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The Importance of Remembering My Roots

The Importance of Remembering My Roots
The Importance of Remembering My Roots

Remembering my roots, where I came from, remembering I am an alcoholic, is important for me today. I need reminders every day that I am an alcoholic, because I get caught up in life. Events during the day help me forget the hell I went through not long ago. I forget what it was like in early sobriety, just trying to make it through an hour without drinking, sometimes even just a minute.

Gentle Reminders

Tonight, I received one of those reminders.

I ran into an acquaintance of mine, after my meeting, whom I hadn’t seen for a while. As we were catching up I was reminded of a night where I think she helped me more than I helped her.

I was 8 or 9 months sober at the time, and life was going smoothly. I had had a few road bumps along the way, but nothing too major yet that put my sobriety in any danger. That was still to come.

One night, while attending our 10 p.m. meeting, this acquaintance of mine was having a rough night. Not only was she still in early recovery, she had a lot of personal troubles going on in her life too. That night she spoke up in the meeting, said she was having a hard time, and she was close to drinking.

After the meeting, a group of us went to Village Inn for our usual “meeting after the meeting” gathering. A late supper/ early breakfast. Time to catch up and bullshit into the wee hours of the night. My acquaintance, the girl having the rough time, decided to come too. And I’m glad she did.

I remember sitting there with her that night, looking at her, and thinking “I hope she makes it”. She looked so lost and sad and mixed up, and I couldn’t help feeling her pain and sorrow. I also knew in that moment what I needed to do.

As the evening grew later and later, more people decided to go home for the night. As our numbers dwindled she stayed, waiting for the zero hour – 2 a.m.

At 2 a.m. in our city, the bars shut down, and alcohol can no longer be served.

As it got later and later I could tell the guys wanted to go. It was just me, her, and 2 of my guy friends left. I remember willing the guys with my stare to stay with me until 2 because I didn’t know if I could stay with her by myself.

But, I also knew that I wasn’t going to leave. When one of my fellow sober people are in the trenches, it’s my duty to stay with them if they need me to.

That night was pivotal for my sobriety. That night, I not only learned how quickly things can turn from good to bad, but I also learned what it meant to serve others. And, how important it is for me to remember my roots.

Forgetting and Remembering

As I said, I ran into many speed bumps in early sobriety. Some of those speed bumps were merely reminders to me of how fragile my sobriety can be when I don’t care for it. And others were huge wake up calls, letting me know my ego was getting the best of me, and that it was time for more action.

But, as time progressed, and living sober got easier and easier, I forgot that hell I went through in my drinking days. I forgot about the blackouts. I forgot about the awful hangovers the next day. I forgot about going into work and lying about being sick because I was really “sick” from drinking too much.

I could walk past the display of beer at work and not think about drinking. I could talk about past hurts without wanting to hide away in a hole and drink to cover up the pain. My brain was healing.

Thankfully it doesn’t take long for those little reminders to come. When I hear someone say in a meeting that they are struggling, I don’t roll my eyes like I used to. I don’t think “Don’t dump that in here, that’s what a sponsor is for”. Today I think “That could be me. Thank you for the reminder”.

And when someone does speak up and say they are close to drinking, I try to be there for them. Share my experience with them, or just lend a listening ear. Because I am not there to be served, but to serve.

In the Thick of It All

Today, I keep in touch with other sober peeps and share my struggles and joys. I listen to others share their struggles and joys as well. I go to meetings, not to keep me sober, but to remind myself of my roots. To remind myself that I am an alcoholic, and there is still work to be done.

I also go to meetings to share my story of what I was like, what happened, and what I am like now, so the newcomer can find me, and others like me. And, the same newcomer can find that sense of camaraderie, and know that they don’t have to suffer alone through this sober journey.

I also share in meetings to keep those memories of my bad and good days at the forefront of my mind. Because for me, it is all too easy to get caught up in the good days, with no speed bumps, and forget the struggles of a week, a month, or even a year ago.

I stay in the middle of the Fellowship. I stay immersed in service work. I reach out when I can to help the newcomer or person that is struggling. And I continue to remind myself of my roots.

Because when I do all of that, it’s harder for me to forget. It’s harder for my ego to get big again. It’s harder for that little alcoholic voice in my head to say “Well, we’re doing good today. We don’t need to go to the meeting. We’re doing fine on our own”.

When I remember my roots, remember where I came from, I’m building on the foundation of my sobriety. Building on the foundation that I started by working the Steps.

If I keep building, growing, and remembering, I’ll be okay.

Originally published October 12, 2016 – medium.com

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