If you had told me my latest book would complete my healing journey with my alcoholic father, I would have raised an eyebrow. ‘Really?’ But here I am, preparing for the launch in a few exciting days’ time with the clarity that I have no unfinished business with him. Considering how long ago he died, it’s only taken me 25 years!
The catharsis came for me in a dream. It was when I was checking over the final proofs for the book. In other words, at the very last stage of the whole process, the last time I would see the manuscript before it went to print. In the dream, I’m meeting my father as if at an airport. He’s coming through Arrivals with a bag slung over his shoulder. He looks well; fit and healthy - unlike his cancer ravaged, emaciated body when he died of alcohol-related throat cancer at the age of 49 - and relaxed. He puts his arms around me to hug me. I feel his love and I start to cry. Immediately the sobbing turns to howling, howling for all those years of misery he put me through. And that’s it, the dream ends. Howling that loudly, wakes me up. After, I have a sense that I have actually let go of all that misery in that dream bardo state.
A few weeks later, my husband and I were on holiday on the coast of Tuscany. It was the anniversary of my father’s birthday and, because of the dream, I wanted to mark it in some way, to honour him. But I wasn’t sure how. In the morning I wandered down to the beach on my own. As I stood leaning on the railings of the prom, looking out to sea, a few people were scattered along the beach and a small group were paddling. One of the women seemed to spot something in the water and wandered over to it. She then held it up for me to see; as if doing that just for my benefit. It was a wreath, a beautiful, simple homemade wreath, with pink roses and luscious greenery. A gift from the Universe for my beloved pa.
It’s the last piece of the healing jig-saw in my relationship with my father. The wounds of alcoholism can be healed. It’s no accident that I've dedicated Alcohol Recovery: The Mindful Way to ‘all those committed to healing the wounds of alcoholism’.
So, to celebrate the launch this Sunday, 15 January, join Sheldon Press and myself as we host the first in a series of Mindful Sundays for all you lovely readers. My gift to you! There’ll be freebies galore, starting with an audio of a brief introductory mindfulness practice, the Kiwi Kickstarter. (Hint - you'll need a kiwi - put it on your shopping list now!) And a sneak preview of the book, a free extract. Plus we’ll be giving FREE COPIES away over at GoodReads VERY soon...
Each Sunday I’ll have a new audio of a fun mindfulness practice for you, to help you prepare for the busy week ahead. Feel free to share all this with friends, family and colleagues on Twitter and FaceBook. And remember to check back here this Sunday.