Day 10 – My Sobriety Birthday
Day 10 – My Sobriety Birthday
Today, by the grace of my Higher Power, my sponsor, and working the Steps, I have been sober for 3 years. Wow! I am filled with gratitude for the life I have today, and for these 3 years that I’ve been sober. Although it has not been an easy road, it has been filled with many blessings.
This past year has been a year of growth for me. Facing fears. Building a stronger relationship with my Higher Power. And, building relationships with my sober support peeps. The list is too long to detail how I’ve stayed sober this long, but I can tell you the about the biggest tools that helped on this journey.
I’ve been blessed with a hearty appetite for reading. I’ve been a bookworm my entire life, and it is through reading that I’ve grown the most. Deepak Chopra: “Overcoming Addictions”, “How to Know God”; Peter Rollins: “The Idolatry of God”, The Orthodox Heretic”. Recovery blogs online. Recovery and alcoholism articles on medium.com, and around the web.
I am always looking for new information to help me understand the disease of alcoholism better. I stay teachable, and open-minded to learn new ways to connect with the Higher Power of my not understanding. And, when I hear someone’s idea of how to work the Steps, or handle a situation sober, I take that into account. Does it align with my beliefs? Is it something that could work in my life?
As a member of a 12-Step Fellowship, I work the 12 Steps. This is something that works for me. No, I haven’t been brainwashed. I work them under my own volition. The many benefits that have come to me from working the Steps are freedom from fear, freedom from the burden of my past, a closer relationship with my Higher Power, and better relationships with those around me.
I also believe you do not have to belong to a 12-Step Fellowship to work the Steps. But, if it’s not for you, that’s okay too. The Steps have also broadened my mind to opinions from other people. What works for one person may not work for another. We’re all different, and there is no right or wrong way to get, and stay, sober.
Over this past year, I’ve deepened my relationships with the people I hang out with at meetings. Last year I was still scared of people. I didn’t know how to interact with them. And the fear of what they thought about me was deep. But over this past year I’ve let go of the need for approval from others.
I’ve learned in my own time that I am unique, my own person, but I’m not a special snowflake. We all have a common problem, alcohol, and a common solution that helps us recover from the disease of alcoholism. I also learned that I can be myself around other people without the fear of being judged. That is because I surround myself with people who accept me for me. I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not when I’m around them.
And, I have people who call me on my bullshit. Two people specifically, who know me well, and who know my quirks. Those two people can tell when I’m not okay, even when I say I am. My friend A. is very intuitive. When I say I’m okay, she’ll say “How are you really?” My sponsor is the other person who does this well. That’s when I can be honest and say, you know, I’m not okay after all, and here’s why.
I used to be afraid of telling someone how I really am. I used to say “I’m fine”, when inside I was torn up and melting from the inside out. But today, I know I won’t get better if I do that. So, instead of saying “I’m fine”, I say how I really am. I am comfortable saying that because as I said above, I surround myself with people who care about me.
Today, at 3 years sober, I am still on fire for recovery. As my brother put it today, I have a passion for recovery. I’ve been given the gift of sobriety, given the gift of sharing what I’ve learned, and I want to give it away. I know today that I can only keep what I have by giving it away. I can’t be selfish.
I carry the message in meetings. Before and after meetings. In my writing. And sometimes one on one. If I stay willing, my Higher Power leads people into my life for me to help. And for that I am grateful.
In early sobriety, I struggled with the idea that I was a real alcoholic. That little voice in my head kept telling me I wasn’t. I also spent many days wondering why I was still sober, why I hadn’t relapsed yet. But, I kept going, putting one foot in front of the other. And, I listened to my sponsor. He told me many times early on that I was worth it. I deserved to stay sober because I was worth it. I didn’t always believe him. I saw myself as a piece of shit a lot of times.
But, I kept going. Something kept me on track. Today, I do believe I am worth it. I do believe I deserve to be sober today, and live the life I am living. Otherwise I would have relapsed a long time ago.
My message to those of you who are in early sobriety is, keep going. You are worth it, and you deserve a better life. Sobriety can be messy at times, especially in that first year. But, if you hang on long enough, through the ups and downs, the good times and bad, you can have a better life. A life you can’t even dream of right now. But, you must be willing to do the footwork to get there.
Keep trudging the road of happy destiny.
Originally published January 16, 2017 – medium.com