Independence Day 2019

My roommate and I were able to get away to visit his mother, step-father and the rest of the family for the local 4th of July celebrations. While the heat was tremendous, shade on the slim if none side, I managed to enjoy myself. But there were time I just wanted to run away.

I’m grateful for the opportunities presented to me on a daily basis. First and foremost, I woke up sober. There are so many who don’t make in back in recovery for one reason or another. This is especially true during holidays, just as the one that passed here in the United States – Independence Day. For me, it was “just another day” but extra perks throughout the day.

Early in the morning was the local town parade. The 2000 census recorded a town size of 5000 plus residents; Main Street was flooded from one end of the parade to the other. I took eighty plus pictures, one for each organization or float driving by. For me, I get emotional about these things.

It’s only in a small town like this where the meaning of a holiday truly is present. A small color guard starts the parade; veterans of the wars, still living, proudly carrying our country’s flags on their hips down the route. Old tractors carrying various bands down the street. A woman, who has to be in her 70’s or 80’s, playing the flute to a patriotic song. Fire engines galore, blaring their horns from neighboring towns and villages. Various organizations with their own “floats” tossing candy to the kids. As I sat there and watched I couldn’t help but put myself back 50 years ago imagining how it use to be – a completely different world, indeed.

Afterward, it was the family BBQ. Many family members I met during my Easter visit. Grandma and Grandpa, all their children and grandchildren. Adults conversing with each other, the kids in the pool trying to stay cool. It actually made me sad I couldn’t experience this with my own family.

While many of the adults were drinking, not once did I get an urge. I had plenty of water to keep me cool. But I can’t say my alcoholic mind didn’t start turning. My roommate’s brother-in-law, later in the afternoon, brought a 12 pack of beer. He had two and stopped. Are you kidding me? Another relative sipped his beer half the afternoon. Oh hell no, that would have been gone in 15 minutes or less! Today, I can look back at those experiences and laugh at the insanity of my own thinking. Though I have not had a drink in nine months, if I’m not careful my whole world can quickly change in an instance.

At the end of the trip I started to have these compelling feelings to just run away. I wanted to live, work and enjoy the rest of my days in this town. Today I know my Higher Power’s plan for me is something different. Perhaps in time, I can get there. But not today. Those mini vacations are nice; getting away once and a while to enjoy the other things in life. But I still have some work to do until I get to that stage in my life.

The point is I can enjoy the company of others. I can enjoy what is in front of me today. I am truly experiencing those 12 Step Promises as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. After recharging my batteries, I’m ready to face any challenges ahead. It’s just good to be alive again!

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