Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today

I am celebrating 24 years of continuous sobriety.  I thank God for these days of sobriety.  I will go to a 6:30 a.m. meeting and then to work.  I will probably reflect all day on what a blessing it is to be a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

24 years ago today, I woke up hungover, nothing new there.  What was different about that day was that I did not go to the refrigerator and grab another beer.  I got out the phone book and looked up Alcoholics Anonymous.  I called the first number listed, and there was no answer.  I called the second number and a young man named Danny answered the phone.  He was a 17 year old recovering alcoholic and was working at the club before he went to high school that day.  He listened to me for a while and then he suggested it would be better for me to talk to a woman.  He said he would have someone call me.  Well, I was pretty disappointed about that.  

Until she called me.  It probably wasn't more than a couple of minutes later.  Her name was Bitsy.  She talked about how she struggled with believing she was an alcoholic at first because she lived on a "tree lined street."  Somehow I related to her.  I am not so sure why now because I certainly did not live on a tree lined street.  But she had a soft sweet voice and she listened to me for over an hour before she "closed the deal" by asking me to go to a meeting with her that night.   And let me tell you, that sweet little lady with the sweet little voice was not going to take no for an answer and I thank God for that because that night I went to my first meeting and I have never taken another drink since that day, July 24, 1984.

I have written a lot about my first day of sobriety.  It was scary.  I was shaking.  I wanted that beer in the refrigerator.  But Bitsy made me promise I wouldn't drink before the meeting, and so I didn't.  And by the time I got home from the meeting, I didn't want the drink anymore.  The next day, I got on my knees and prayed and asked God to help me and told him I was willing to do anything he wanted me to in order to stay sober.  

It would take hours to write about the years in between.  I can tell you that I did not get to AA and clean up my life and get all shiny and glittering in my first years of sobriety.  I went to AA and listened and I am grateful they told me that I had to change everything.  I did have to change everything and sometimes it wasn't pretty.  I went through a divorce in my first year.  I lost custody of my kids at 6 years.  I married a lunatic I met at a meeting.  I learned what it was to be a victim of domestic violence.  I moved to Canada.  I moved to Washington.  I moved back to Colorado.  I spent years unemployed.  I got thrown out of an AA group!  I beat up a 300 lb. clown!  No - it wasn't pretty.

But through it all, I kept going to meetings.  I kept reading the big book.  I kept praying every day - asking Him in the morning and thanking Him at night.  I have always had a sponsor.  I have nearly always sponsored someone else.  I have done my stint in the service structure of AA.  

My life today is indescribably wonderful.  I still have problems, anyone who has read this for a while knows this.  But something changed when I got 10 years of sobriety under my belt.  I got divorced from the lunatic.  I got a decent job - I had to start at the bottom, but I have made it to pretty near the top in the last 14 years.  I went back to school.  I started college at 43 and had a master's degree by my 50th birthday.  I graduated with honors from a very good university.  And now I am affiliate faculty at that same university.  I am about to compete in my 5th triathlon.  In the last 2 years I have run 4 half-marathons.  I have had the same sponsor for 12 years and we just absolutely adore one another.  I sponsor women who I absolutely love.  I have a host of friends in Alcoholics Anonymous.  I have my family in my life.  And I have my self-respect back.  

These things all a gift from a loving God.  I am clear on my contribution.  Yes, I have had to cooperate.  Yes, I have had to do some stuff.  But to think I somehow "worked" for this is  inconceivable to me.  I think the steps are something God gives us to keep us busy... something like a mother handing a toy to a child to try to occupy the child while the mother does something for the child... and the child thinks the toy did it.  

Blogging has enriched my sobriety immensely.  I thank all of you for that.  Including anyone who may be reading this for the first time today.  I love the folks I have come to know (with one exception, sorry) and I love the folks who drop by.  I love that I have met a few of you.  I love that I can go to Houston and have a host of friends there!  I love the folks who comment and the folks who send me a sheepish e-mail about how they want to quit drinking but don't know how.  I have loved blogging.  Thank You.  

"Now that we're in AA and sober, and winning back the esteem of our friends and business associates, we find that we still need to exercise special vigilance. As an insurance against 'big-shot-ism' we can often check ourselves by remembering that we are today sober only by the grace of God and that any success we may be having is far more His success than ours."  -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 92


23 comments:

Laura said...

Good Morning to you....though I didn't take the drink, my life has a resonant undertone of similarity to yours. Alcoholism and all its effects are far reaching and though, the meetings begin it takes years to remove the insane thinking and compulsions that have been developed through the years.

You are inspiring to me....in so many ways and I thank God for being allowed to be part of your life in this minute way.

You're God's workmanship, to be sure!

Pam said...

Happy Happy Birthday to you
(little cabbage head)
Happy Happy Birthday to you
(little bean sprout)
Happy Happy Birthday DEAR Mary
(little summer squash)
Happy Happy Birthday TO YOU !!
(little taco salad)

Mary LA said...

Congratulations on 24 years Mary Christine! I have learned so much in the last year of reading your blog and you give me hope that the Promises do come true

Hugs

Mary LA

Lou said...

A different life was waiting for you,and your post reminds me that there is one waiting for the one I love dearly.

Huge,huge congratulations to you.

dirtydishes said...

Thanks MC,for staying sober, sharing the program, and for being here every day.

Mark said...

Congrats!!!

Keep Coming!!! :)

dAAve said...

Happy birthday MC.
You have meant so much to me (and many others) through your honesty and forthrightness on this blog.
Maybe some day I can get up to see you in your home environment.
Have a wonderful day. And week. And month.
And life.

Scott W said...

I am grateful for friends like you. I am grateful that others have blazed the trail before me. I am grateful you have been sober for 24 years. You are a blessing in my life.

Happy Birthday!

indistinct said...

Happy Birthday.

Thanks for the hope you shared.

kel said...

Your is one of the first blogs I have ever read and had been inspired by you to start my own blog and share my own journey of my addicted and alcoholic son, his alcoholic father, and the many bumpy roads I have traveled since.

Although I do not comment eveyday or blog with any kind of regularity, know that the shaing of your journey has been inspirational to me and I am grateful to you for it.

Happy Birthday to you!!

Kathy Lynne said...

Congratulations and blessings to you MC. Thank you for being here and helping me to stay sober.

Trailboss said...

Congratulations MC, you are a fine woman. One that I am proud to know and love. Your blog is very inspiring to me, thank you for what you contribute to my life on a daily basis.

wendy said...

Happy Anniversary. Thanks for sharing each morning. I appreciate it.

AlkySeltzer said...

Oh, MC, I've read your blog today, AND the comments--and for once, "wordy" alkyseltzer aka steveroni, can think of nothing to say...so I'll SAY it! (Had ya fooled? No!) The comments you inspire are a reflection of your sincere, honest posting. Each day, another Alky and I choose a "Word-for-the-day" and today's word was and is "ALL GOOD STUFF!"

We picked that expression 'afore sunup. I did not know then, that it would be so appropriately applicable to your blog, your Emails, the "comments", your history (we HAD to go through that shit), your recovery, your LIFE! Thank you SO much. I'm speaking tonight before a couple hundred Alcoholics, and I WILL be quoting several of your bon mots--and I'll tell them that these are from by Most Bestest, Favorite AA blogging friend.

With AA love,
Steve E.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday MC!!! Your blog is a blessing to me. It's like a little speaker meeting I can go to privately while at work. Have an awesome day!

Judy T.

Syd said...

MC, all I can say is that you are an inspiration to me and so many. Thank you. Happy 24 years.

Zane-nawwaa said...

BA BA BA BA BOOM
Happy Birthday to you,
Ba boom ba boom
Happy birthday to you
ba boom ba boom
Happy Birthday Mary Christine
BA BOOM.

That's sort of stripper music. Cause that's what you did. You stripped yourself of old habits and became a whole new person.
Thans for sharing. HB MC.

Banana Girl said...

Hello and Congrats my Sherpa and friend! Funny, I thought I would stop by and see what drama you had going today and here you are all serene and reflective. Yeehaaa! Have a wonderful day. YOu know I love you. And I am kidding just a little about the drama....we all have it and it will pass....but then so will complete serenity. That is part of what I need to remember and you do that for me every single day. L.U> Jeanne

♥Shann♥ said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU SHARE. I say this to you a lot, but really I appreaciate you too. I love the example of sobriety and living life, that you share here with your blogging,
I wish you a great day ♥

Mary Christine said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. What a great birthday it has been.

Pam said...

Hey..Syd saw the REAL YOU hee hee

Bill said...

I dropped in to say CONGRATULATIONS, but instead I got the unexpected gift of reading about your experience, strength, and hope.

Thanks! This is a great way to start my day, MC! I'm glad I have joined you on the road to happy destiny.

drsowest said...

Happy Birthday!!!

I am glad that you are sharing your birthday with so many of us.

I believe that the celebration is not for the celebrant but for those that are hoping to find a solution.

So, keep on blogging your experience, strength and hope along with noting each and every birthday.

Life is as good as I allow it to be.

http://happynessisachoice.com