Life Takes on a New Meaning
Here's part of my trudge.
I got to AA in 1998, got serious in 2004, got sober in 2005.
When drinking, my major challenge after waking up was to squint at the alarm clock and seeing that it read "7:00" to then look out the blinds and determine if it was 7am or 7pm. My next question would have been what day is it and do I need to be at work in two hours.
I had $10,000 in credit card debit, no car and up until that point, I vetoed whether I needed a shower each day or the necessity for clean clothes to go to work.
Eventually, I had my last drink, a bottle of vodka over a few hours. There was no oblivion that day, no fun, no high, no escape, no black-out, no pass out, the drinking had changed.
I made some decisions, to do AA as suggested, to go to frequent and regular meetings, sit near the front in meetings, stop being the first out the door and to stick my hand out and meet others, to stop being different, to be open to what people said about themselves and to get interested in people who were sober because they had sobriety and I wanted it.
I went to meetings, I didn't drink under any circumstances, I got a sponsor and started working the steps. I put a budget in place. I got a sponsor. I conceded God might exist and could be of help. I paid off my debts and started saving some money.
Life happened. I entered a relationship and didn't drink one day at a time. I left the relationship and didn't drink one day at a time. Four years sober, I shared a house and almost got evicted cause my house mate stopped paying rent. Members helped me move house and gave me a bed at short notice.
My savings started to look better and I began to shop for a home. Time passed and I went to inspections and auctions and I didn't drink.
I'm now a little over four and a half years sober. On Saturday, I went to three auctions and got to everyone of them late. My sponsor who is a great friend came with me to a couple of the auctions. I got the times wrong for two of them. Got to one 30 minutes late. I'd inspected the property twice before and was interested. As I got out of the car, the auctioneer indicated he didn't need to confer with the vendors again -- he would be selling. I'd arrived mid-auction, I asked what bids were going up in (e.g. $10,000, $5,000, $1,000) and started bidding. Three minutes after I got out of the car, I had won the auction. I wasn't fearful or panicked.
My longest enduring adult relationship has been that of me and my cat from the cat shelter. He'll now have a home, so will I. When we get there, he'll lay in the sun and regard me coolly as only cats can. Buying a home was never possible for me before I got sober, I was perennially broke.
I'm not overwhelmed with emotions or feelings about purchase, I'm quietly pleased and relieved. I know that will pass.
AA didn't promise me ... a car, or a home. These are products of my sober life.
The home is good, it'll need some repair -- it will be a work in progress. I too am a work in progress. The home is nice, but better still is my ability to laugh and to like the man who looks back at me in the mirror.
I know I'm not cured, that this is simply part of my sober journey and the answers continue to be related to my participation within Alcoholics Anonymous.
My favourite quote from the Big Book was part of today's Daily Reflections:
"Life will take on a new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends -- this is an experience you must not miss. ... Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives" (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 89).
As much as I see others as those "newcomers" and see them recover -- I know that that was me too.
I've never got far away from meetings of AA. The cornerstone of my sobriety has been not picking up that first drink, one day at a time.
The journey continues.