Friday, November 6, 2009

20 years

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 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.


big Jenn said...

Congrats. I like the way you see sobriety and wholeheartedly agree.
1987 was a very good year for me and I toast you with a big glass of H2O. "Here's to being human!" jeNN

Matty said...

I never drank, so I can't relate. But, maybe I've had issues you didn't. Who among us is perfect. That's right.....none of us. So, we judge no one. Now let's toast our imperfections.
Everyone......hoist your H2O. Here's to the Monkey Man!

Enchanted Oak said...

Thanks for talking about your sobriety journey. I know about sitting on my hands and riding out the bad times. I know about seeking outside help when AA couldn't provide the answers. I know about renewal and being a raving lunatic and having it all come about right again if I just stick with it and fight my stinkin' thinkin'--with the help of a loving spouse and some real fine friends. Cheers on your 20 years. It is a miracle.

Tracie said...

Congrats on your sobriety. 20 years is a long time. That is a great achievement.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Oh Monkey Man. I'm sure you didn't plan on bringing me to tears. Maybe you did but I wish you well. You've been through so much. I'm happy for you that you've found happiness. 20 years is nothing to be taken lightly. I've only been clean from pot for 11. I sure hope that I can write an awesome post like yours in 9 years.

I thank you for your support. I wish you the best always. You have touched me in a way that only a few people have and I will always want the very best for you and yours.


November 6, 2009 8:19 PM

Word verification

PhilipH said...

Yep MM, you're human all right. And being 'all right' for a score of years is an achievement to be proud of.

OK, we all have peaks and troughs of love, hate, anger, wealth and other things in life. As you say: we're human.

I enjoy the occasional tipple. A pint of 'Old Peculiar', or a whiskey Mac, or a VAT (vodka and tonic - you name it and I've probably sampled it over the few score years and more. But apart from one depressed part of my life I've never been drunk. And never will be again.

It's like smoking cigarettes. Now they would make me sick; literally sick. But from the age of 13 or so I smoked more and more. 40 - 50 a day during the 1950s. It was 'fashionable' to go around with a ciggy stuck in your gob. But now it's anti-social for many people to smoke at all.

I packed it in in 1972. I felt disgusted with myself for being a slave to nicotine and just stopped. Never to smoke again. No help needed. Just STOPPED.

Anyway, enough already! I add my congratulations along with the rest and hope all goes well with you and yours in your new abode.

Regards, Phil

the walking man said...

*shrug* We all walks a road and we all walks it our own way. That is what I congratulate you on brother, walking your road and finding your way upon it.

Nessa said...

Congratulations on your 20 years of sobriety and more importantly, of your 20 years of living.

Silly Saturday #4 - Purdie Pyrate "The Pen's Mightier than the Sword"

The Peach Tart said...

Congratulations on the big achievement. You've lived a full life and now seem to have found your way with your incredible wife and your talented writing.

Lou said...

I absolutely love this explanation of your path of sobriety. It ain't all or nothin' the AA way for everybody, but it's a hell of good, free place to start!

Monkey Man said...

Big Jenn - 1987...awesome. I would love to toast you back when the time comes.

Matty - Here! Here!

EO - It is no miracle. It is effort and conviction. But thank you.

Kys - Many thanks - 20 thanks.

GEM - As I wrote this I was thinking "Boy I sure hope GEM cries over this." Kidding. Thank you. I appreciate your support as well. You are good people.

Phillip - Cigarettes are foiur times as addictive as heroin and I know many people who have said it was the hardest addiction they ever quit. It is a horrible killer. Glad you stopped. Here's to a long clean life.

Walking Man - Roads have many turns and forks. Choices at every turn and stop. Flip a coin and decide your destiny.

Nessa - Thank you. I hope for another 20.

Peachy - She is incredible and I love her dearly.

Lou - Amen.

Tall Kay said...

Happy Silver Anniversary! Thanks for sharing your story MM. I couldn't stop drinking until I found AA and a new way of life. Since the alcohol was only a symptom of my real problem, my recovery continues daily. I am so grateful you sought outside help and just didn't matter what. Learning to live sober is not easy, but the rewards are worth the effort. Here's to 20 more years! Cheers!

Stacey J. Warner said...

Congrats on 20 years of sobriety! Yes no human escapes from learning...some are just really ignorant and choose to stay that way.

much love

Shadow said...

congratulations, 20 years is brilliant... i'm on just 2 years...