“And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.”
Inscription on tombstone of Raymond Carver along with his poem "Gravy."
This takes us back again to Olivia Laing’s story in The Trip to Echo Spring of six famous authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, Raymond Carver and their relationship to each other through their major addiction to alcohol as well as their award-winning writings. Our knowledge that Carver is the only one of the six majorly talented American writers who went into significant 12 step recovery for any length of time tells us a great deal about addiction, how cunning and baffling the disease is even for the most brilliant and creative of minds.
I hope you have a chance at some time to read my favorite Carver story, “A Small Good Think” about a couple whose son dies, his birthday cake, and the baker. Make sure you read the original version that Carver wrote published after his death by his wife, Tess Gallagher, in Beginners.
For people caught in this disease, their addiction, alcohol, drugs, sex, relationships, work, becomes their God, their higher power. It is impossible to find that relationship with God that our life continues to call us to when there is something else in our God hole. The paradox of course is that the answer, the awakening, the Lazarus experience for any addiction, is a spiritual one, turning our lives and wills over to the care of the God of our understanding.