Getting real; staying clear


“Your Task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” ~Jalal ad-Din Rumi

My brothers nicknamed me “killer” as a young kid. There were four of them, and they were all older than me. My tiny frame hid the fire in my belly, and I learned to be quick and agile. I played baseball with boys, rode my bike to places that nobody had time to take me to, and I became as strong as the best of them.

My grades were really good in school and made friends pretty easily. But, I spent a lot of time alone in my room listening to music. My mother said that I was really “sensitive”, and that I saw and heard things that other people didn’t. She spoke as if it were a burden to her, but she was already burdened by something I didn’t ever understand. I didn’t want to bother her for some reason, but then, I didn’t want to bother anyone. I rarely asked for help because I told myself I could do it on my own. Very masculine in a good way. And it worked for quite some time. Especially as a trial attorney in a male dominated profession where the metaphors of success were war and sports terms.

Everything within me railed against admitting that I was an alcoholic. Denial Is not just a river in Egypt, right? I was terrified to be dependent on anything and the realization that I was dependent on alcohol really freaked me out. In a good, and liberating way.

My brother Don has been a rare gem of a mentor, and a spiritual guide. It made sense that I called him to tell him I was an alcoholic. “That must have been so hard for you to admit, MaryAnn”, he gently said as we talked.

“Actually, Don, it feels liberating.” And it was. Something within me had shifted, as if a portal was opened. I could feel it, and it felt good.

Within 48 hours, I was accepting a ride from virtual strangers to get help. I had a car, but I chose not to drive myself. At the end of that fateful day, I arrived at a social detox center, via a cab ride paid for by the hospital. The place was dirty and chaotic, and in the basement of a building that felt like a bomb shelter. But, the threat of annihilation had forced us all to seek shelter there. It was in that dark and dirty place that I began to open to a new way of seeing. I was no longer the attorney or the tough little girl that played with boys.

I was broken, and lost, but willing. A peace came over me that allowed me to know that I wasn’t alone. People were curious and asked, “What is a woman like you doing in a place like this?”


That’s all I had to say, because that is all I could say. That is what joined us there. Where we came from really didn’t matter.

Mary said, “Pray that you have an eye that sees, an ear that hears, a tongue that tastes, a nose that smells, and a body that feels. For many are they who are dead, whose senses perceive nothing, but you have been called to life and raised from the dead. Therefore, pray to be fully alive.” The Secret Gospel of St. Mat Magdalene, saying 58 as found in St. Mary Magdalene, The Gnostic Tradition of The Holy Bride, by Tau Malachi, (Llewellyn Publications, 2006,    193 pages.


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