Rebirth, New Beginning
This is my first time chairing a meeting, either online or in person, so it’s an exciting opportunity, but I also worried about what topic I’d share. I do have a lot of questions and ideas would pop into my head, but I kept telling myself that when it was time, my HP would guide me. I originally chose this date, March 27, 2016, because it was the closest to my 9-month sobriety date, not even realizing at the time that I was choosing Easter Sunday. So, it seems most meaningful to me to discuss what Easter symbolizes, rebirth and new beginning, as it relates to being an alcoholic.
I remember sitting in my first meeting on Day 1 and reading the steps before the meeting began. I naively thought something to the effect of: “Yes, I can agree to these. I’ll speed through these steps in record pace.” I had no idea at the time that not drinking alcohol has more to it than just not drinking alcohol or how hard it would be. But that was where I was beginning, and showing up at that first meeting was an amazing beginning for me.
I will admit that it has become more of a habit to not drink alcohol and, therefore, easier in some ways. But I also know that I cannot become cocky and think I’ve solved my alcoholism and can now drink moderately. I still get cravings sometimes, especially if I’m extremely stressed or if I smell it or if there’s an event that I’d normally associate with drinking: weddings, Happy Hour, or weekend dinners for example. I have thought about drinking alcohol a lot over the past nine months, and I don’t know if that will change with time. I still feel jealous when I see pictures of people with a drink in their hand and still sometimes feel uncomfortable walking through the alcohol section of the market (kind of like I think that I need to keep my defenses up). I can say that it has only been until recently that I’ve realized that my hard work is paying off.
The biggest realization has been from going from a mindset of “I’m just not going to drink alcohol, and this sucks that other people get to drink and I can’t” to “Hey, there are some benefits to not drinking alcohol and admitting I’m an alcoholic and doing the work (steps and counseling to work on cognitive behavior therapy for depression and anxiety) is showing some positive evidence in my life.” I still have to ‘play the tape’ to talk myself out of the first drink (i.e. what would happen after that first drink), and I can never think that I’ve cured my disease and can become a moderate drinker. I know alcoholism is a tricky disease that will try to convince me I’m cured and can drink again.
I’m seeing some positive evidence and happiness, despite all kinds of stress in my life:
- I’m growing a relationship with my HP that wasn’t there nine months ago, and it is a spiritual awakening.
- I’ve handled nine months of sobriety despite all that has gone on around me.
- I’ve noticed I’m reacting to situations differently: more confidence, less worrying about what other people think, way less taking on of other people’s problems, more awareness of my previous patterns and habits that were unhealthy or unbalanced, slowing down before reacting, feeling less overwhelmed.
- I’m spending money that I used to spend on alcohol in much more productive ways.
- I’m spending time that I used spend on alcohol in better ways: more meaningful conversations with people I love, more reading, more creative pursuits.
- I have more energy and no hangovers, which just makes life better.
- I have no more regrets about not remembering or remembering and feeling shameful about what I said or did.
- I’m aware that there is more work to be done and always will need to be done in my journey since beginning with AA. I’m also aware of how much more I need to do with step work.
- I’m aware that none of these positive changes would have happened without beginning a life without alcohol.
So, my questions for you are: What has been your rebirth or new beginning since your first day of sobriety? How have your ideas, thoughts or actions changed since your Day 1? Or what else would you like to share?