Grace is one of my favorite words, and its meaning, the experience of grace, is dear to my heart. I have received probably more grace throughout my life than I ever deserved. I remember one day when my Bestie asked me “How do you define grace?” I was excited. She was seriously wanting to understand it better, and I was in a state of feeling it in a powerful way. It was serendipitous to me to share how grace shows up in my (and our) life, and what it is for me.
The easiest way I can describe my perspective of grace is to give examples of when I have been its recipient. Like the way(!) too many times I have driven after drinking more than I should and made it home safely without causing injury to myself or others OR getting a DUI. Like the extremely close calls of near-miss auto accidents, one in which an entire boat flew off the trailer to which it was strapped behind a large truck as it was being hauled southbound down a steep grade on the highway. The boat sailed over the center median as I was in the fast lane heading northbound up the grade, going home. The boat landed 100 feet in front of me, right in front of me! – and I was somehow able to steer my car around it and avoid smashing right into it or another car, which no doubt would have killed me. The fact that my car handled the extreme steering (at 70 mph) around the boat, didn’t flip over or loose control, and missed hitting the boat, was incredible. Grace was right there when I had a serious horse accident at age 26. I had a near death experience and was knocked unconscious when my head hit a large rock, causing a severe concussion. My crazy horse had been trying to run away with me, lunatic that she was, and she fell with me still on her back as she was galloping at full speed. I had severe amnesia for days afterward. I somehow regained all my faculties and lived to talk about it. Each close call rendered me unscathed (except for the emotional trauma!) and each was a miracle to me. There are many more examples of grace in my life, like being almost raped in Mexico but managing to talk my way back to safety. Like all the times I did really stupid, risky things as a teenager and beyond, and always landed on my feet escaping any confrontation with law enforcement. Grace held me through not one, but two divorces after long marriages, and grace has facilitated the maintaining of a deep and wonderful loving friendship with each man. Grace gave me my two sons, the whole birth and motherhood experience, and now grace has gifted me with a grandson who lights up my life like a Christmas tree. My whole friggin’ life is so very blessed and full of grace. Now, grace is with me, guiding me with her wisdom and knowing, as I am choosing sobriety while working in a winery, completely immersed in the wine world, as my role there means sharing passion for wine with others. Grace has been a dear friend to me, and I am feeling her presence in really big ways these days.
Alcoholics Anonymous was never a path I felt drawn to, as the term “alcoholic” always has made me cringe. I still have issues with it. BIG issues. Alcohol is the 4th most addictive substance in this world we live in, did you know that? Naming the poor souls who are victims of all the hype and lies and marketing bullshit big money behind booze creates, and calling them “Alcoholics”, is absolutely not right in my book. The success rate of AA is a mere 10%. That means that 9 out of every ten people who turn to AA are unsuccessful in managing their sobriety. Feeling like a loser just doesn’t prove to be the right motivator to change lives very often. Willpower can only last so long. I do not mean to bash AA as I know it is a lifesaver for many, and hallelujah for that. It just isn’t my choice of where to turn in sobriety. I believe there is shame involved in saying “I am an alcoholic” because of how our culture has been trained to perceive alcohol and addicts. That is not the fault of AA as much as our society in general, the obsession we have with drinking booze and honoring it as some kind of God. But I digress. An extraordinary example of grace that has entered my life and made an enormous impact is the author and sobriety pioneer Annie Grace. Her work in researching the myths surrounding alcohol, the science behind addiction, all the selfless ways she gives herself to help those wanting to become sober, Annie is grace embodied. I am eternally thankful to Annie Grace, and am one of her biggest cheerleaders. The world needs more brave souls willing to broadcast the joy, freedom, and truth about addiction, alcohol, and sobriety. A clear mind and heart is so much more satisfying and peace-inducing than booze. The sober sphere is full of amazing and wonderful authors sharing their experiences to inspire and support others. I love this world. I love being part of a community of truth seekers. I have found yet another magnificent tribe. I have found myself here and I couldn’t be happier about it. Grace. The Universe always has our back, we just have to trust her.