I’m just back from a meeting where the topic was something like “what do you have in your life now that you didn’t have when you were drinking?” Something along the lines of gratitude and what you are grateful for, choosing one especially striking thing. I think. Topics tend to take on a life of their own.
As they went around the room I decided to listen to see if there was anything anyone mentioned that I don’t have. I’ve been sober for 29 years, and it would be really really tough to choose something among the obvious.
I have all of things people mentioned. I have sobriety babies, my adult children who have never seen me drunk. I have ok relationships with them because they’ve never seen me drunk. I’ve gone back to school and I did much better with it than when I was drinking. An understatement. I’m trusted at work and I have a key to the building. My relationship with my mother is much better than when I was drinking. I’m much more able to appreciate and enjoy every day than when I was drinking. I’m serene some of the time. I never was when drinking. I have lots of wonderful people in my life, and many good relationships.
The one thing people mentioned that I don’t have is grandchildren. But like I said at the meeting, since my kids don’t want kids, it’s best that they don’t have them. And the ability to accept that is something wonderful that the program has given me.
I was reading a blog post by someone who has decided to stop going to AA, though he is dedicated to not drinking. He thinks that he will grow better outside of AA, because AA gets to be repetitive and centered on early sobriety. That can be a drawback, but I just can’t imagine that on my own I would think of these things, not all of them, nor would I be reminded of early sobriety and I need to be reminded of that.
He was saying that the people in AA will use fear as a tactic to keep people from leaving. I need to be afraid of drinking. Honestly, it was the most frightening thing I did. I’m grateful that I still have that fear, kept alive by meetings. Plus it helped me get sober when nothing else would. I’d support it for the rest of my life for that reason alone, though there are many more reasons. The never-ending gratitude list is one of them.