How I Found Peace in a Shattered Coffee Mug

Monday morning, I broke my favorite coffee mug. It was a gift from my sister. Long before I got sober. As kids, she and I fought like crazy. Two girls who couldn’t have been more different. Today, I can’t imagine getting through life without her. We are indeed forever friends as was written on the mug.


For some dumb reason, I took my mug into the bathroom off the kitchen. I set it on the side of the sink and tried to remember why I even went into the bathroom to begin with … something from the pantry, perhaps? Crash. The mug slipped into the sink and shattered. Coffee and ceramic everywhere.

Immediately, my eyes filled with tears. The kids called out to see if I was alright. “Yup. Fine, guys,” I lied as I sat down on the toilet lid and cried. “It’s a sign,” I sobbed quietly.

Quickly, I shook it off. “I don’t believe in signs,” I said to myself, lying again. I had already set my intentions for the day and brokenness was definitely not part of the plan as I prepared to make something New and Big and Important happen.

I refocused. Started getting sh*t done. And I decided I would control the day.

New and Big and Important was going to happen. I had no doubt in my mind.

I forged ahead, taking on the day like my fabulous sober self. But, I couldn’t stop thinking about the mug. “It’s nothing,” I kept telling myself. “Stay focused. It’s time for New and Big and Important.”

Before I knew it, New and Big and Important was so close I could taste it. Literally. Hours of dotting I’s and crossing T’s. It was almost mine. Until … Screeeeeeeeeech! Progress was halted in its tracks. Done. Game over. Out of options. Nothing I could do.

I had fought so hard for New and Big and Important. I had set my intentions to make it happen. But, it wasn’t to be. There was no salvaging to be done. I had to walk away. Mad. Sad. Frustrated.

The rest of my day was consumed by every possible feeling on the roller coaster of emotions over the loss of New and Big and Important. I’d held it in my hands. And it was gone. It was the kind of crappy day I used to drink to erase. But, not now. I knew what to do. I was looking for the reason. There’s always a reason. What was the lesson?

Monday night, I finally tucked into bed. Overwhelmed. Done with the day. Still sad and asking, “Why,” but working on being content in knowing I would wake to a fresh day filled with new possibilities.

Over coffee the next morning, I cried about the broken mug again as I set my intentions to move on and accomplish other – not new and big and important but meaningful and productive nonetheless – things. And pick up some broken pieces so one day I could again seek out New and Big and Important.

About an hour later, I walked into the bathroom. On the floor were two pieces of the broken mug. They practically called out to me, though I had missed them in my hasty clean up the day before.

“It was a sign,” I said out loud, smiling. Picking up the pieces is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I have to repair what’s not right before I can embark on something New and Big and Important. It doesn’t matter how much I want to look the other way and pretend things are different; ignoring what’s broken will prevent New and Big and Important from ever happening. So I started picking up the pieces. There are a lot of them and it will take some time. But I am determined.

I do believe in signs. They show up when we most need them. They’re all around us. And, I’m so grateful my sobriety has given me the presence of mind and clarity to see them. What a gift.


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