Thank You for letting me chair this meeting today. I will celebrate 29 years of sobriety on March 15th. Especially during the time near a milestone date for me, all of the chaos and desperation that I was feeling at that time is very clear to me. I’ve been told that our “special” date can also become over whelming, and lead to a relapse. I’ve seen it happen. I have tried to learn from the mistakes of others. Especially when they begin the conversation with “Don’t do what I did…….” IMHO it’s OK for you to say “Congratulations” or something like that.
But I’m here to warn you not to be overly impressed with *quantity* of sobriety. Look for *quality* of sobriety. Many “long timers” take their sobriety for granted … big mistake! They then become IMHO “Good, bad examples”.
I remember being told, the only person who has been sober longer than I me, is a person who got out of bed before I did today. Considering that I obviously stay up late, and don’t have to get up to go to work, it’s pretty easy to have more sobriety than me. 😀 I have so much I want to share with you. No one thing seems more important than another.
In the beginning I stayed sober out of fear of returning to what *was* before AA. I still get urges to drink, and I’m still afraid of becoming worse than I was when I came to this program.
The “Serenity Prayer” has been very important to my recovery. I had a Serenity Prayer necklace that I wore constantly, the first few years I was in the program. At work I would hold that necklace and stay close to my program, while I did my work. I always have it right in front of me. So far the only thing I’ve found that I can change is me. My attitude. Set boundaries (that I never had before), and either ignore people who don’t respect them, or simply get away from those people. I can’t please all of the people, all of the time. Crap! I’m lucky if I can please myself some of the time. I *work* at doing what is best for me … my “Elf”. I don’t always know what that is. But I do know I will always find the answer to any questions I have at an AA meeting. I don’t even have to ask the question. Someone at that meeting will undoubtedly share their ESH in a way that will help me find that answer in myself.
I was told I must remain *teachable*. One might think that at 29 years sober & 70 years old, I’d know a whole lot more answers than I do. The answers are still the same today as they were 29 years ago. I have to be flexible and willing to change, or I’m going to be miserable. I don’t want to be miserable. I want to make the changes in myself that I need to do to be happy. I like happy.
“Change” may be the one word that all of this boils down to. I think that about says it all.