It is a balmy overcast day here in London, England. I have at least six hours to walk the streets of one of the greatest walking cities in the world. As I walk, I reflect on how grateful I am for the clarity and spiritual growth that has come to me with each year of sobriety. Addiction has many faces and I am very aware of the dark passengers that walk with me on my journey of sobriety.
Sobriety has made me very observant of my emotions. I am not sure why, perhaps it is the presence of the clouds looming overhead, but I am feeling a bit lonely and melancholy today. As I wander down the streets, I am checking out the numerous pubs that are located on each lane and alley of London. They are virtually everywhere!
I have a fundamental belief that when I feel this way I must reach out and connect with others in a healthy manner. So, I grab my cell phone, Google “London markets” and discover a smorgasbord of street culture and outdoor markets. I choose Borough Market, which is well within walking distance.
I arrive to see a cluster of activity, with food being the central focus. Food is my thing, so I already feel the melancholy lift as I view rows of stalls with an abundance of beautifully displayed organic fruits and vegetables. There is an undercurrent of excitement and a pleasant vibe that connects me to the bustling crowds that are lined up to taste the samples of the ethnically- diverse variety of food. Each vendor is a local entrepreneur showcasing and reflecting the uniqueness of their region and the diversity of their community. I love the sense of community and fellowship this creates within me. The vendors welcome the time to share their passion and talk about themselves and the creation of their artisanal food items or crafts, allowing me to see a part of their soul. I am overwhelmed with the magic that I feel as I observe the gathering and connecting of friends, family and neighbors with food being the core of this connection.
After a couple of hours of meandering slowly through the market and allowing all my senses to experience the varied and intoxicating smells and wonders of the goods, I select a wedge of locally-produced cheese, a freshly baked baguette and a couple of crisp, fresh red apples and stuff them into my newly-purchased recycled cotton bag.
As I make my way back to the hotel to share my treasures with my husband, I am overwhelmed with a sense of peace and serenity. I just spent the day in the heart and pulse of London, with the community of the city and its people. It is strange, but I do not remember noticing any pubs on the return journey.