Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Sober life: Contentment and Comedy

On random play on the iPod this morning:

“Penny Lane” by the Beatles (1967)

I have a good friend who says that in early sobriety she asked herself every morning, “God, what would you have me be today?”

What came to me this morning when I asked this: What if God just wants me to be happy today?

I was cleaning the bathroom when this came to me.

Thich Nhat Hanh says cleaning bathrooms can be a meditation. Actually what he says is that anything can be a meditation if you do it with full attention. “Breathing in, I know I am cleaning the toilet…”

Usually, I hate cleaning the toilet. It was one of my jobs as a kid: cleaning our one bathroom that five people used. But this morning “Penny Lane” was playing and I was noticing how beautiful the master bath was looking as I was cleaning it. Today I don’t only have one bathroom; I get to have more than one. I get to have a master bath. I get to clean it. Breathing out, I can see the bathroom is becoming shiny…

Also I was noticing that, because I’d gotten up at 8 o’clock to clean, other people in my house had followed… People were stripping beds, gathering laundry, tidying up, taking care.

In AlAnon there’s a saying: “Let it begin with me.” I’ve never thought of myself as a leader. I was trained to follow. But one of the promises of AlAnon is that “the family situation is bound to improve as we apply the AlAnon ideas.” This also works in AA. It works in Zen. It works in athletics—Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi, yoga, tennis. People are attracted to improvement, progress. Happiness.

Contentment, my AlAnon sponsor calls it.

When I’m happy, people around me are usually happier. I give it away, and I get some back.

Lately it’s hard for me to be content. It’s not only when things go wrong that I screw up… it’s also (maybe even more) when things are good that I tend to screw up.

I’m used to creating drama so I can solve problems and feel good about myself. Contentment feels dangerous, static, boring, and boredom sometimes leads me back to bad habits. I get squirrelly, panicky. Taking contrary action helps…

This morning I had to play two hours of tennis to get out of my head.

Another way I create drama: I worry about my kid. My friend Mary suggested I take an inventory of all the good things I’ve done in my mothering. Also, to watch some comedy. So here’s some comedy: Robin Williams on parenting.


  1. I’m just wandering through some sober blogs this evening to find you and it appears that whatever my link to you is identifies me as Windsor, MO. I don’t live there, in fact I live several hours away from there. But it is the town where I went to treatment! Mysterious ways indeed!

  2. guinevere

    June 13, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Welcome, Beth… 🙂

  3. I find that there are so many ways to meditate and at so many different times. And being content is a great feeling.

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