My birthday occurred over this long weekend, and when my son visited we tried to identify some of the trees around here. My knowledge of the trees and flowers and birds around me is pitifully poor. There’s an app for that, but the app is fairly poor as well. I also have a gigantic book that tells about all the plants of my state. That one is far to big and complicated for me to make sense of. The most success I’ve had identifying trees has been by asking Carole’s Facebook friends. But they will often disagree.
This seems to be a black cherry tree, and the dog of the tragic story a few years ago used to eat the tiny cherries then poop them out or throw them up. It was quite awful.
So now I am 54 years old, and I’ve been sober in AA for 32 years. My anniversary and my birthday both occur in May. Both numbers are beyond my comprehension. I can’t possibly be this old, and I can’t possibly be this sober! But here I am, and life is very, very good.
A miracle is “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.” Something like a recovery from an illness that has been diagnosed as fatal. Like alcoholism.
“Don’t quit before the miracle” is something a person who is struggling in AA may hear. Behind it is the hope and belief that continuing on in AA will bring about the miracle of recovery. My recovery is a miracle. I was on the brink of death from drinking too much, and I’ve now abstained for 32 years. A miracle.
I have experienced another kind of miracle in the program. For years I was driven to AA with the desperate hope that I could find sobriety there. I needed to stop drinking and I needed the program to get me there, because I couldn’t stop without it, on my own. But at some point, and I don’t know when, I came to want the program and the people and the meetings and the books. Now, if another kind of miracle offered me sobriety without the program of AA, I wouldn’t take it. I want the program now. And that’s my second miracle, the one that keeps my coming back. I also wouldn’t “cure” my alcoholism. I’d keep it. All of my happiness has come from there.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~2 Corinthians 12:7-10
In honor of Mother’s Day, the tombstone of Bill Wilson’s grandmother, the woman who mostly raised him. I meant to put his mother’s stone up but chose this one by mistake and I thought, why not? If it’s always the mother’s fault (which I think it always is), maybe I owe my life to these two women.
I marked 32 years sober last week. As one impertinent young person in the program put it, “All of my life, and then some.” Yes I’ve been sober longer than some people in the rooms have been alive.
I’ve been sober longer than my kids have been alive, and that is one of the supreme miracles of my life. For Mother’s Day I have what I want, and that is children. They’ve never been endangered by my drinking and for that I am grateful.
And as I like to tell some of my relapsing friends, it’s never too late to give your children a sober mother.