First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 7 – Battlefield

In the cave too there are marks, scars on the walls, great chunks of rock missing, smears which could be blood, channels worn smooth by the passage of tears. Reminders of the battlefield.

I do not display these marks with pride; nor do I wish to hide them away. They are the marks of battles eventually won.

And I have had to learn that once a particular battle is won there is no need to go back to fight it again.

Each battle won represents a rock, a foundation stone perhaps, set firmly in the ground, immovable by the turmoil of tide and time. And as I look forward, the road I must travel is constructed of paving stones made from these rocks. Until the paving stones are laid the road will be a treacherous place, but even one foundation rock will provide enough material to produce secure stepping stones.

So accompany me now to the battlefield, for whilst we must fight our own individual battles, our enemies are remarkably similar and we can learn from each other’s experience.

It is a battlefield where the enemy is cunning, elusive, almost ephemeral. Where the enemy, at different times, can be frightening, aggressive, threatening, attractive or seductive.

The longest battle of my life, taking place over nearly thirty years, was with a mistress who persuaded me that she was my mentor, my guide, my source of wisdom, my solace, my comforter, my only true friend. In the process she gradually isolated me from all those who would wish to help. She took me to an insanity that produced voices inside my head and green dragons which after starting out being frightening and threatening turned into companions. On lonely night walks she provided me with paving stones on which cherubs sang and danced to give me company and cheer.

She tried very hard to take me to death, but, although on occasion she got very close, that particular victory was denied her.

Looking back on the moment when I struck out for freedom from her bondage, it is clear to me that arising from the defining moments in my life and from the people in my memory, there had come an upsurge of strength and of courage. Without those, final defeat would have been inevitable.

I am loath however to use the word victory. That particular battle was won and I do not have to fight it again. But that particular mistress is still present on the battlefield. From time to time she will don her most attractive guise, speak in her most seductive voice and attempt to lure me again on to her particular rocks of destruction. I need to remain aware of her presence because, should I fall under her spell again, I am not sure I have the energy and courage to escape.

Nonetheless the winning of that battle was sufficient to provide accessible stepping stones on the road – safe places to stand, or to return to, whilst I considered my way forward.

It is fair to say that if I had known at that point in time the battles I would still have to face then fear would have taken me straight back into her arms. But I did not know, and as each subsequent battle has been won more and more safe stepping places have appeared on the road.

And the spoken word is at


26 Responses to “First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 7 – Battlefield”

  1. katherine Wyatt Says:

    i know that battle and that particular mistress … and i fight another battle and there are stones that tell me i have won i needed this piece today there are battles ahead but we are reinforced by large armies of spiritual overseers.. A wonderful piece David..

    • belfastdavid Says:

      What a lovely comment.

      Thank you Katherine.

      I will join you again soon hopefully on the GhostRoad πŸ™‚

  2. David,

    First, I must say you made a really good choice on the image for this section. I have always liked the painting Dave did for you. I wonder what our old myspace friend is doing these days? The painting, for me, captures those struggles we often face where all we can do is put one foot in front of the other, and keep reaching forward. Every other part of us feels disembodied from that effort. I imagine this is what you were experiencing when you first undertook your journey toward sobriety–and life.

    I know my trials have been small in comparison to the struggles of some others. But, what you have written here applies, on every level, for every battle I have ever had to face.

    This “going over the words” again, with the proper instructor, *smile* is teaching me a lot about my own life, and the choices I have made. There are so many things I would have done differently if I had understood more. Yet, part of winning in this game we call life is learning to put regrets and pain behind you. They only cause stumbles on the path ahead, or worse, a wall which cannot be overcome.

    I have been reading some of my old poetry this morning, and I realize (appreciate) how far I have come from some of that pain. No regrets. No walls. But, I do retain a deep appreciation for what I have experienced, and for those who lent their time and love to help me learn.

    I hope you find fewer rocks, and more smooth pavers as you continue the journey.

    **glad to know the lighter is used less often**

    Much love,

    • belfastdavid Says:


      The painting is titled “Journey”. Dave did it in response to some of my poetry so it seemed entirely appropriate to use it as a background to my reading. I look at it often (it hangs in my living room) and never fail to get inspiration from it. He is a very talented artist.

      Do not play down your own trials as small. We all have our own struggles to face and the learning from them is always painful. The important thing being, of course, to learn. I spent 29 years of my life learning nothing! I mistook street-wise for wisdom – it is not!
      As my Aunty Penny once said “Don’t tell me you know! What you know got you where you are today – up to your neck in shit and in a treatment centre for alcohol dependency – You know nothing!!” πŸ™‚ I find “I know nothing” is a good starting point for any day. πŸ™‚

      And I find your remark “No walls” heartening. I too had to learn to take the walls down – even if sometimes I did not want to!! πŸ™‚

      Let us both look forward to “fewer rocks and more smooth pavers” πŸ™‚

      You take good care of yourself

      Much love

  3. christine Says:

    This section has been very painful for me to read. That isn’t a bad thing; I think it says that as time moves forward in my recovery I can become. not complacent, but the memory of the depth of the scars and bloodshed fade somewhat. I used to have huge faces with no bodies chatting to me above my head and curtains that blew quite strongly when all the windows were shut.

    This is a battlefield I need to return to if I am to keep the strength I cherish in my recovery. I now have some stepping stones on which to stand in preparation for the battle I feel I am up against at the present time. It does feel like a battle but I already know there are people there who are going to help me through it. The knowledge I have now and the expperience behind me are great comforters; I know what faith is and although doubt creeps in the faith eventually shines through led by the “sparks of hope”.

    It has been such a moving experience reading and listening to this, I feel very emotional and quite shaky.

    The picture is a good idea and goes so well with this section, it could have been made for it. And it looks so much more 3D from this angle than it does on your lounge wall!

    Lots of love



    • belfastdavid Says:


      There was a time in the past when you would have come away from this because it was painful. You have come a long way.

      We do well never to forget the “depth of those scars”. We do not need to dwell on them but we do need to be aware of them. Complacency is always a dangerous place to be!!

      You are in a different, yet similar, battlefield today and, on a daily basis, I am impressed by how you are dealing with it.

      Give yourself the credit you deserve for what you are doing. I certainly think it is admirable.

      Maybe some day I will persuade you to join the WordPress community and share some of your poetry on here. I am quite certain other people would appreciate it as much as I do πŸ™‚

      Lots of love

      • christine Says:

        Thank you for these lovely words of encouragement. It means a lot to me.

        I will chat to you about it later

        Lots of love



      • belfastdavid Says:


        I have enjoyed your latest poem – you are really getting the hang of this poetry thing!!

        Lots of love

  4. Hallo David, just drinking my coffee (have a cup of tea with me will you) and trying to understand the battle this beautifully written part is about, addiction. Giving up alcohol must have been a real struggle. Good thing you beat it and you can go on with your life without that burden! There is so much more…
    With friendly hugs from across the sea πŸ™‚

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hallo Ina,

      I will have a cup of tea with you, with pleasure.

      Friendly hugs are always welcome πŸ™‚

      • You slurp!

      • belfastdavid Says:

        πŸ™‚ Ah, but I no longer pour it into the saucer and drink from there!! πŸ™‚

        I shall now go make a sandwich, sit in my armchair, press the recline button and watch some football. What better way to spend a grey Saturday afternoon!! πŸ™‚

  5. Lol, I remember people doing that!

    Sun is shining here, but have a nice watch! I hope it is okay I linked your blog in my last one.

  6. I saw a bit of a GB (UK) football match that ended in a sort of guerilla the other day, hope this one will be more peaceful.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Ah Ina,

      That particular match was part of long standing tribal rivalries – it always has the potential to flare up.

      The one I watched was more peaceful πŸ™‚

      • Good πŸ™‚

        Have a wonderfull stay in W. next week and if you happen to see the gypsie, would you tell her she saw quite well in the future for me πŸ™‚

      • belfastdavid Says:

        πŸ™‚ I will pass your message on to her

  7. Your courage and honesty take my breath away, David. Another moving and inspiring post in a truly remarkable series. With you all the way, my friend.

  8. Sandy (Seeker of Truth) Says:

    Eloquently put David.. I feel small somehow after reading this.. Thanks for helping me see what I just skimmed over!! Hugs!!

  9. Hi David,

    Part 7 has really left me thinking. It has also left me very proud of you and all you have faced and overcome!

    I really do like Dave’s painting. I remember when you first showed us what he painted for you. I was amazed! He really captured the sentiment behind the journey I feel. It is an inspiring piece!

    Before your book I only thought in terms of signposts or arrows in the maze when it came to life battles.
    The paving stones add a more tangible element to the journey, something which seems more solid (I think that’s a pun, whoops!) :-). I hope that makes sense?

    In looking back my Cave seems very large, the journey winding through it’s tunnels and chambers. I am emerging into the light somewhat, standing on a small shore looking out over the ocean at the sunrise wondering how I made it. The light is strange after so much darkness but oh so welcome. πŸ™‚

    Thankyou for the journey back which reaffirms my position in life now. I still have battles to face but I’ve laid down enough stones and am confident in that process that I know with higher guidance I will surely face all to come, stronger and with ever increasing awareness.

    I hope you will enoucter some sunny days this week! πŸ™‚


    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Tikarma,

      All unintentional puns gratefully received πŸ™‚

      Dave’s picture is on my lounge wall – opposite your own. They both speak to me very strongly about the journey and are a regular souce of inspiration.

      What you say makes perfect sense. During our life’s journey we gradually lay more and more paving stones and so have more solid places on which to stand whilst we contemplate and face the next battles.

      I love the thought of “standing on a small shore looking out over the ocean at the sunrise wondering how I made it.” Some days I get that sense of emerging into the light very strongly. When that happens I always take time to reflect and to be grateful. πŸ™‚

      I am pleased too that this part of the book allowed you to “reaffirm your position in life now” From time to time we do need to reaffirm just that!! πŸ™‚

      And in terms of small beaches and cathedrals I thiugh you might be interested in this blog from Andy McInroy –

      I hope you have a good week of drawing


      • Hi David,

        Thankyou so much for sharing Andy’s link! And for pardoning the pun! πŸ™‚
        I have booked marked his site.
        It’s quite stunning all the work he has done with his photography and collecting the history.
        The Ghost of Cathederal Cave was so interesting I kept on clicking and reading about all the other caves and looking well past my bed time. *lol* I will be back to read more. πŸ™‚
        It was also nice to read about Mermaids Cave. πŸ™‚

        Reaffirmations and gratitude are very much the foundations of my life. πŸ™‚

        I will most certainly enjoy my drawing this week. I hope you too will have an enjoyable week. πŸ™‚


      • belfastdavid Says:

        Hi Tikarma,

        I can well understand you getting engrossed in Andy’s site. πŸ™‚
        I met him when I went across to Ireland. We travelled across to Rathlin Island on a ferry. Then whilst I went off to explore the island, he went out in a little boat with a local fisherman to try to get access to a cave which is only accessible from the sea and only at certain tides and in certain weather conditions!! Fascinating man and a wonderful photographer and without doubt, in his caves project, following his dream. πŸ™‚

        And to think our acquaintance all started from one photo on the internet!! πŸ™‚


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