My two Goldens chased their balls down the grassy path and as I looked past them I noticed a familiar sight. A huge lab/ Great Dane mix named Hercules ran towards me. Fun loving and bouncing with energy, Herc escorted his owner through the park. Jerry rode in his motorized cart due to back problems and we had met each other on a few occasions.
Our dogs get along just fine; even when Herc will chase after Goldie or Squeaks ball and pretend to guard it by dropping it at his feet. Such a bluffer! But Goldie and Squeak have been a little slow in seeing through Hercís game. So with some help from Jerry and me, we make sure everyone gets a turn to fetch.
On this day however things turned out different. The dogs were able to share the ball without the owners refereeing-most of the time.
This was an important development since it gave Jerry and I time to talk. And this talk was a special gift that could only happen through fate.
As the dogs chased and retrieved and ďguardedĒ their balls, Jerry and I made small talk.
The usual talk of how oneís Christmas was, developed into a meaningful discussion of families, reconnecting to family, drinking and not drinking, finding inner peace and the conclusion that it is never to late to change.
Jerry mentioned that he had decided to reconnect with his daughter and son after a long break in their relation .In the process he learned he was a grandfather 10 times over and met his grandchild for the first time while visiting his daughter!
I found myself energized by this man who was taking the time to bring up personal and emotional aspects of his life. There seemed to be a natural desire between the both of us to talk about personal issues. And this became more evident when he was forthcoming about his alcohol abuse and recovery to which I related that I was in my 3rd week of sobriety. That made the bridge stronger and the meaning of our chance meeting clearer.
So much of what he said mirrored my life with the occurrence of alcoholism in his family and the void of expressing love to one another. Being raised in a house where love was not communicated hindered his ability to love himself and thus came the drinking and subsequent relationship problems
I reflected on my rehab where the focus is looking at what you have in your life that you donít want. If you didnít compare you wouldnít be upset and venture off to drink, drug, spend or whatever addiction soothed your anger.
Jerry followed with the need to look at yourself as number one. Not that youíre better than anyone else but that it is important to take care of yourself first and them venture onto other issues.
After visiting some AA meetings, Jerry enrolled in school and took some sociology courses in order educate himself on how to patch up old relationships. He also joined a church group to further develop a nice foundation for rebuilding his life.
Soon it was time to go and with a handshake and reintroducing ourselves, we went on our separate ways.
As I walked, I pondered what had just taken place.
I had met with my therapist earlier in the day and had set up a plan of action to deal with the issues surrounding my drinking. Since I wasnít numbing my mind, issues had been surfacing that I found uncomfortable and a cause of anxiety. It was decided that one of the important goals for me was to increase my social interaction. Being a stay-home dad gave me the environment I desired to hide and hold onto my issues.
I was thinking of going to a different park today but settled on old reliable.
Fortunately I did. Meeting with Jerry was just the type of social interaction I needed. Someone who shared my issues and offered their own story without proding.This definitely enhanced my healing and when issues regarding my drinking come up I reflect on my session with Jerry and things are put into perspective.
That is why I am learning to focus on the now and be aware of the moment. Who is around me that might supply me with some enlightenment and comfort or I supply them with same. That is the key to unlocking the hurts and limitations that affects oneself.
I look forward to walking my dogís everyday, and even if I donít meet up with Jerry, Iíll still remember where we had our session in the park and have one by myself. And when things get rough Iíll just remind myself, ďItís just a walk in the park.Ē