In an interview with The Fix, Grace Slick and her daughter China talked about their addictions and their subsequent recoveries.
I couldn’t help but draw parallels with their thoughts regarding addiction and recovery to some of the discoveries I have made with Boo while learning sheepherding.
My husband assures me that I am, indeed, addicted to Boo and subsequently, addicted to sheepherding.
There is truth to this.
I don’t intend to compare true addiction to what I live with my dog. What I live with Boo is the internal soul light turn-on – not the hard stuff of addiction. All the same, it has brought enlightenment to dark panels of my being that without Boo may have remained unaddressed white noise.
Many in recovery are far more in touch with self-knowing than those who never toiled to hoe the broken glass-littered row of sobriety. The clarity gained from being held to a mirror and forced to look upon personal truth is something that most of us will never accomplish.
Yet society continues to assign the addict a prescribed role.
Grace: “Yeah, and I’m trouble…and I’m kind of a selfish asshole; and I’m still working on that. It’s so common to be ‘rock and roll, put yourself first and everyone else second,’ which sounds awful—and it is. But I’m trying to train the mind to go in different directions.
I still do it; it happened last night, and I got reprimanded for it, but I did recognize it—‘I’m thinking of me, not you.’ It’s not aimed at anyone; it’s just kind of a solo-alcoholic type of deal. All of those things need to be worked on.
China mentioned things turning around really fast when you get sober, and a lot of things do, but if you stay sober for a really long time, there are tons of things that you have to keep addressing. You are indeed a work in progress until you die. You don’t reach a pinnacle where you suddenly say, ‘Ok, I’m cool now!’”
China: “Staying sober for 17 years, along with the help and guidance of other sober addicts and alcoholics, has revolutionized my thinking and behavior where all of my relationships are concerned. I’m eternally grateful.”
“But I’m trying to train the mind to go in different directions.” • Boo is a different dog. I had to allow my mind to go in an entirely different direction. I needed to understand that I had work to do on my pre-conceived truths before I could ever expect to learn sheepherding and to train Boo.
“I still do it; it happened last night, and I got reprimanded for it, but I did recognize it—I’m thinking of me, not you.” • Don’t worry – you will continue to make mistakes. When you do, you will be thinking of yourself, not your dog, and not adjusting to help your dog understand what you want from her because you are not observing and communicating with her properly. It’s okay. Reset. Erase it. Clarify. Remember that your mistakes are one of the only things that are created wholly by you – own them. Don’t project them to your dog. It’s not her fault.
“…if you stay sober for a really long time, there are tons of things that you have to keep addressing. You are indeed a work in progress until you die. You don’t reach a pinnacle where you suddenly say, ‘Ok, I’m cool now.’” • Truest statement ever about anything. EVER. It fits in so many places – especially in what I’ve learned training with Boo. Each time we grow, we discover avenues of expansion. Accomplishment does not mean completion. It means come at us, serve us up the next fastball down the middle. Once we see it enough, we’ll adjust at the plate and learn to hit it.
“Staying sober for 17 years, along with the help and guidance of other sober addicts and alcoholics, has revolutionized my thinking and behavior where all of my relationships are concerned. I’m eternally grateful.” • Through my addiction to Boo, there are many people with whom I have connected. Some I only talk to for minutes at a time, some I merely observe, others have become very good friends, some the closest of friends, others I only know through social media – fellow addicts who have revolutionized my thinking and behavior when it comes to dogs. To them, I am eternally grateful.
If your spiritual destiny presents it to be, you will find working with a dog an incredible high – an addiction in the purest form. Perfect and beautiful when it’s right, and when it’s wrong, keep your mind and your heart open to what your dog is there to teach you. You will learn lessons to utilize in every other aspect of your life.
If you are just entering the world of working on any level with your dog, you may feel a surge of something new stirring within your soul. You might struggle to identify it. Because you may have pre-conceived ideas of what a dog-human relationship can be, you may question it.
It’s for real.
Go ahead and take a bite.
Remember what the dormouse said…