On October 4th, 2005, I, by the Grace of God, will celebrate 30 years of sobriety. Let me go back to when I was new, and try to give you some highlights of my experience from then to now….
It took me a few tries to make a permanent start in Alcoholics Anonymous. I started out in Al-Anon, (the back door) because my husband, and his drinking problem was my main focus. I sent my daughter to Alateen, and although she was not quite 10 years old, after telling her story, they took a group conscience and welcomed her with open arms. She became very active and continues to attend Al-Anon, has earned her “Black Belt” and remains active to this day (she has 31 years, since she did not have to change programs, as I did).
Once I got over my denial, and looked at my behavior, my drinking, and found a solution for myself, I have remained abstinent and sober for all these years. My first real hope was my sponsor. She was a very important part of my learning how to work the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, pick up the phone, be of service and have the faith that these steps were the solution to all of my problems. I remember the fear… I remember my commitment to want to change my life, and had to become willing to do what ever it took to stay sober. My first biggie was leaving that husband who continued to drink, and use many of those outside issues that had him locked into his addiction. So I took my kids and my clothes and ran for my life. I had 2 small children, I was unemployable and my only real qualification was being sober and willing. My first job was a part-time clerk/typist and I learned how to be “self supporting through my own contributions”. Then I learned about “boy meets girl on AA campus”… I had to replay that one a few times, but remained sober. I have had many friends die of this disease, and the pain never becomes easier. I have witnessed how “powerful, cunning and baffling” this disease is and the pain never becomes easier.
I have worked those steps on a new love, an old love, broken promises, death, heartache, celebrations, new beginnings, endings, new sponsors, being fired as a sponsor, financial enrichment, financial disasters, taking a trip, not taking a trip - all without a drink.
I have learned how to work with my fear of people and my fragile feelings by being of service. Most of the time, if I can keep busy, by doing something, I can keep most of you at arms distance and still enjoy the fellowship. I am not the most social person, so I have learned how to embrace who I am, and work with God and my character defects to effectively work a program, and find that peace and happiness I tried to find at the bottom of a bottle.
Those steps were my action tools to allow me to plug into my God who has taken care of me in the worst of times and in the best of times. I have relied heavily on a sponsor and have been a sponsor to many. This is the strongest support foundation of my sobriety to this day. The rewards are many, just read the Big Book… it’s funny, but even after all these years, it’s the best book I’ve ever been able to read and re-read and still find new and exciting things. So, I suggest, you join me and the rest of us on this Happy road of destiny … even when your ass is about to fall off, IF YOU ASK, someone will help you hold on to it and keep you on the path, with the rest of us…