Day 6: Midnight in the Garden


I’d never heard of an Ayurvedic massage, not before my self-imposed rehab at a mountain retreat that promised yoga, meditation, vegetarian food, and healing. No meat or alcohol allowed on the premises.

It was here on a table, on top of a mountain so high that we often walked through clouds, that silent women anointed my body — my forehead, my palms, my feet — with warm, fragrant oil. Their skilled caresses and the lull of soft Indian music made me feel like I was in another world. Like anything might happen.

I vaguely remembered something about the anointing of saints, of Jesus. I read later in the Ayurvedic literature in my room that it was a call for healing. For miracles.

I wondered if the silent women could feel how desperately I needed a miracle. I knew, though, looking in the mirror later, that desperation was a feeling that I could no longer summon up. Instead, a familiar numbness clouded my mind, obscuring what used to be concern for my own wellbeing.

“Miracles happen here,” claimed the retreat’s website.  I needed one for myself, no doubt. But also some to bless those I had damaged with my need to anoint myself with wine.

During my final days at the spa, I was anointed for the last time. Afterward, the woman wrapped steaming towels around my head and feet so that I was covered in a shroud of white, with a sheet wrapped tightly around my body.

Like a corpse I thought. The anointing of the dead.

It’s up to you, she seemed to say.

I could take this blessing from the gods and hold it tight forever. Or release it and turn away. Let the unforgiving tide roll in and take me out to sea.

I want to hold on.



9 thoughts on “Day 6: Midnight in the Garden

    1. Thank you, Wendy. It is amazing what a week away from “life” will do for you. I never thought much about drinking while I was there. I just need to hold on to that feeling, especially when I start to take it for granted. That’s when my mind starts telling me that the problem really wasn’t all that bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. For me at the start of my sobriety I needed a way to see that the ‘benefits’ of alcohol were all an illusion. Because until I truly believed that, the struggle not to drink was just too hard. Have you come across Holly’s blog at hipsobriety? Sorry can’t link, am on phone… Her ‘reasons why I’m not an alcoholic’ is awesome.

    Your anointing sounds dreamlike in a wholly wonderful way. I hope you can hold on to that promise of a possibility of an altered state – it IS possible, it CAN be done. Keep going! Xx


  2. I will find Holly’s blog today and link up. I need all of the reinforcement I can get. I am also reading “The Naked Mind: Control Alcohol,” and it’s very reinforcing about the benefits being an illusion. You’re right — it can be done. Thank you for the encouragement. Somehow I find it easier to connect with people through what they write as opposed to having them sitting right in front of me. This blog deal really seems to work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Danielle, I was reading your blog and for some reason, it won’t let me leave a comment. That feature looks like its out of order. Maybe it’s temporary? I have no idea how to fix this, but just wanted to let you know. ; )


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