November 6, 1989 was a very significant day for me - it was my first day of a life in sobriety. As a blogger, I haven't written about my sobriety because it is personal and something I don't share with many outside of small groups of "insiders". However, I am proud of my 20 years of sobriety and feel the need to put a few thoughts into words.
I am not big on drunk-alogs, so I won't go into the how it was part of my story. I drank like a pig until the party was over, then drank some more. I drank until I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and knew alcohol was running and ruining my life. I had to stop. I also had too much pride and ego to go to treatment, so I grabbed on to the arms of chairs in meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and gripped until my knuckles turned white.
I did what I was told - got a home group, a sponsor, did service work and didn't drink. I committed myself to sobriety and hoped for a better life. I learned faith.
Now, twenty years later, I am at a different stage in my life. Yes, I still go to meetings, but I am no guru. Nor do I want to be. Today, I just want to participate in and enjoy life. I don't spend time worrying about "God's will" for me or even reading the "Big Book" for that matter. I learned some time ago that meetings can take me only so far. That not all answers are there or in the books we are told to use as a guide early on. I do believe there is reference to seeking professional help in the pages of that big blue book and that is what I needed to do to help myself become whole.
I went to meetings. Put on a happy face but was miserable inside. Depressed. Angry. In denial that someone with as much sobriety as I had could still have problems. But guess what? I have this condition. It's called being a member of the human race and we all have issues we have to face. They aren't exclusive to alcoholics, although to hear some people talk in meetings you would think so. Again....News Flash! Human beings of all types have mental and physical problems and we all have to learn how to deal with them.
So does twenty years make me some sage old timer bathed in a constant warm light of serenity? No. It makes me a guy who has been to lots of meetings, is twenty years older than he was when he stopped drinking and has maybe learned a thing or two along the way. But I would hope I would be open minded enough to learn and grow over that period of time.
In sobriety I have been divorced, married, had two children who have never seen me drunk (but have seen me as a raving lunatic), lost a parent, had cancer and the chemo that goes with it and I very nearly lost my family due to stubbornness and deep seated anger. For that matter, I had lost sight of myself. Through it all I never drank and with the help of a loving wife and professional care, I rediscovered love and goodness in my life. I woke up. Life had been dark and smelled of shit...so I pulled my head out of my ass.
I also rediscovered writing. Yes, I can go on and on, but don't we all at times. I write today for me. Sometimes to release, vent - as I am doing here. Sometimes just to draw a picture. To feel the creative juices flowing again. It was a love I lost and, again with the help of my beautiful and talented wife, found anew. (Anew....pulease.)
So, CHEERS! everyone. Lift a glass of your favorite beverage (I prefer H2O) and toast to growth, happiness, faith and love of family and friends.