I wrote this a few years ago, but it still resonates with me today. I wanted to share it again for those that may need to read it for the first, second or third time. We are the blessed ones if we stay on this path – one day at a time.
I’m lucky because I got sober at my 2nd meeting. After my first meeting, I ran home and drank for 5 days straight. I came back and decided to give the sobriety thing a shot. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I haven’t had a desire to go back out and test my disease. However, I’ve been around the program of AA for a while and sadly, I’ve seen a lot of relapses and even worse, I’ve seen a lot of suicide and death due to the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. Through my own journey of sobriety I’ve had a pretty good ride, but let’s face it, life gets lifey – whether or not I’m in recovery.
The most challenging things are the things that have strengthened my recovery. I’ve gone through a couple break-ups before meeting my now husband and I thought to go through that was the worst thing possible. I had nothing to numb the pain and what they don’t tell you in early sobriety is that you get to feel every emotion and live through life each day.
The icing on the cake, and there is a lot of cake (literally) when you get sober, is that you get to come out the other side a better version of yourself. When I lost my Mom a few years ago, that was very challenging – but again, life happens and I did what I needed to do to maintain my sobriety. Time and time again, I fall back on these 5 things – they have sustained me in my recovery and I’m grateful that I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, again and again.
One of the things that was imperative in me getting and staying sober was getting a sponsor. I kept hearing in early recovery, “Did you get a sponsor yet?” When I was a couple weeks sober I finally got the nerve up to call a woman I met in the bathroom of the first women’s meeting I attended. She was exactly what I needed at that time and she was there for me. She took me through the steps and I could tell her anything and not feel judged or ridiculed. I’ve switched sponsors a few times as I’ve moved around a bit, but I’ve always had one and each one of those women has been a lifeline for me offering diverse experiences through the 12 steps.
I came to my first AA meeting to get my court card signed for my 2nd DUI. I didn’t go there because I wanted to. However, I kept coming back and very early on in my recovery I liked going to meetings. They spoke my language. They understood me and they didn’t make me feel like I didn’t belong. I found my tribe in AA. My closest friends and confidantes are all in AA. I met my husband at an AA meeting (not sure I would recommend that – but that’s a whole other conversation). In moving around a lot in sobriety I’ve been able to walk into any meeting in any part of the country and feel “at home” as we like to say. It’s an integral and sustaining part of my recovery and I’m forever grateful to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Early on in recovery a lot of women would give me their phone numbers and tell me to call them. I thought to myself, “why on earth am I calling you – what is in it for me?” That’s how I thought about most things before I got sober – what do I get out of it. I soon realized picking up that one hundred pound phone was the best way to get out myself and the best way to share what was going on with me. It was a mini meeting. Today I talk to at least two women per day about what’s going on with me and vice versa, and it’s been a life saver for me. A few years ago I wanted to drink. I was having a very bad time in my life and just said, “F*&K this noise – I wanna drink”. I called my sober bestie and she came right over and picked me up and took me out for coffee. I didn’t drink that day. The colossal problem I had at the time took care of itself and I didn’t need to drink over it – because I called someone.
An important part of my daily serenity comes from prayer and meditation. Besides the fact that its part of the 12 Steps, it’s now just a normal part of my daily life and routine. Every morning, (or most), I read from a couple spiritual books in the morning, pray and then take about 5-7 minutes to meditate. Each evening I say a quick prayer and thank God for keeping me sober. That’s it. The simpler I keep it, the easier it is for me to maintain.
I have to say getting sober wasn’t that much fun – but the benefits of being sober and living a life with freedom and unlimited possibilities are amazing – it’s almost too difficult to put into words. During my first year of sobriety, I was asked to go see one of my favorite bands, that I had seen numerous times – however, now I was sober. How was this experience going to be? I was apprehensive and scared and was hoping I’d have as much fun as I’d had pre sober days. I went and it was amazing – I didn’t have to worry about making sure I had enough to drink, or how much money I was going to spend, or losing my friends at the show, or worse yet – driving home wasted after the concert. I was able to be present and participate in the concert and enjoy the moment.
Getting sober and staying sober are two different animals. I truly believe sobriety is a gift because when I’ve had a shitty day, I wanna go drink. I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about drinking because I do – almost every day. I don’t know why I haven’t had a relapse. I can’t explain that. But what I can explain is that if I keep doing the daily things above I am pretty sure I will have a decent chance of staying sober that day.