Five (5) Months Sober

Yesterday, I attended a meeting out of town with my Sponsor. In reality, I wanted to have the day to myself. I’ve been to eight meetings of various Fellowships in the last three days plus regular appointments. However, someone reminded me in a meeting one night, “I jump at opportunities, when they are presented, when it comes to my sobriety.” Today, my life is dependent on the following:

“What we really have is a daily reprieve
contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”
– Alcoholic Anonymous, p. 85

Today, I have a heart of gratitude for the things in my life. While I may be in a temporary situation (a chemical dependency residential program living on state funding for food and shelter), it provides me the opportunity to ensure my foundation of sobriety is firm before I attempt to become a productive human being of society again. I’m thankful for the assistance I receive, the support groups I’m involved in and mostly the new found friendships I have developed in the last five months. But it wasn’t all red roses when I got here.

There are those who are not so fortunate or those who are still in the place I came from, thus I must not forget where I’ve been. Seven months into a relapse, I had almost lost everything a second time. I knew what I must do but I couldn’t because the guilt, shame, fear, etc. was so overwhelming, I did want any alcoholic does – I drank to oblivion!

I was living an insane life. With no job, no transportation, living on my last paycheck completely isolating myself in my home, I was digging my own grave. I was in the midst of this physical allergy to alcohol. From the first drink it created this physical craving; once I started drinking I could not stop no matter what or how many times I tried.

As time went by I developed a mental obsession. Constantly, all I did was obsess about how much alcohol I had, where I was going to get it, when I was going to get it so I didn’t run out, worried whether or not I had enough money to buy some more, planning ways to lie, cheat, steal or manipulate those close to me so I can get my next 12/18 pack. I would do anything to get my next fix!

There was a moment in time when I ran out of money, scared as crap, “Oh My God, how the hell am I going to get my next case of beer?” This time around, my mind wandered to something else – another substance. I knew my old friend had stashes around the house because I had previously found a few. I was on the verge of using other substances because I couldn’t get my beer. That is how desperate I became in my addiction. Sad really.

My last day drunk, I was walking back from the mini-mart where I had just bought a 12 pack. Halfway home I stopped in my tracks on a bridge crossing a river, “I can’t do this anymore!” I looked up and said, “I know I’m not in the best spot to ask right now, but can you help me out?” I don’t know what came over me but I threw the 12 pack in the river and continued home.

When I got home I was a mess crying for at least 30 minutes or more. My phone started to go off. It was a treatment facility I had been talking to about admission to their inpatient program I hadn’t heard of in a week. The person offered me a bed at their facility the next day and had already arranged for a service to pick me up early in the morning. I cried all over again for the next hour or more.

Today, “I don’t regret, my past nor do I shut the door on it” (a 9th Step promise). Soon enough I will have to “face” those things in the past which I must take action. Am I scared? Of course. Will it cause me to drink today? No. There is a time and place for such things to happen but for me it’s not today.

My Sponsor and I are readying the Big Book word for word, another new experience for me. Since November we tried to meet on a weekly basis but life throws us curve balls, otherwise known as “living life on life’s terms”. We just started Chapter 4, “We Agnostics”. So technically I’m starting Step 2. Am I disappointed I’m not further along in the Steps? Absolutely not. I’m right where I need to be today remembering “progress rather than perfection”.

When I woke up, and just a moment ago I told a roommate, I decided I wasn’t going to a meeting today. After writing this, I’m getting off this duff of mine and going to a meeting at noon. Do I need one? Not really. All I have to do is listen. I have the whole rest of the day to do whatever I need. But, as this way of life has shown me time and time again, there is probably going to be a newcomer or someone struggling at the meeting, so I’m probably going to say something because talking to another suffering alcoholic is what keeps me sober today!

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