I went to a meeting last night and someone I see every once in a while, a few times a year, said, “You have long-term sobriety, don’t you?” I said that I did. “How much, if you don’t mind me asking,” he said. “Thirty years,” I said. “To what do you attribute that?” he asked.
And I was struck dumb (quiet) for a long moment. Then I forced myself to start listing things, because it’s a question that deserves an answer. I listed a few key things for him, but really, it boils down to not being complacent about my sobriety, ever.
I think of “complacent” as meaning lackadaisical and neglectful, but looking it up I see that it can involve being smug, or proud. I cannot be lackadaisical, neglectful, smug or proud of my sobriety, the length of my sobriety or any other aspect of my sobriety, and it was bitter experience trying and failing to get and stay sober that finally convinced me.
I’ve been told enough times that if I don’t care for my sobriety and actively cultivate it, I will lose it. Honestly at this point there are very few people who have gone longer than I have to tell me if this remains true over several decades. It doesn’t matter to me anymore whether or not I have to continue in this way. I want to continue in this way. And even the slightest risk that I could go back is too much of a risk to take. And for what?
So I listed several factors that I attribute my long-term sobriety to, but I made sure I included the only one I may believe in 100%, and that one is luck.