By Jessica M

There is an annual event where people swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco. It is the swim the Anglin Brothers and Frank Lee Morris made in their escape from Alcatraz on the night of June 12, 1962. A friend of mine did the swim and he told me his story about participating in it. What stood out the most to me was that he said the organizers tell the swimmers to head towards Coit Tower to account for the current in the bay. If they aim that way the current will help them get to where they need to land for the end of the event. 

As I continue the work to stay sober, I get still get caught up in the spiritual component: The God word, Higher Power, God’s will and the next right action. I have found surprising comfort in my friend’s story about swimming from Alcatraz. 

At the risk of sounding dramatic, I am trying to escape the prison of my own mind and my own island of isolation that I see as the manifestation of the disease of alcoholism. Coit Tower is what I am aiming for, sometimes it is thinking of others, sometimes it is God’s will, sometimes it is my greatest hope for myself or at least the better parts of myself. 

I don’t actually have to reach it. I just have to continuously align myself with it. 

The current is everything else. It is the things I cannot control, it is my self-interest, humanness, my limited subjectivity. I try not to judge the current as something good or bad as much as I can. I do my best to see it as natural and a neutral part of the reality I am in. I don’t have to fight the current. I don’t expect it to be anything other than a part of the experience. The current is not going to go away, it is not personal, but I do have to account for it in the things I do. 

I don’t have to wish the current or myself or the world was another way than the way it is, but I do have to accept what is there and work with it all the best way that I can. This way I can get to where I need to be. 


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