Saturday, February 2, 2013

All That Can Be Saved

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"Dreams are excursions into the limbo of things, a semi-deliverance from the human prison."  ~Henri Amiel

This is the re-telling of a dream.  Not just any dream, but a dream that spoke to me like no other I have ever had.  You see I am an avid dreamer.  I always dream no matter how short the nap. There is a memory of walking another world while I sleep each and every time I am not awake in this one.  Remembering back to my dreams as a child, they were more often stressful or what one would call a nightmare most of the time.  That still holds true for me today.  Sometimes they are bizarre or inspiring, but the majority of the time they are just one big muddle of calamity.  From the time I was little I always would be trying to escape some kind of danger, and in that intense departure, I would at times be attempting to protect something else, when I was a kid it was the family dog; Pepi, a cantankerous little Chihuahua that my mother probably loved more than my brother and I.  I would scoop him up under my arm, and carry him to safety.  After I was a step mother at the raw age of 19 it would be my young step children.  All three of them would somehow be held within my arms as I found a way to fly with them high up away from danger.  Then there was my first and only child I have given birth to in this world, a little boy that has been rescued in my dreams and out of them more times than I could ever count.  As if I was Hercules, I could carry him and my other children all together within two arms and still escape in flight somewhere away from harm's way.  So it is not unusual that the dream I had on this particular night was about trying to escape.

First let me start by saying that being the child and mother of alcoholism and addiction, rescuing and escaping seem to be a great part of the pattern of my dysfunctional actions in the past trailing into a stumbling mess right up to the present.  That all being said, I will now tell you the dream:

 In my dream I was driving my car down a freeway I had never seen.  In my mind as I drove I remembered letting my son drive it the time before. As I was moving forward, suddenly a cop car was behind me shouting out of a bullhorn "PULL OVER THERE ARE DRUGS IN THAT CAR!"
I desperately tried to find an exit or road to pull over on, but there was none to be found in that strange highway in my dream.  So eventually I made the decision to just keep going.  I drove fast and faster until the police were nowhere in my rear view mirror and I finally ended up at a strange large mansion where there were many other people that were running from the law.  I entered quietly and did not completely speak to anyone there, but somehow understood their plight.  There was a tension there that hung hard like outlaws from old trees in the waist lands of the west.  We all knew what was ultimately coming; we all would have to face a certain prison. 

Like all dreaded scores that must eventually be settled, the time arrived like the thud of thunder after the lightening flash.  The only thing left to do was either hide in the building or escape and flee on foot.  The next thing I remember, I was about to exit the building almost like it was on fire, yet it was not.  Suddenly, I was no longer in my body, but hovering above the outside doorway at the exit of that strange mansion of fools.  What happened next is what I cannot forget.  As I gazed down from the air I actually saw myself as I am now walking out of the building, but I was not alone.  In one hand I had my granddaughter and in the other was another child, but not just any child.  It was me when I was a child holding onto my adult hand.  Staring down at what I like to call a vision, I realized something deep within myself.  What I saw before me was a glimpse of a message to my soul.  My granddaughter represented my future, and myself as a child my past.
I could save neither.  I could only save myself in the here and now.  Not by my own hands nor by running away from trouble, but by standing right where I am and letting God be God and not trying to do His work.
I am not the fixer of all wrongs, nor the saver of all souls, that is the works done by the grace of God.

 I cannot say that this revelation has miraculously changed my actions completely right at this time, but it has been weighing on my heart and mind day by day giving me a glimpse of hope in the miracle of recovery, my compulsion to smooth the rough waters and silence the roars of dysfunction are slowing down.  It is like the recovery quote: "change only happens when your pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go".  My need to hold everyone and flee for safety is becoming a weary task, I want to avoid, and the layers of denial have been removed piece by piece layer by layer like the peel of an onion or fruit ready to be utilized for its purpose.  Where once I had no sight for my hands and arms were covering my view afraid of the disarray that may stand before me.  Now I simply have my hands gently over my eyes with a slit at the iris like a child watching a scary movie...I am seeing and gaining more courage with is just a slow  process.  I did not get to the place where I stand now all in one night, it happened over a long period of years of broken behavior that built a wall of denial a continent wide.  Walls like that cannot be assembled in a day, nor can they be completely torn down in one either.  Recovering from the past and getting healthier now, is a manner of growth that truly never ends.  It is an ongoing journey that as long as we are in this world never reaches a destination.  The longer I am in recovery the more I understand that it is a brutally honest undertaking that one has to be willing to embrace completely like two lovers truly in love. No holds barred, no stones unturned, everything must be brought out into the light of day raw, naked and real. So here I am awake in the light of day with arms wide open not grasping to save what I cannot, but willing to salvage what I can with the help and grace of God.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.


  1. Dreams fascinate me, which is perhaps why this post fascinated me so much. The vividness in which you describe your dream is truly something. I have often wished that somehow we could record our dreams for later watching so that we could pick up on all the hidden cues and meanings. Great post Carrie.

    1. Thank you keith....I agree recording our dreams would be an amazing way to descover hidden meanings when we go back over them. :-)

  2. wow ....def a vivid dream carrie...that you remember so much of the dream with clarity is telling as well...i def think there are things we can learn from the dreams we have...things they tell us on how we live....

    1. Yes this one was a vivid one for me...that helped in re-telling it....and it did have a lesson in it for sure....thanks Brian for reading it...I know it was a long one. :-)

  3. Carrie, this is the most amazing piece of writing i have read for a long time. I so hear you - I, too, am a "child of and mother to" addictions", a professional rescuer and escaper. The turbulence of the lives around me taught me to cultivate an Inner Tree. In everyone else's crises, I learned to go within, be still and strong and steady so they would have something to hold onto as they flailed about. My lifelong search was for peace, which I finally achieved about halfway thru my life by becoming a hermit. I especially love your realization that, in the dream, your granddaughter represented your future, and the other little girl your past self. Wow. You have amazing dreams. (I only dream of cleaning out industrial warehouses all night long, I wake up exhausted!) This is a remarkable piece of writing and I thank you for sharing it.

    1. Oh Sherry that is a great compliment coming from made my day! It is always such a comfort to meet other people that have been through the same thing....that is why I go to Celebrate Recovery meetings......and I do understand about your dreams of cleaning out industrial warehouses all night....sometimes I dream about cleaning houses and getting lost trying to find my next location....and I wake up frustrated and tired....anyway, thank you again for your wonderful encouragement Sherry! :-)

  4. p.s. that little chick? oh my vulnerable. I saw a horrifying film clip about what happens to those little chicks in those monster industrial preparing-food-for humans places. It is utterly sickening. As if they are not living creatures, who feel pain and fear.

  5. It seems to me (one of the greatest cop out lines ever) that anything can be a drug leading to addiction.
    Even loving others perhaps more than is healthy
    I think we need drugs because we feel inadequate without them.
    We wrongly feel they make us whole and we're afraid to let go of what we've come to believe is a high.
    This life, this loving, is a tough row to hoe.
    So hard to find balance
    To just accept what is as it is.
    Sorry for ramblin
    Interesting post, Carrie
    Thanks for sharing

  6. It is hard to find balance in life that is for sure can ramble anytime....I will listen, but you are not rambling at all....just voicing a wisdom from what you have seen, and that is what we all should do. :-)

  7. Thanks for sharing, Carrie. I love dream exploration. You and I should talk about Jungian dream analysis some time. I agree it enriches your life. - Maggie

  8. Carrie, I love what you wrote. I think it's wonderful that you took the time to write this in such a way that it is meaningful to all of us out here and not just to you. Dreams are very personal, but sometimes they are something that need to be shared, and you did a great job of that. Keep writing.

  9. Lovely post Carrie. I love the vividness of your dream. I can never remember my own, so I'm always intigued by those that can.

    -- Monica

  10. Carrie - This is a very vivid dream with many layers to it my first thought would be to ask you how did the dream make you feel..what emotion. Dreams are keys to the waking life there are messages in them. If it were my dream I would look at my own life to see what changes I can make no matter how small and I would find ways to strengthen myself. Carrie what will you do to honor this dream?

    Wishing you peace..


"Our best thoughts come from others." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson