My shell collection is extensive and surprisingly sturdy. I’ve dragged them around with me from all my travels over the years. But I’ve run out of space to display them. And I wonder why I’ve collected so many. What have they represented to me? Maybe the assurance that something of me will be left behind.
Ego. Such a fundamental part of the human condition, the very thing that makes me human. And it’s my ego that has the power to separate me from God.
It’s ego that keeps me struggling in my relationships, ego that keeps me from accepting things as they are and feeling content with what I have. Ego and my willfulness beneath it that traps me in my restless search to outdo myself and others.
And it’s ego that makes me want to leave an imprint in the sand.
All human beings wrestle with ego, but substance users have found a solution that elevates them from their soul sickness: losing themselves in substances and behaviors that provide oblivion for a time. “We want what we want when we want it.” That tired old phrase smacking of egocentricity and immaturity.
Substance users in their disease are all about themselves. In Alcoholic’s Anonymous, one definition of an alcoholic is an egomaniac with low self-esteem.
To be “relieved of the bondage of self,” as the Third Step Prayer states in the Big Book, I’m learning how to nurture a relationship with God and remember my place in relation to him.
My importance is next to nothing in the scheme of things. This keeps me right-sized and humble.
I’m just another grain of sand on the beach.
© Marilea C. Rabasa, 2020. Excerpt from Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation (She Writes Press).