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Slow Springtime abundance

I’ve been thinking about the word abundance lately. Springtime weather has (mostly) arrived, and everywhere I look I’m surrounded by a riot of blooms…in the yard, on the corner and even hanging above the roadways where the ancient Carolina cherry and dogwood branches drip with blossoms overhead.

Abundance used to be something I thought of in material terms – an abundance of money, an abundance of things – but the word “abundance” has taken on a very different meaning to me now, in sobriety and recovery.

I’m nine months sober as of yesterday. It feels tremulous. I feel tender. As I once heard it described in a meeting, picking up a nine-month chip is like carrying around “a whole-ass sober BABY!!!” Which is hilarious – and true.

Sobriety feels like fresh, new life growing inside of me. Questing tendrils unfurling, green shoots reaching out from still-thawing, healing soil. It parallels the new growth and possibilities of spring. Today, the word abundance makes me think of the richness and the joyfulness of the lives we’re choosing to live at this very moment.

The way spring heralds both tempests of rain and idyllic, blue-sky days is a mirror to the tumult I feel inside of me. The resounding chords and claps of thunder and the sun shining its greeting upon the fragrant, burgeoning blooms. My feelings are abundant.

Every day arrives with an abundance of gifts, even those days in which my thoughts feel twisted and thorny and my heart throbs along to a discordant beat. I have an abundance of choices and opportunities in sobriety. I awaken each day, and I inhale mindfully and exhale meaningfully. I can look at this world anew, with awake, aware and appreciative eyes.

Eyes that are now free to take in the beauty that surrounds me – the cyclical nature of the seasons as they echo changes occurring within my own life. In meetings I’ve attended, we’ve been talking about recovery in terms of symbolism, likening it to nature: the strong, resilient root system of mighty oaks; the chrysalis that encases the butterfly; the spiritual and emotional garden we have growing inside of us that needs tending.

It feels poignant and intertwined with my own personal growth. Which my loved ones tell me is abundant – even though I can’t always see or feel it. This kind of growth is, for me, often as subtle as the dew on a distant blade of grass.

But I hear an abundance of love and understanding in their voices. And I feel seen, known and understood. I’m learning to relax into this abundance as the spring and my growth blooms onward.

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