Today is my 31st anniversary of being sober. Once again I am in Peru for the anniversary, just come down from the high altitude rural Andes where I have been doing field work for the past few weeks. That environment is a good place to reflect on gratitude, beauty, life, and hope.
Gratitude for the opportunity to build relationships and make new friends in this rural place. Gratitude for an understanding of what is important – family, friends, and place trump all the materials gadgets and other such success markers of life.
Beauty for not just the natural world but the people and their relationships too. For people whose language I butcher quite badly.
Life is not easy in the rural Andes. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. Although there is plenty of time for gossip and bickering, there is also a simple reality of existence – an acceptance, not excuse making – that I find very healthy and nurturing.
The Andes is about hope and the need to act on that possibility to make it real. Whether because of disasters that are cultural or natural in making, there is a perseverance and resilience that is motivating.
I am thinking that these now annual trips I make in July-August each year to the Andes, and then my sobriety anniversary occurring as the trip is winding down and I am getting ready to return to the US – as an opportunity for reflection on the year past in preparation for the year to come.
And of course, were it not for my sobriety, if I were even still alive, I would still be making excuses on why the world is out to get me, how no one really understands, etc. etc. and drink myself into oblivion to both avoid and intensify my misery.
Today, life is good and I have nothing in the world to complain about.