Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Experience, Strength, and Hope

That's all I have to share. My experience, strength, and hope. As AA members, we are all in the same boat. The boat of trying to stay sober, one day at a time. There isn't a hierarchy of AA members. There isn't a magic day when you are cured and therefore become a counselor to all the poor unfortunates who come through the door.

Around the country, there are some differences in the way things are done within AA. One that I find varies widely is the stating of your sobriety date. Where I live, it is considered boastful to talk about how long you have been sober. I have also found that people stop listening to you when they find out you have been sober for over 20 years - because they think you have somehow graduated to that higher level of recovery that they can't relate to. So I generally keep my mouth shut about how long I have been sober.

But just for the record, I will state that I went to my first AA meeting on July 24, 1984, and I have not had a drink since then. Words cannot begin to convey what that means to me.

I can assure you that MY best efforts did not achieve this. My best efforts would have had me drunk within my first year. The fact that I am sitting here this morning, at the age of 54, in a nice clean house (that I own), writing on a nice computer, about my decades of sobriety is strictly due to the Grace of a loving God. Yes, there was and is "work" to do. But it pales in comparison to what I have been so freely given. In my wildest imaginings, I could not have dreamed up the life I have today. A little bit of going to meetings, working with others, doing some steps, helping others do some steps... that is like paying 2 cents and getting 2 million dollars.

My intention is to stay sober for the rest of my life. But I can only take care of today. I could be drunk tomorrow. But as long as tomorrow finds me taking care of that day, I should be fine.

I am so grateful for a loving God who has blessed me so abundantly. I am so grateful for AA and the wonderful friends I have had over the years. I have other non-alcoholic friends and the quality of those relationships just pales in comparison with my AA friendships. A new thing in my life is this blog and the wonderful AA bloggers I have come across. I find this so exciting. I am so grateful for the AA way of life. What a gift. Every sober day is a priceless gift.


Trudging said...

"There isn't a magic day when you are cured and therefore become a counselor to all the poor unfortunates who come through the door." Oh how I have fallen into this trap more than once. Thank God my God has a sense of humor.

Kenny said...

Beautifully put. Thanks so much. there is alot in your post that I need to remind myself daily. Glad you commented on my blog.... makes me visit yours.

dAAve said...

Thanks MC.
Donw here in good ole Houston town, we aren't shy about our sobriety dates. In fact, the group I attend daily @ 6:30am, the tradition is to give our name and sobriety date (as an introduction) after the preamble is read at each meeting. It gets a bit redundant when there are the same people there every morning, but we do it as per group conscience requires. I like that.
In my early days, I ahve yet to travel anywhere liek I did before getting sober. But we have many visitors from around the country who share about their own groups and traditions.

Mary Christine said...

Thanks everybody. I never have attended an AA meeting in Texas, but I have heard that it is customary to state your sobriety date. I think that is probably a good thing. Where I lived in Washington, there was a sign in sheet when you came into the meeting - name, home group, and sobriety date. I grew to love that. I like the accountability of saying "my sobriety date is xx/xx/xxxx."