Mar 08: Gratitude


Today I celebrate 28 years of sobriety. I am somewhat new to GROW since only finding out about GROW last December. Reading your shares every day and listening to your experience strength and hope has helped me keep things in perspective lately since I have been crazy busy the last year with work and being in an MA program. I fall very quickly into self and negative thinking if I don’t work my program and get to meetings.

I wasn’t really sure I was an alcoholic at first but knew I could not stop drinking. I believe my drink found my friends for me back then as I wanted to drink to get drunk and basically check out as much as possible through drink. Back then if you didn’t drink like I did or wanted to drink like I did I thought you were boring, weird or there was something not right about you. I came into the rooms on March 7th, 1987, and I did not plan to get sober or stay in AA. I just wanted help to drink like a normal person (not blackout, not end up with people I didn’t want to be with the next day after drinking all night, not miss school due to drinking!|)

My Higher Power had other plans, and the meeting I walked in on March 8th, 28 years ago, was the beginning of my journey in sobriety. Well I didn’t really want to stop drinking all those years ago but I did want to learn how to “curtail” my drinking. I started hearing peoples’ stories in AA after going to meetings to try and learn how to be a normal drinker, and then I heard how peoples’ lives were so much better being sober.

I started to take suggestions from people who had some time in AA, and I did almost everything these crazy old timers in AA told me to do !’d pick up cups, wash up, greet at meetings, take on commitments, 90 in 90, read the book, talk to newcomers with less time than me and so on. They kept telling me to “keep coming back” one day at a time. It wasn’t too long that I got a sponsor and she walked me through the steps of AA.

For me I know in my heart that sobriety gives me amazing choices and opportunities in life that I would not have if I was drinking. Today I have hope and faith. And if on occasion things happen which are out of my control, I know from experience in AA that “this too shall pass.”

AA birthdays always give me an opportunity to reflect on my sober journey and express some gratitude for a new life (and an even better one than I could have imagined). Today I certainly don’t worry about hangovers, blacking out, or waking up with someone I don’t know or care to be with because of my drinking. I haven’t had the opportunity to get to any f2f meetings this week due to being out of town for work, so this fellowship online has been my saving grace. Look forward to shares on the topic of “Gratitude.”

Just want to finish my share with my favourite reading from the Big Book of AA, “Keys of the Kingdom,” page 276:

“The last fifteen years of my life have been rich and meaningful. I have had my share of problems, heartaches, and disappointments because that is life, but also I have known a great deal of joy and a peace that is the handmaiden of an inner freedom. I have a wealth of friends and, with my A.A. friends, an unusual quality of fellowship. For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objectives and new-found faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding, and love – without strings, without obligation – we acquire relationships that are unique and priceless.

“There is no more aloneness, with that awful ache, so deep in the heart of every alcoholic that nothing, before, could ever reach it. That ache is gone and never need return again.

“Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved. In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys of the Kingdom.”