February 29, 2016 (this day)

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This day my son turns 28 years old.  Born on Leap Day in 1988, when I was three, almost four years sober.  That seems like such a tiny bit of sobriety now, way too little to be bringing another life into the world.  But he will never know what a miracle my sobriety and so his life is.  The way I drank, there’s no way he wouldn’t have been permanently damaged and probably killed by it, if he had even ever started, which he wouldn’t have.  Those sobriety babies are the biggest blessing of my life.

We were talking politics, and mentioning Margaret Thatcher lead him to ask if our cat Thacher was named after her.  Um, no.  He was named after Ebby Thacher, which lead to a short explanation of who that was.  I tried to explain without saying anything that might turn my son off to it, like I didn’t mention a Higher Power.  Just in case he should need this particular solution one day.

When I was 28, he was four, and I was six years sober.  So I can’t compare us at 28.  But I can say that he has succeeded and not messed up anything like I did way before I was his age.  So, a true and astonishing miraculous success story brought to you, like all my successes are, by AA.  A twenty eight year old who has never been endangered by my alcoholism.

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Step Three

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Before I begin to look at the text, my general impressions and basic understanding.

An important part of the step is making a decision.  Not “turned our will and lives over,” but rather made a decision to do so.  The actual turning over, I’m pretty sure, can never be complete, not even for someone who dedicates his or her life to God in some kind of religious vocation and life.  Even the decision needs to be made again and again, as I realize I have taken my will and my life back, and am doing something contrary to what I know is right.

It can seem mysterious and complicated, but in a nutshell I think it means working the rest of the steps, and then all of the steps again and again for the rest of my life.  The steps show me God’s will for me.  Or, if there is no superior being, the steps show me the right way to think and act and live so that I, as an alcoholic, so not have to drink.

I need to consciously consider each step purposefully over and over again through the years and decades.  I know that other people who have long term sobriety do it differently, but this is what has worked for me.  As I consider each part of each one my understanding grows and I find additional ways to put the steps into practice.  This is one of the ways that AA stays relevant and fresh for me after more than three decades of sobriety.

Today, I often do what I know to be wrong.  I speed.  I eat foods that damage my health.  I fail to exercise.  My house isn’t as clean as it should be.  I don’t walk the dog as often as she deserves.  I slip something into the garbage that I should recycle.  I don’t answer the phone, or make a call I should make.

All of these examples and many more are evidence to me that I haven’t turned my will and my life over.  The wrong actions may take only a small part of my day, but they are there.  Just because I’ll never be perfect, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive toward perfection.  I hope that my coming reading and writing about the third step brings me just a fraction farther down that road.

February 6, 2016 (this day)

IMG_0307I achieve some goals, sometimes, yes I do!  This sock was made with extensive help from my daughter over a weekend in a cabin.  I mean, she helped me turn the heel then.  She had helped me start the thing at Christmas.  Hard and fun.  I made it on giant needles as a practice sock and now I have to see if I have enough nerve to try another on proper needles with nicer yarn.  My daughter mentioned that most knitters don’t make it this far, but give up before knitting becomes this difficult.  It reminded me of the line from the 12 and 12 where “this step separates the men from the boys,” or something like that.  I’m thinking it’s referring to step four or five, but I don’t know know for sure.

So, knitting a sock as a metaphor for working the steps and staying sober in Alcoholics Anonymous.  Today, I’ve done both, and because of this my future for knitting and staying sober are bright, as long as body and soul stay together.

And the black hair at the top of the picture belongs to the dog.  I have no idea how to edit and little desire to learn, though I’m hoping my son will come over soon and help me work my scanner.  How cool these people I potty-trained help me learn so much now.  They are both blessings of sobriety.