Thursday, May 2, 2013

25 Years of Continuous Sobriety

This is another of those days that I couldn't believe would ever come.  25 years ago today - May 2, 1988 - I had my first day of a sobriety that has lasted ever since.  I may drink tomorrow, who knows, but I have every confidence that I'll stay sober today.  One day at a time.  25 years ago yesterday I was near death from uncontrollable alcoholism.  Today I planted berries in my garden and haven't drank all day.  See the difference?

I owe the sober life I have to a lot of people.  Bill W. and Dr. Bob were AA's founders.  I still can't believe how perfectly they understood me and my alcoholism 78 years ago.  AA has no gospel, but Bill's book Alcoholics Anonymous comes awfully close for me.  Thanks, guys.

Clair H. took me to my first two AA meetings in Modesto, CA, and has remained my trusted friend.  Thank you, Clair.

My sponsor, Jack B. from Davis, CA, took me under his wing and showed me how to live a sober life and apply the principles of AA, suggestions if you will, to my life.  He guided me through AA's 12 Steps.  He was always there for me until I left California in 1990 for a 5-1/2 year adventure in Alaska.  Thank you, Jack.

My darlin' wife had the great good sense to have nothing to do with me for the first few years but married me in 1993.  I think she was tired of my begging.  Thank you, Edythe.  I owe you more than I can ever repay.

I used to blame everyone and everything for my drinking.  "If you had my life, problems, experiences yada yada, you'd drink, too."  Well, no.  I drank the way I did because I am an alcoholic.  Am, not was.  Simple, right?  Sure, unless you are in the kind of insane denial that I was in.  In that case, it's a deadly delusion.

All of the 12 Steps are crucial to the maturing sobriety of anyone trying for a different life through AA.  However, Step 1 still has the most compelling message for me:
"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable"
Powerless?  Me?  Yep.  Didn't think that was possible.  It's just alcohol, right?  I wasn't that bad, was I?  Everybody drinks, right? Most of us do, true enough, and are able to take alcohol or leave it.  10% of us or so, not so much.  We're alcoholics.  Once we take a drink we lose the ability to stop.  It's not how much we drink, it's what happens when we drink.

Unmanageable?  Me?  How could that be?  Didn't I have a job?  Didn't I have stuff?  Didn't I have achievements?  Turns out, none of that matters.  It's what happens when you drink, and what happened for me was bad.  Very bad.  That's what unmanageable means for me.

I currently have five AA sponsees.  That means five men who want what they think I have and are willing to go to any lengths to get it.  I think highly of each of them and I pray they will get the AA program and let it change their lives.  If I could give them sobriety, I would.  Can't, though.  They have to work their own AA programs to the best of their abilities - I'm honored to be a part of those programs - and rely on their higher power, just as I did with Jack.  Helping them has helped me stay sober, though.  That's the way it's supposed to work.  Bill W. told me so.

My AA home group has two meetings a week.  That's uncommon but I like it that way.  I attend them, hang out with sober friends enjoying the fellowship that AA promises and I work with others.  I'll be at one of those AA meetings in 90 minutes.  Mediocre coffee but terrific people who really care about me and my sobriety, just as I care about them.

Thank you, God.

* * * * *

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference

AA's  Serenity Prayer

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for continuing to ask until I could believe in the possibility of happiness. Every time I think things can't get better, they do. So I thank you right back. Your LW, Edythe