TODAY I AM 11 YEARS SOBER.
It's a big fucking deal. I do shout it out. I do make a big to do out of this every year because even though we only have this one day sober, it adds up and to me, it's worth celebrating. Way more so than my earth birthday, which came and went without much ado this year, thankfully. THIS is the shit worth celebrating for me these days.
When I was in my last of many many detox's and then psych wards years ago (they put me in the psych ward because I was having such severe hallucinations while coming off booze, I needed to be monitored for that shit), I walked into an art therapy session (yes, it was as awful and cliche as you see in tv and movies) and the hippy dippy trippy leader of the class, an older lady wearing danskos and a lovely jumper with birds on it, said, "I've been where you are now and I promise you it gets better".
I looked at her with my weary and doubtful eyes that had no spark of hope and said, "how long have you been sober?" And she just said, "Since I woke up this morning."
I was in no mood for cute little sayings from AA people. NO MOOD. And she saw that and said, "11 years, but really, just for today. That's all any of us have. I woke up today and said I wouldn't drink and Higher Power willing, I won't." Hmmmm, hippy dippy trippy sober for 11 years, wonder why she's on my heart today?
That stuck with me as have so many other little interactions through the years. Both before I got sober, if I remember them, and afterwards. October 4, 2011. That is the date that everything changed in such a profound way that when I look back on it now I almost cannot believe that it was me. But I own it all. I know it was me and I know this is me all these years later continuing to strive for more, for better, for true joy. Each year has been different. There have been many phases to my sobriety, some plateaus, some negative spells. It's not all magically fixed because you get sober. There is a lot of hard work to do. And only I am responsible. I can't blame anyone or anything else for the wreckage I caused. And I'm still making amends. And that's ok.
The magnitude of gratitude I feel for being sober today is the most POWERFUL WEAPON in my arsenal against getting drunk. Truly. I see people who aren't grateful for who and what they have and they are miserable. Why wouldn't they drink? You have to replace the hole in your soul with something good. With something enriching. With something that KEEPS YOU GOING EVERY DAMN DAY whether you feel tip top or not.
I have shitty days, but my worst day sober is always better than my best day drunk. ALWAYS. See, that's one of those annoying little sayings that people in AA say and newcomers just want to PUNCH US IN THE G-D FACE. I still want to punch me in the face when I hear myself saying all this cheesy shit sometimes. But today I just smile, shake my head, and say, IT IS SO TRUE.
My little mama sent me a text today saying, "I get you be with you on your anniversary 2 years in a row, honey!" And I know that means the world to her because they lived through it all with me and were integral in me getting sober - I know nothing, and then that first year.
What I know for sure is, every damn day, I made a gratitude list. It is the MOST IMPORTANT THING I DO EACH DAY. I am having twins. And that is supremely important, but if I am not sober and doing what I need to do to stay sober and happy, these babies are SCREWED. And, I got sober for me first. These babies and my husband come second. That sounds harsh, but it's absolutely the truth. I cannot stay sober for my babies. I need to stay sober for MYSELF.
Gratitude List for Today (not in order of importance necessarily, except for number 1, without which I HAVE NOTHING).
- SOBRIETY. Just for today. And ok, for 11 years of continuous, good and strong sobriety. and of course, the program and people in AA and my Higher Power helping me along.
- Being alive and not dead.
- Furries who love us unconditionally.
- My wonderful husband.
- My miracle babies, Hall & Oates, growing so healthy in my belly.
- Being completely healthy in body, mind and spirit (if I keep doing the hard work).
- A roof over my head and luxuries I never dreamed of that most in the world don't have.
- Healthy and delicious food to eat and clean water to drink.
- A great job that pays me money every day to do a job I mostly enjoy very much - WITH BENEFITS.
- Friends that are absolutely there for me and get me.
So, here's to another year sober, and more than that, another year happy, joyous and free. Hopefully for all of us. We strive for this. We want this. We can have this. One day at a time.
p.s. I've linked a couple posts here, as you can see. It's like a treasure hunt of sobriety in these links. I write about my experience, strength and hope A LOT. In fact, it's all I write about. I have said before that I believe I was given this second chance at life to reach out and to help other people who are struggling with this. Or just struggling and need to know they are not alone and that, hey, whatever you've done or been through, chances are, I've been there, done that - if not worse. PLEASE click on the links to get more insight into where I've been and that I know what I'm talking about.