Recovery in Your Life
Today is special for me because it has been exactly 23 years since I had my last (hopefully) drink. It boggles my mind, as I was a daily drinker for three decades, and I had never tried to stop because I knew I couldn’t. I went to my first AA meeting in 1987 (32 years ago). Obviously, it didn’t take. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to quit drinking. I just wanted my husband at the time to get off my back.
I had known I was an alcoholic for a very long time, but I didn’t care. I had to find my own personal bottom to become willing to do what was suggested. My bottom wasn’t as low as some, but it was low enough for me. I could no longer be that woman. I believe my Higher Power showed me what I had become in the middle of a drunk. I was angry, even violent, and completely delusional. I was broken and hopeless by the time I got back to AA in 1996. But by then, I had the gift of desperation. It was a gift, for that’s what it took for me to take the program seriously.
I am one of the slow types of alcoholics. I stayed broken and miserable for several years after I stopped drinking. I did the steps, and it helped. But I was still broken. It took a long time for what I was taught to get from my hard head to my heart. I had to learn everything from personal experience before I believed it. I had to do the steps again – and again. Every time I did them, I got better. My life got better. And one day, I realized that some of the 9th Step promises had come true for me. Hope found its way into my heart.
Those first years, I worked this program like my life depended on it. And it did. Recovery was the main focus of my life. I read the Big Book, went to meetings, participated in this group, and did both formal and informal service work. I ate, slept, and breathed recovery. Not because I wanted to, but because I had no options left but this one. I either stayed in AA and recovery this time, or I died. It didn’t matter if I believed. It didn’t matter if I had hope. It was all there was left for me. Thank God there was this one thing left. It saved my life. It gave me a life I’d never had before.
Today, recovery is not the all-consuming focus of my life, but it is still my first priority. I learned the hard way that when I don’t work the program, I become nothing but a dry drunk with all the old behaviors. Today, I can’t tolerate that misery for very long. I know what serenity feels like, so I continue to work the program every day.
So, what I’d like to hear from you this week – no matter how long it’s been since you’ve had a drink – is what recovery means to you personally and what its role is in your life today. Of course, please share whatever you need to share with us.
Thank you for letting me share,