So today is my anniversary - seven years of sobriety. My wedding anniversary is also this weekend - eleven years. Both of these are surprising to me somehow, as I don't know how I could be old enough for either of these. Oh wait, that's right, I'm not 25 anymore. Not sure when that happened either? Maybe there really is something to that Momnesia.
I'll be getting my coin tonight which means I have to talk. And as much as I like to gabble away here, doing so out loud and in front of other people always makes me twitch. And by twitch I mean it makes me want to throw up on my shoes. It's just my least favorite thing to do, which is hard given that part of my recovery is taking what I have learned and sharing it with others in meetings. I'm trying not to over think it, but I need to at least have some semblance of thought or else I babble and then shut up mid-sentence when I forget where I was going.
The main thing I like to share on my anniversary is that even though I was sober for three years before I came to AA, I don't recommend doing it that way. White-knuckling your way through early sobriety is hell, and an unnecessary one at that. When you have to go through something hard, it's a simple premise in life to find other people going through the same thing who can support you. When I stopped drinking I just did what my father had done. He has been sober for nearly three decades and has never gone to meetings. I didn't know anyone who went to AA. I had a friend, a woman many years older than me, who said that she didn't go to meetings because she didn't want 'that stigma'. I blindly latched on to that sentiment. But the problem is that every person is different, and although having no support worked for my friend and my Dad, it did not work for me. It wasn't until nearly three years later, when I was on my Walk to Emmaus, that a pastor talked about Alcoholics Anonymous, a place where grateful beggars could find grace on tap. I was struck by that statement, knowing how hard it had been for me to go it alone. Not much later a friend invited me to go with her, and I did. I got my three year coin at the second meeting I attended. All I could do was weep and say that I was thankful that I could do it for my children. I still feel that way, but have come far enough that I can actually speak without breaking down.
Without the program of recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous I would not be sober today. Many times I have struggled, only to find the wisdom I needed in the Big Book or from another alcoholic. Many times I have made an amend to someone I wronged, and found that redemption heals the soul. Many times I have called my sponsor and found solace in sharing my struggle with another. I cannot imagine life without this program, and living out the principles in my daily life.
As the Man and I get ready to celebrate eleven years together, I could not be more thankful for his support. He has always said that I should do whatever I needed to do, and never questioned me on it. We have watched as the marriages of friends have disintegrated over the years, and wondered how we were the chosen ones who stayed together. True, we work to have a good relationship. But the foundation for our marriage is God. If we relied simply on our love to stay together, we would fall apart. "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." ~ Isaiah 40:8
Happy Anniversary babe.... you still make me smile.