Chica
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🌻🌞My Sunrise🌞🌻

A poem I wrote in the early weeks in rehab when I didn’t think I possesed ‘depth of feelings’. I was to soon learn when they slammed into me like a Mack truck but this is beside the point today.

This morning I didn’t physically watch the sunrise but I feel it today in my spirit and I see it every time I look at my nieces Melanie and Hayley and into the faces of Melanie’s babies Alyse (Ally) and Isaac.
Think of a drink , think of these faces, they are too precious.

The feature picture was taken by myself one amazing sunrise in Burrill Lake, South Coast NSW.

My Sunrise
By Michelle England

This morning the sunrise belongs to me
Rising in grandeur delighting the sky with his tender hues
Gently, softly, slowly, teasing
And then he bursts in brilliance and glory
Painting the clouds complementing his beauty
The land opens up to accept the sweet gift
Soulful birds singing their descant song soaring
Flowers in worship unfolding faces to the sky

I open my heart and pray
I pray thanks for this morning and the sweet birds
Thanks for the crisp air the trees and the flowers
I pray thank you for life and all things in being
I pray thank you, just thank you, whithout a name

This morning the sunrise belongs to me
A dance in my heart the rhythm of memory
Startling in beauty carrying me away in the moment
Enchanted in joy
There was just him and me
🌹

Jack in a box
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Meet Jack

I’ve named my addict Jack.

Lately I have felt like a Jack in a Box. Each night I pop Jack down on his spring and push the lid shut. I go to bed relieved, grateful to get through the day. Sometimes I physically exhale a huge breath as I thank God for another sober day because I was sure I wouldn’t get through it dry. In the morning I wake and the box is there, my first thought. Most mornings I manage my prayers and begin my day but invariably somewhere throughout the day he springs and frightens the crap out of me.

I imagine my Jack as a maniac circus clown, crazy hair, big red contemptuous smile, wild open eyes, total madness behind, and the long cackling laughter of the insane. In one hand he grasps the neck of an open bottle of red, crimson liquid spilling and splashing as he boings this way and that, jesting away on his spring. In the other hand Jack holds a spliff, waving it around, smoke coiling from the glowing tip. Devil knows what he has concealed in his pockets ready to spring at me any time. And there Jack remains bouncing all day around and around in my head, trying to take control, playing his tricks and whispering in my mind.

There’s a bridge nearby and Jack has an idea. “Why not stash some booze under the bridge. Tell the folks you are going for a walk because that’s normal anyway, no suspicion there.” When I am alone on my bed he has more super ideas, “Why not Google the closest pub, bottlo or club to the house, that’s handy information to have we might just go there. I bet they have good food.” Such a clever fellow my Jack, “We’re in Qld, lets go home Mum and Dad won’t be back for a while, lots of drinking time just have to hide it from bro.” Or “There’s white in the fridge and red in the pantry, both in casks, just one of each, they won’t know.” He has countless more inventive and of course foolproof ideas but I’ll share just one more of his genius suggestions. **”Uncle Jack gave you a flask, let’s take it to a meeting and on the way back fill it with booze and no one will know, they’ll just think it’s water in there. And, Oh don’t forget Vodka doesn’t smell.”

Thankfully I have been smarter than Jack and today I am winning. Each attempt of Jack’s that I have resisted has made me stronger and tonight when I put that lid on his box I’ll glue the damn thing shut, wrap it in duct tape and throw it away. If he comes back I’ll have to call him Houdini.

I look forward to tomorrow as Jack fades from my mind and each day gets better and the insanity fades. Today my heart is filled with hope and plans for a bright future, love of my family and service to others.

I think I’ll get a new box with an angel inside… And if Jack reappears my angel has got gloves and isn’t too holy to use them!!!

Blessed πŸ™‚

**My real Uncle Jack and a water flask not a hip flask

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The Cloak

I spent 7 1/2 months in a long term drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in 2014. My start in the rehab was a breeze because when I entered I considered myself a human lacking feelings, and certainly I wasn’t feeling any. ‘I just have no depth of feelings’ I liked to share with my therapist and my peers in this therapeutic community. I was warned about ’emotional detox’ but didn’t think this applied to me. I didn’t cry much.

Suddenly at around the 8-9 week mark a flood of emotions assaulted me as my personal ’emotional detox’ began. I cried solidly for a couple of months and a heaviness consumed me. I wasn’t to break out of this until a few weeks before my departure on completion of the program, and for the 2 3/4 years since this darkness has not often been far away. Initially It began on waking. I opened my eyes each morning and the first feeling, before even a thought entered my waking consciousness, was dread. It felt like ‘Ugh’. I wrote ‘The Cloak’ toward the end of my stay in the rehab.

I feel I’m wearing the cloak today πŸ˜” however this too shall pass

The Cloak

By Michelle England

Perfect unconsciousness
Black, dark, still
I wake

Ahh…

Recycled air escapes from deep
The place just outside my soul
The cloak so soft descends upon me
False comfort easy to get lost in
Sweeps me up in folds of grey
Laying me down in the hazy shadows
A simple paradox
Tenacious surrender
Secure and warm in this fragile cold place
Enticing me to stay
So soft so gentle

Stay…
Stay

Ahh…
In…Out…

My sigh resides
The place just outside my soul
Resides there in the darkness

A murmur from deep
Close your eyes little one close your eyes
I will lull you in my folds
Lay your head down in my bed of shadows
I will hold you

Stay…

A robust spark rekindles
Burning brighter warming from within
Spreading tender strength and courage
Fractures the fog of my hostage mind
A smile so tiny toys upon my lips
A solitary peaceful tear marks a path upon my cheek

Ahh

My sign surrenders
The place just outside my soul
Bringing forth with might and valour
The rainbow of my spirit

The cloak turns drab and heavy
Folds of dark foreboding cold
Deception plain, name revealed
Time to bid it go

Time to breathe
Time to rise
Time to be

Time to shed
My melancholy cloak

photo credit: spaceamoeba Golden walk via photopin (license)

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Home

Above the clouds, my country Australia below I contemplate what home is to me.
Home is friends. Home is love. Home is where my heart is. Home is with God and God is all within and without.
Whenever I have faith I am home.

I am home πŸ’—

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Let her Go🎈

Let Her Go

By Michelle England

Let her go
Pray she will be set free
Let her be
Let her fly if that’s what she needs
Let her go
Breathe through the pain that’s not what she means
Let her go
Let her be

Let her go
Trust and stay true to me
Let her be
When she is ready she will reach my way
Let her fly
Be there when she is in need
Let her go
Let her be

**Inspired by Passenger’s Let Her Go; which was running on replay through my mind when I was trying to deal with a situation beyond my control or how I’d like it to be. It was either stay in sadness and self pity or breathe, remember her pain, have faith and set her free…

Writing and sharing brings me the grace of peace 🌈

photo credit: Lenny K Photography Hitch Hiking via photopin (license)

Footprints
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Friends for Life

As I spend my last few days in Cambodia the feeling is bittersweet. I am ready to go home but I do want to stay. Travelling particularly alone we cross paths with many like-minded people, become friends for a time and inevitably part ways. I have made friends here in Cambodia that I know with every fibre of my being we will be friends for life. We have shared a special and unique bond and gone above and beyond for each other.

Although my footprints have washed away we will always walk together x

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To My Readers

For those of you who read my posts and I feel this is very few, I thank you. My purpose is partly for myself as a form of therapy and attempt to understand what I do, but also in the hope to help educate people on the powerlessness of addiction as a disease and not of moral deficiency. I also hope to reach others in my condition as someone to relate to and share with. If I help anyone along the way I am so grateful that I have the opportunity through my words. Additionally I am attempting to establish myself as a freelance writer but this will only be a small part of my blog and a nice light and enjoyable (mostly) thing to share with you as I know of late most of my entries have been quite heavy. I look forward to sharing my progression in recovery and spiritual growth as well as entertaining you with my poems and stories. Please Like and Share my blog so that I may reach more receptive people.

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Cunning Baffling Powerful

Addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. The disease is not in the bottle, the substance or pill, It centres in the mind, has a physical allergic component and a spiritual malady. The solution is not just to stop drinking or taking drugs, the disease is still there and this is what needs to be addressed. I felt I had personally done a lot of work and gained self awareness and valuable understanding on my alcoholism feeling internally that I would never drink again. Even in times of distress it was just no longer an option. Then one moment during deep emotional turmoil the desire struck and became overpowering even though I was doing the right things for my sobriety (mostly, and there probably lies the key). I knew the consequences and I knew it could not end well. I knew I would be breaking over 2.5 years of sobriety and in excess of 800 hundred or so days without putting alcohol to my lips. It didn’t matter what I knew at the moment I bought alcohol. The smell repulsed me but I drank, forcing the poison down. I drank against my will or want, my addiction or need was too powerful, I had no defence. Once I started, naturally the phenomenon of craving began and I could not stop. Here began a dark relapse that took me places I had never been before. The progressive nature of the illness meant I was just where I left off years before and I could drink just as much or more. I managed to pull myself up but in the 3 months since have experienced 3 more relapses. Two of only a couple of days but this last one of 6 days was not my usual isolated drinking and was a pretty wild experience in the capital city of Cambodia and I feel lucky to have escaped without harm. I won’t go into detail as I am writing an elaborate account of these past few months hopefully to be published in the right forum.

The morning I left Mui Ne Vietnam to start my journey home via supportive friends in the south of Cambodia I was eating my final breakfast at my guesthouse cafe. Sitting at a table just metres from me was a woman of about my age, head hung low, hair covering her face and unable to sit upright without sudden jolts sideways, just catching herself before she fell. A half drank beer in front of her and a lit cigarette burned almost to her fingers, the ash indicating it had barely been smoked. I wondered if she was in fact asleep until she suddenly stubbed out the cigarette and stood abruptly, returning to the cafe fridge and helping herself to another beer then plopping back down heavily at her table. I don’t think she had any awareness of myself or locals who passed by the cafe staring mainly in what looked like disgust at this heavily intoxicated woman at 6:30 in the morning. I didn’t look upon her with disgust or pity just love and understanding and a bolt of gratitude struck me that ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’ I had seen this same woman inebriated on occasions before and it was fair to surmise she is an alcoholic such as myself. I wished there was something that I could do for her but of course there was not. She is walking her path as I am my own. I had now decided to continue my path in Australia where the support of family and friends is essential and the adventure of travel no longer appealing without a strong sobriety intact. Nothing is fun in the roundabout of relapse.

The woman was still there as I lugged my backpack and sport bag past the cafe to the bus waiting area. I sent a silent prayer her way that she may be shown the light of a better life and the courage to walk that way. I pray that prayer for myself often because I know its worth and truth.

I was travelling again at just 6 days sober myself after a small relapse in Mui Ne which was the crux of my decision that Australia was the best place for me and my recovery. They had been difficult days of sobriety so close to a relapse and I didn’t trust myself to stay overnight in either capital of Vietnam or Cambodia so I linked my buses as best I could. However my late arrival in Phnom Penh necessitated a stay. I had three buses to arrive at my destination of Otres/Sihanoukville in the south of Cambodia. The first 5 hours would deliver me to Ho Chi Mihn City and the relief and joy in my heart knowing I was on my way home was welcomed with warmth. After just a one hour break the next bus would take me 7 hours and across the border to Cambodia’s capital where I arrived at 9:30pm. I was happy and free of urges just after leaving Ho Chi Minh having witnessed the woman that morning and the gratitude that brought and knowing that my friends and family were waiting, happy to see me. Not long into this second leg I received a crushing blow from one who loves me but has an inability to show it. My joy totally deflated with a bang like a popped balloon. My default to think of a drink crept back in and suddenly I knew I wanted a night of drinking in Phnom Penh before I would arrive to my supportive friends. My final bus was at 8 in the morning. I prayed and prayed for the obsession to drink to be removed, I prayed for the bus to take longer to arrive at my destination until the obsession was lifted. I thought of my family, the babies, my friends and everything I hold so dear to me, but it had already set in and when the insanity has arrived I know it is inevitable. How can my thinking change so drastically. How can I be so powerless against my own will. I can be at a place of total conviction that I do not want to drink and just by one simple thoughtless incident I have a different mind. My addict takes over.

Sure enough off I went. I failed to catch my bus the next morning waking with a start at 10:30. I could have easily caught a number of buses that day but the cravings had set in and I wanted more time to drink. I missed a series of buses over the next few days, lost most of my possessions except my passport and computer and eventually was in hell where I could not drink anymore but I couldn’t not drink either. There is no place worse than this and only oblivion removes it. I managed to book an early bus that would collect me from my guesthouse and somehow got myself on this and arrived to my waiting friends 6 days late. Blessed to have arrived at all.

This crazy 6 days demonstrated to me once again the cunning, baffling and powerful nature of this disease. One day I sat with a grateful heart that I was not this sick woman beside me in a cafe, the next I was that woman, the setting not identical but the level of degradation, hopelessness and powerlessness just the same.

July Diep
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Respect

Whilst in Vietnam recently I had the pleasure to interview an amazing local girl by the name of July Diep (Pronounced Julie). I had met July previously on two occasions at her business, the local Warrung in Mui Ne Vietnam. Warrung is an awesome Balinese style healthy buffet. They serve unreal healthy food with friendly, happy service. On first impressions July is noticeable to say the least. She is a super friendly, funky looking chic, has the attitude to match and is just rememberable. (Yes I know that is not a word but I like it ok!) I was first sent to Warrung by my kiteboarding friend Joao who is a seasonal visitor for almost half the year to teach kitsurfing. Joao also told me that July was the first female kiter in Vietnam and is still the best. As a freelance writer naturally July was a subject worthy of investigation but little did I know she would make such an impact on me, and hopefully readers.

July is refreshing. She’s no bullshit and a straight shooter. She speaks her mind and bares her soul. I came in for lunch and she sat with me after and shared part of herself with me. Straight away July was straight up and honest. An obvious question for a kite interview with a fellow kitesurfer is how, when, why? July’s answer came straight. In her late teens early twenties she was caught up in addiction. She didn’t elaborate except to say ‘Dark drugs’ and from this I can only surmise ice or heroin. Her parents did their best to get her out of her self destructive lifestyle but were not successful. July took the initiative. She knew she had to change and she knew it required definite action. This inspiring young woman approached a local kite centre. Kiting had been around in Vietnam for about 4 years and July had noticed the dynamic sport. As she explains it herself she knew she needed something that would give her greater feelings than drugs and kiting looked just the ticket. Approaching the centre she offered her services as an administrator in return for being taught how to kite. A perfect harmony and bam! this was July’s beginning. Now she has been kiting for 10 years and has established herself as Vietnam’s premier kitesurfer, she competes and wins everything locally, she holds sponsorship from Rip Curl Vietnam, has found passions in skating and surfing also and lives a happy healthy and grateful lifestyle.

Thank you July, the pleasure was all mine.

http://muine-info-and-events.com/index.php/2016/07/11/warung-cafe/