April 19, 2009 (This Day)

It’s Sunday.  It’s going to rain after a wonderful weather day yesterday during which I planted more grass seed.  The grass is for the dog to go potty on.  I hope it works, or Carole will surely spend money and chemicals on our so-called “lawn.”

Tomorrow is her 13th anniversary.  God willing.

I lost two more pounds for a total of 17 since January.  Eleven (or so) more to go, but one or two more will put me in the “healthy” BMI zone for the first time in a long time.

I have a bit of a happy oldtimer dilemma.  On the one hand, I am severely aware of the danger of pride and cockiness.  Just one harrowing story of even one oldtimer who had more time than me, who kept current with the program and who drank again is enough to scare me straight.  Truly, it is.  I know it is because I have made it this far.  I could change, or slip, or decline or decay, but if those things don’t happen today, I’m not drinking.  The oldtimers who do and who I hear about seldom were still current with meetings.  I almost always make one, often two, sometimes more meetings a week.  That isn’t enough for some oldtimers, but it’s good for me.

Anyway one part of the dilemma is when someone very near and very dear to me disparages my sobriety in a mean way.  It hardly ever happens, but it does.  In the course of my human relationships, my sobriety is a sort of rock I stand on, and it isn’t dependent on any person or thing.  There is no one in my life anymore who knew me when I was drinking – except for my mother, other relatives I don’t often see, and one AA friend who I see from time to time.  My sobriety is longer than all of my other relationships.  It was there before them, and if those relationships end before I die I plan for it to be there after them.  God willing of course.

Of course I think God wills it.  Saying “God willing” is sort of like knocking on wood.  An acknowledgment that although I strongly suspect I know God’s will this time, in this human existence I cannot be 100% sure.

To go along with that, 25 years of sobriety is a big target for someone who wants to hurt me to shoot at.  All you need to do is say “25 years” in the right tone of voice to make it a slap.  And OK, I’m not a shining example of all a member of AA should be.  I’m not living according to many interpretations of how the “first 164” says I should live. I’m not living according to the local “shoulds” of the program.

I don’t drink.  I go to meetings.  There’s lots more, but that’s my bottom line.

Another oldtimer problem – someone reacts to someone else’s sobriety, or to mine, in a way that shows they are astonished at the length.  “Well, so-and-so said, and she has 23 years,” things like that.  These statements are meant to convey that we should respect the person, and give extra credibility to what they say.  I agree with that (easy for me), to a reasonable extent of course.  My personal problem with it is the very human reaction that someone and everyone will reveal the man behind the curtain.  At the end, all I really have is my time to stand for me as a fact of my sobriety.    I can’t let the length of time convey any more respect or credibility than it should.

In my culture, 25 years is a milestone.  The only thing I don’t like about it is that it means it is closer to the end.  Other than that, I wouldn’t go back for anything.  It’s so much better.

I very much want to be that role model in that I can honestly tell people who have less time than me that for me it truly gets better.  It’s easy for someone with 2 days or 2 months or 2 years to find packs of people to say it gets better.  There are fewer and fewer people ahead of me on the road.  I can tell people with 12 or 22 years that for me it gets better.

A criticism of AA is that it supersedes religion, and in that way it is wrong.  For me there is no religion without AA.  I was incapable of stopping drinking with religion, and drunk, I cannot practice any religion.  Or live, if you get down to it.  That weakness gave me a new and useful life almost 25 years ago.

Honestly, I’m pretty sure that today will suck in many ways.  I can’t think of a cheerful way to end this day or my post about this day.  Sometimes, it just sucks.

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One thought on “April 19, 2009 (This Day)

  1. After 2 1/2 years of sobriety, I stopped thinking in years and began thinking in one day at a time like the program teaches us. That way I got all of that ego stuff out of my system. So, who ever got up before me today has more sobriety than I do. That way I can listen to everyone in the rooms and not think that my years of sobriety mean all that much. Yes, I am grateful that I have stayed sober for almost two decades, but if I am unwilling to listen to an newcomer, then my program isn’t worth it and I have learned nothing at all about being sober. I have to be willing to listen to everyone and as they say, take what I need and leave the rest.

    The woman that I sponsor wants my years of sobriety, but she is also smart enough to know that it takes every single day I spent to get there.

    That is my experience, strength and hope on living the AA program, one day at a time.

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