I have the insane blessing of having a corner desk in our back bedroom/office that looks out two windows to our backyard and woods.Just outside one of the windows is a small Asian Pear tree that I have managed not to kill yet. This is partially because I have surrounded it with a tall dog fence that keeps deer from eating it. My husband’s “lack of landscaping prowess” caused the grass within the fence area to not get mowed for the last month. This has made it very tall and dense. Perfect for building and hiding a bird nest…sort of.

One day, while I was working away, I saw a male and female sparrow repeatedly going into one of the bottom openings in the fence. I finally decided to investigate the next time my husband and I were outside. Sure enough, there was the nest (in the picture above) with the tiny eggs inside. I LOST MY SHIT!!!!! I was so excited!!! I was going to be able to see these tiny lives hatch and grow right outside my office window EVERY DAY! I would have a front row seat! I could watch all the magic without causing any harm. (I knew all too well what could happen if I got too close…)

When I was 4 or 5 years old, I found a robin’s nest full of eggs. I was so excited I took the gorgeous blue eggs home to show my family. As with most things that excited me as a child, a couple of my brothers quickly yelled at me and told me I was an idiot for bringing home the eggs. I didn’t know that by touching the eggs I had ruined them. My brothers assured me that the mother bird would reject the eggs now that I put my human smell on them. I couldn’t believe that any mother would do that…not to her own babies. (Another life lesson I learned way too early was about to commence in a most horrible and predictable fashion.)

I snuck back to the tree and put the eggs in the nest, exactly as I had found them. I made sure to wipe the eggs with a paper towel so that my smell would not be on them (so I thought). The next day when I returned, the eggs were all on the ground below the the tree. Smashed open. Yokes splattered in the grass.

Lesson Learned.

Obviously, there would be no touching the eggs I found under the Asian Pear tree today.

A few days after my latest discovery I noticed the mama and papa birds bringing grubs and tiny worms to the nest. Sure enough, tiny babies were born! Their beaks gaped open and their tiny heads bobbed on their frail necks as they cried for food. It was awesome! Right there in front of me…live action! Life was happening! I was was loving life…loving sobriety!

Then, my addict kicked in. You know THAT voice. The voice that tells you your happiness isn’t going to last. The voice that says,”What the fuck were those birds thinking building a nest on the the ground?! Don’t they know raccoons and cats walk on the ground?! I shouldn’t bother to get attached to these birds. They’re just going to die or leave anyway.”I like to call this voice “My Inner DICK”!!  Lots of us in recovery call this voice F.E.A.R. (Fuck Everything And Run). This voice ruins happy moments. Happy relationships. Happy thoughts. Happy possibilities. Basically, this voice wants me to stay miserable so that I can never get hurt again. Hurt myself before something or someone gets the chance. It’s such a DICK!!!!

I have learned to recognize my friend Dick. I say hi and tell him I’m not going to play today. He can go home and fuck himself. Thank you very much.

Now, this is the point in the story where I would like to think that the whole long-term sobriety thing kicks in. I would like to think that THIS is where someone could say,”So THAT’S why it’s worth it to stay sober.” Perhaps you may agree.

Fuck no.

Yesterday, I had a shitload of errands to run and then I went off island for a friend’s birthday. I didn’t get to see my birds. Look at me…such an addict! I actually have the EGO to call them MY birds!!!  Today when I sat down to work I didn’t see the mama and papa. I saw a little flattened path to the entry of the fence hole where the nest is. I did what my brain development and chemistry was designed to do as an alcoholic/addict: I panicked. I felt like a complete asshole when I saw the mama bird land on the fence and I yelped with glee! FUCK YEAH!!! ALL IS WELL IN THE WORLD!!!!! THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT!!!!! She had a tiny worm in her mouth. She hopped to another part of the fence. She ate the worm. “That’s okay. She’s just mashing it up so she can puke it into her kid’s mouth.”, I thought. Then she hopped to the pear tree. Back to the fence. Tree. Fence. Tree. Fence. Down closer to the hole. Back up to the tree. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!

She flew away.

I got on my shoes, went outside, bent down, and looked through the fence opening into the deep tall grass. There is no nest. No babies. Only one gray feather remained. They were gone, without a trace of evidence. Gone.

Guess who comes back, even louder than before? My Inner Dick. “TOLD YOU SO! TOLD YOU SO! TOLD YOU SO! TOLD YOU SO!!!”

25 YEARS PEOPLE!!! I have 25 years of sobriety and there’s still a “told you so” running around in my head!!!!!

Sober time means everything and nothing.

So, I go about unconsciously “applying these principals in all my affairs”…rambling on to myself…,” Yep, they’re gone. Building a nest on the ground is not the best decision a bird could make. I GET TO FEEL SAD about this. THIS SUCKS!!! Contrary to my ego’s belief, they were not MY birds. I am grateful I got to enjoy my time with them. I loved them. I send love to them now. To the mama. To the papa. And to me.”

Then, a little while later, as I sit staring at my computer feeling really bummed and asking myself VERY big questions that I had NO BUSINESS asking because I have NO WAY of answering them, something happened…

A doe entered my yard just beyond the fence where the bird nest had been and she laid down and looked at me. Just stared at me.


I took several deep breaths and stared back at her. We looked at each other for several minutes. 

This is not normal. Not even in my neck of the woods.

Eventually, I realized what I seem to keep getting over and over again lately…

With every loss, there is a blessing. If I look for it. If that’s possible. I will see it. And…none of this would be possible if I were using or drinking. NONE of it. And… ALL of it is truly worth seeing.

Sober DOESN’T suck.

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