola flower bud (2)
Martin LaBar
Changes made:
Image horizontally flipped
Color faded from grayscale
Cropped to 16:9