this is the type of soup I gravitate towards in tough times. some variation on onion and garlic gently sweated in olive oil with cumin perhaps, or chilli. then simmered with chunks of starchy sweet vegetable – carrot or parsnip, sweet potato or butternut squash – and some stock. deeply flavoured chicken stock is ideal but Marigold powder fine. always red lentils added for ballast and comfort. often coconut milk, too, whatthehell. blended with whizzer to stand-your-spoon-up-in consistency.

I think about making soup this morning when I resign myself to wakefulness after thunder and lightning wake me at five. but it is too hot still and soup seems ridiculous.

re-reading this Martha Beck post instead about the stages of metamorphosis and am struck by her description of the first stage of dealing with any major life stage as dissolving. as becoming person soup. a small puddle of potential in the husk of our previous selves.

because this is something I remember very clearly from the first days of sobriety. that feeling of formlessness, of lack of identity. because Wolfie had stolen not just my credit cards but knew all my online passwords too and was running wild with them like a teenager on a spree. and left on my own I had absolutely no idea what to do with me.

and Martha suggests strategies for this soupy stage – of dealing with life ten minutes at a time, taking very good care of ourselves – cocooning, in fact – and, guess what, talking to other people. there it is again. other people. it just keeps coming back to that for me. was I really so so isolated when I was drinking? yes, I think I was. how desperately sad. because what is the point of anything, really, apart from connecting with other people?

she describes the stage after dissolving as imagining. as brainstorming what flavour soup we want to be.

what do we have in our soul-cupboards already? push aside the shame-filled, clinking carrier bags of hidden empty wine bottles, and what forgotten abilities and dreams lurk hidden there as well?

and what new ingredients could we add? because there is a whole world out there. ginger. fennel seeds. sweet and soapy coriander leaves. and leaving boozing behind is like going from a 1950’s greengrocer’s counter to the plushest supermarket fruit and veg aisle of today. galangal, anyone? don’t mind if I do.

and I love her next stage too of re-forming. of creating the next stage in our lives. which applies whether it is getting sober or any other life change. and the first thing we should expect? that things will go wrong. and that’s ok.

her final stage is flying – where we take wing and soar free. and as I said in my previous post – the next change may be just around the corner. so we learn our metamorphosis lessons and are stronger for the next change.

just to finish, on the theme of it being ok for things to go wrong, I would like to include a quote from the fabulous Neil Gaiman. his writing is so spare but conveys so much. he had this on his blog as a New Year’s entry, but it applies equally well to anyone anywhere on the sober path.

‘I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.’

so lovelies. it’s the weekend. go out there and Do Something!

and if it’s making soup, save me a bowl. because now I’m hungry πŸ™‚