Sober Since: 03 / 27 / 2017
Sober For: 5 Years & 255 Days
What it was like?
In a nutshell, I pretty much drank all of my adult life. When I lost my hearing about 7 years ago, I began working from home and consuming large amounts of bourbon on a daily basis. My drinking took me to a point where, If I wasn't drinking, I was shaking uncontrollably.
I work at a computer all day, and found that by noon, I was no longer able to control my mouse. I would take a break, have a drink (bourbon on the rocks), stop shaking, and return to my office. Problem is, I never stopped drinking until I passed out (with the help of Alazopram and marijuanna).
My wife is a brittle diabetic. I am the sole installer of her insulin pump and sensor. I realized one night that if she were to go into a diabetic coma, I would be too drunk to know what to do. I admitted myself for detox with the incredible support of my employer and extended family, stayed 10 days, and rejected their encouragement to stay an additional 30. The first evening after discharge, I found a local A A meeting. That was 6 months ago. I've missed only 3 meetings in 6 months.
What it is like now?
Uh... nothing short of miraculous! I love my life. I have more real friends then I ever imagined. I have a relationship with God. My life has become ALL about recovery. Last night, I chaired my first A A meeting. Was scared to death, but sought through prayer and came to believe that God would never put me in a situation if he didn't feel I was strong enough. I've signed up to chair the rest of the month at that meeting, and will be chairing the month of December at my home group! Don't want to wear out my welcome, but suffice it to say, I never get tired talking about Alcoholism and Recovery! In fact, I wrote a story about it and submitted to "The Grapevine." Here it is:
Inspired by Listening Deeply Daily Reflections • August 5 (2017)
When I was new to Alcoholics Anonymous, I was so concerned with how other folks in a meeting would regard me; I missed out on some invaluable opportunities to gain some much-needed understanding. When I finally got the nerve to share after a week in, I was so overcome with relief that, I became amazed listening to myself speaking in a room full of Alcoholics. Not only did I run with it, I began cross-talking, interrupting, and generally breaking just about every unspoken rule of AA meeting etiquette. Still clueless after the meeting, I ran around the room shaking hands, smiling and feeling pretty damn awesome about myself until finally, a man took my hand, stared me straight in the face and gruffly told me "You talk too much." “You think I talk too much?” I replied, half thinking he was kidding. His response was a resounding, matter of fact, “HELL YES!”
I was dumbfounded. In a matter of minutes I became so angry, so indignant and resentful, that I thought to myself, I sure as hell don't need this s#)t in my life, and all but promised myself I would never attend another AA meeting as long as I lived. On the drive home, I even went so far as to pray that s.o.b. would start drinking again.
Later that fateful night, I did some reading, made some calls, and even prayed for understanding. It finally came. That man, though gruff and painfully matter of fact, was simply trying to teach me an invaluable lesson about the importance of listening. What a concept. Not just sitting there, quiet and polite, but really listening and comprehending what the more experienced alcoholics had to offer about what things had worked for them in this simple program.
As the "listening," concept sank in over time; my experience with AA has become all-consuming. My level of trust and appreciation for this program and fellowship has permeated my very existence. AND, I too, am now appalled when I see a new attendee whispering, texting, and generally not paying attention to a program designed to not only save their life, but more importantly, give them the opportunity to develop a life worth living.
I've only been sober for 126 days now, but have come to realize what a horrible decision not coming back would have been. Even worse, just how far I would have sunk had my prayer, that another alcoholic start drinking again, been answered. The following week, when I next saw the man who had taught me the most valuable lesson I had learned in this program to date, I walked up to him, shook his hand, and thanked him for his honesty, straightforwardness, and for teaching me something so fundamental about how this thing can really work.
He smiled, shook my hand, and replied, "Don't drink, and keep coming back."