Posted in PostaDay, Recovery

Rescue Diver

“We sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men… A new life has been given us.” ~~A.A. Big Book p.28

suiting up for certification dives, 1992
This far below the surface, 120 feet of seawater filters the color spectrum so only the blues and blacks remain. When I shine my pocket dive-light on the reef it becomes a paintbrush, reds and pinks and oranges popping into visibility in the small circle of unfiltered light, the black lionfish flaunting its toxic frills, suddenly revealed in full tiger-technicolor.
*
Sounds carry in water, but there are few of them—I distinctly hear the snap of my air-tank O-ring giving way, the thunder like a reverse waterfall of my air free-flowing from the blown valve, a silver column rushing toward the distant surface. My thought is deceptively calm as the air-bubble-dragon flicks its tail at me in farewell: there’s no hyperbaric chamber on this island, a rapid ascent will be as lethal as the next reflexive inhalation which is a moment away. Slow-motion like my thoughts, I grasp the knife sheathed at my calf and strike my empty tank with its hilt—one more metallic sound carried through the water.
*
I know the desperation of a drowning woman.
*
*
Through the downward spiral of my drinking, the serious serial disasters—each of which seemed earth-ending to the sane people around me—I finally reached my bottom, the moment when the thing I would next lose meant more to me than booze.Yet I couldn’t stop drinking. I’d blown out the O-ring on my own spiritual supply—my distress call this time by cell phone rather than knife-hilt, to the sponsor who hadn’t heard from me in a year, and who responded immediately by extending Hope.  I wiped dust from my blue paperback Big Book—colored in earlier days with my own scribbled notes, Post-its from my husband, drawings by my kids, cartoons taped on the covers—and re-introduced myself to it.  “Hi again, I’m Kana.  I’m an alcoholic.”  I crept back to my home group, where women folded me into their arms and taught me again how to pray.  This is what we do.
*
*
research diving, University of Hawai'i

One hundred twenty feet below the surface, God answered my distress call in the person of another woman, her arm extended with the air-supply she’d removed from her own mouth to share with me.  More than a mile offshore, we buddy-breathed to the surface, alternating breaths from a single source for the interminable duration of a safe ascent.  Colors reappeared as we rose, breaking at last into the full glory of a tropical afternoon.

*

In these 24 hours, because God sent me another alcoholic, I can breathe in the full spectrum of the supernal world.   In these 24 hours, I can gratefully extend a spirit-supply to an alcoholic drowning in my same sea—God’s gift of purpose to all of us.  Blessed breath be with you today.

 

~Originally published in Slippery When Wet, April 2011.

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Author:

I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

28 thoughts on “Rescue Diver

  1. My dear, you are absolutely amazing. Your writing is phenomenal. While I am glad you blog and very much enjoy your posts; you should be writing your memoirs and novels. Your writing has undoubtedly touched many lives already, but in a book imagine how many more! The Love of God shines through in you and its so beautiful. God bless you.

    PS.. Is there anything you HAVEN’T don’t?? Hahaa.

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  2. What an inspiration! And, in the the midst of my own addiction, I feel my own prayers have been answered. Thank you so much for the very thing I needed to read today!

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  3. Kana, what a wonderful gift you have for finding the parallels between addiction and disasters that even normies can wrap their head around. I really love reading your posts!

    Thanks for sharing! :-)

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  4. This was a lovely post! I originally dropped by to thank you for taking the time to read my own blog, and now I’m wishing I had taken a bit more time to polish it! If your fiction is half as good as your blogging, you will blow nanowrimo to smithereens!

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    1. You’re too kind–but I thank you for the encouragement. No idea yet how I am at fiction–but November should give me a clue… ;)

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