Rebirths, Resets, Reunions

Bodies have parts.

Like limbs, parts make up the body. And those parts are made up of smaller parts. Bones, blood vessels, sinew, flesh. At the cellular level, our bodies are made up of millions upon millions of parts.

Those parts make one unified body. We don’t question how the body comes together. It is irrefutably whole—the many moving parts of one closed system that draws breath to survive. It comes together so nicely on the outside. What’s happening on the inside is a different story.

Our internal body—our sense of identity—our soul is always searching for its parts. Used ones, usually. Often, our psychology fuses together the parts we like in others. And, if we are incapable of welding those parts together, we can pretend to have them nonetheless.

Fate can’t be denied either. Our parts are often destined and determined to make us us. How often, the more we struggle against the inevitable, are we becoming the very parts we promised not to become?

It’s not our fault that we are endlessly searching for parts, like some hobby mechanic. Although the appearance of the body to the outside world is whole, the world is constantly judging it by its parts. It’s what we mean when we say that someone saw a side of us: “That was a side of me I never wanted you to see,” or “Make sure you get my good side in this picture.”

Social media doesn’t help our deconstructed image. We post our pieces to the public, the pieces we hope the public would like enough to share or comment on. Our parceled selves are mistaken for wholes. It makes it difficult to escape our wrongdoing. Our mind convinces us that the darker, sicker pieces of us make the whole, when they only make a part. And everybody has those parts. Everybody.

This is one reason I love recovery so much. In recovery, you learn you are not the worst you’ve done. You learn that those pieces of you that are unacceptable can be treated, ignored, removed or otherwise dealt with. Most importantly, you learn that everybody shares the same parts, we only use them in different measures.

 

Rebirths

Rebirths occur. When the internal body, our sense of identity, our soul is reborn, all our pieces fly away faster than we can gather them back. It’s my experience that, in rebirths, our many pieces scatter irretrievably from us. The internal body separates from the external body, and we return to the world the way we entered the world. The shock is the sort of shock that occurred when we left the internal body of our mother for the external world of existence. The reentry is as drastic as going from the warm, dark comfort of the womb, to the cold, blind light of the world.

I was in a church in Mexico when I experienced a rebirth. And I’ve long wondered just how spiritual in nature that rebirth was. I was clinically psychotic at the time. I was seeing and hearing things that were not real. This makes it difficult to categorize what happened to me as a spiritual experience. I consider it a spiritual experience because I haven’t found it necessary to take a drink or a drug since then. I was reborn as a sober man, and a man of faith.

And, being reborn, those were the only pieces I wanted to carry with me. As I was ready to die, all the pieces that came before the rebirth, I just assumed to let die.

 

Resets

Resets are different. They occur when our pieces are spinning out of control. They depart from us faster than we can retrieve them. It’s like we carry a bundle of marbles and the marbles are pieces of us. Once one falls and starts dribbling away, we can’t reach for it without letting several others also fall and dribble away.

So we hit the reset button.

We take a vacation, travel back to the home grew up in. We buy or stream that latest album from our favorite artist. We take the time to regather, regroup. I think it’s why we say that we “collect ourselves” or “pull it together.” We are actually gathering our many parts, trying to make those parts whole again.

I did it just this weekend. Two days and nights away from the kids. Just me and my wife. It was the longest time away from the kids we’ve ever spent together. We pressed the reset button on us. And it felt great. Resetting allows us to return to our pieces, the ones that were slipping from us, with renewed vigor and appreciation. Letting the pieces go for a short time reminds us how grateful we are to have those pieces for all time.

 

Reunions

Then there are reunions, like the one I took my wife to this weekend, my 10-year college reunion. Those have a strange effect on our parts. For example, since the last time I was at college, I experienced a rebirth, a drastic change, an exchange of parts.

The parts I lost, I discovered again this weekend. I learned they don’t actually die, they just wait for a reunion. We unite with those old pieces once more; it is a reunion of parts. We discover—at least I discovered—that as much as we want to never look back at certain parts, because a rebirth gives us shiny new ones, our parts have survived; those parts still make us us. There is no escaping them. And there is no shame in it, either. We have already learned in recovery, or at a church service, or in a good book, that everyone has those parts, people just use them in different measures.

The reunion is powerful, a return to the roots that made all the pieces possible. And I’m lucky. I discovered what I already knew. I made friends with people who love the whole of me, not any part in parcel of me that I juggled and dropped in front them. What more can a good friend do, then see passed all those fragments to the internal body, the soul?

 

We got back on Sunday night in time have a Father’s Day dinner.

My children, coming off a reset weekend without their parents, ran and crashed into our arms. Of the many pieces I have yet to know, and the many reunions to follow, I am sure glad those children—those bright, spacious pieces—will always be a part of my soul.

 

 

20 Responses to “Rebirths, Resets, Reunions

  • Great piece. Most of my ‘parts’ are being drawn together by my very public recovery…but there inevitably still some secret parts I hold dear..

    • I’m very much the same way. Some parts I keep secret. But, this recovering out loud thing have made so many of my parts public. Mostly freeing. It can also be infuriating.

  • I’m glad you enjoyed the reunion; they are difficult for some of the sober crew. I’ve always enjoyed mine. As you say, your friends are, well, your friends. Also glad that you and M were able to get a little break. Keep moving forward, Mark!

    • Thanks HD! It was really good. Good for M too, who hasn’t been there for that part of my life, to see what the hell I’m always talking about.

  • Excellent post brother. Yes, our true friends love us, all of us, despite our imperfections. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip.

  • I spent Father’s Day with my father – at a place that I worked at for many years, drank at for many years, that I credit as being the place I learned I may have a problem with this drinking thing.
    Each time I go to visit the city I’ve moved away from, I step off the bus and it is like armor clings up my body from the foot that has touched the sidewalk – like in those kid’s superhero shows. Instantly, I can go to battle in this big city. I get to where my dad is, this place that I credit with the majority of my ‘dis-ease,’ and we hang out. Just talk, soak up sun, and exist.
    We are grabbing some lunch at the patio bar I started my bartending career at, I’m talking about my current work to an old regular. “…and a bottle of wine.” They offer as a tool I need for my job. Before I can take that giant breath I take before explaining why I don’t drink the way they used to see me do, my father – my old drinking partner, the payer of my bar tabs, the person who taught me that life is short so always “drink the good rum” nor the rail stuff – he reaches across me to tap this woman on the arm softly, and says, “She doesn’t drink anymore.” And that was it. We moved on in the conversation.
    Talked about re-unions of old selves, resets and rebirths all in one day.
    And I got to experience it all, and be aware.

    • Wow. What a story! Yes! That is a blending of a lot of pieces right there.

      I wasn’t offered or pressured to drink once over the weekend. That shocked me. I think it’s because it’s just been so long. I mean 10 years? That’s long enough to give everyone a clean slate, I think. I hope.

      What a dad! Standing up for his baby girl. What a story!

    • stepsherpa
      2 months ago

      Good read for me this am. Thanks.

  • In its own way this had a same thread as what I learned this weekend about time. How valuable not only all parts of us, that makes us unique, are but also those precious moments where magic happens in our lives. Rebirth, reset, reunion and they happen daily because now we know just how precious our treasure of time is. Find it comforting to be so different but to always connecting in new and soulful ways. Great post brother.

    • Kip! Isn’t it remarkable how we seem to be always writing on the same topic in our own corners of the recovery universe. Your post was excellent. And this one is so similar, all about time disappearing into the now. That’s awesome. Have a great week man!

  • Incredibly insightful post. It explains so much of the healing process. One of the most profound things I heard and then came to understand is, “You are not your actions.” And never were, unless you choose to carry those memories with you. But those memories resurface until we can forgive ourselves (and everyone else involved) or at least review them in a new light — one of forgiveness, knowing that we all face the same basic challenges.

    I would love to hear more about the Mexican Church. (I had a similar experience.) Do you have a post describing it?

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Oi. I don’t. I have written about it. I will post it, one day. It’s hard though, you know? Posting about the depths of your psychotic plunge. I will post the whole story. I want to. I guess I’ll just do it when the time is right. Which is not right now.

      I also think you keyed on the main point. We are the whole, not our parts. We can’t get bogged down in the different versions of ourselves that we feel pressured to be. Shed those parts like a snake sheds skin and rise!

  • Wonderful post Mark. I’ve spent so long looking at parts and seeing how they connect, disconnect and “re-union”. It’s a never ending process. But a worthwhile and beneficial process for me….

    • I’m glad you can relate. I never can be sure about things when I hit that publish button. What might make sense to me could make no sense to the next man or woman. So it’s always good to hear if it resonates with you.

  • And, as the mother of one who has recently begun his journey of recovery, I still feel so proud to see my kids–all of their parts included. Despite their worst mistakes or perhaps because of them and their ability to reset after those mistakes I stand amazed at what wonderful individuals that they really are!

    • Wow, what a perspective! That’s like next level acceptance, graduate level stuff. Thanks for dropping in Jean, always good to hear from you!

  • Dude. Seriously. Best fucking thing you’ve written, methinks.
    See? It made me curse.
    If I start to get at this, my response will be twice as long as the post. So suffice to say you hit all the marks (no pun intended) and more.
    Fantastic writing and message, man.
    Paul

    • Wow, Paul, thank you!
      I can never tell what’s going to hit the mark with who and how. You know how that goes. You just keep swinging. Sometimes you miss. How cool that this one really struck a chord with you! When I write them, there is usually at least one point in the process where I feel like I’m striking gold. This one felt pretty good, so I’m glad it’s not entirely in my head.
      Also good to hear the funk is clearing for you, a bit at least, or is starting to.

  • Another beautifully penned post. You surprise me again and again with the best insight and powerful prose. Thanks for the read, and hope you had a happy Father’s Day!

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