Posted in Recovery, Today's File

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.


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.


  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!


  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! :-)


  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!


    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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