I have a berry pie in the oven, the cole slaw is already made. When my family gets here, I will put the sweet corn on the stove and the burgers on the grill. What a way to kick off the summer season... and yes, I am aware that it is not quite summer yet. (and for anyone in Colorado, we are VERY clear that it is not summer - it is cold!)
I was struck the other day by people sitting in my morning meeting. There seem to be quite a few who just aren't drinking. Not that I have anything against not drinking. It is kind of a requirement to start the other stuff. But if all you do is not drink, what a dreadful existence. I would rather drink, to be perfectly frank with you.
For those of us who are recovering (or recovered if you would prefer - I won't enter that debate), we are not NOT doing something. We are not running away from something. We are doing something positive - sobriety. And we are embracing the spiritual way of life we have been given. We are living most of the time in gratitude and joy. These things show, and they cannot be faked.
In my early sobriety, like in the first few days, I had no desire to drink - even though I had been drinking daily for nearly 18 years. With my prayer, on my knees, asking for God's help, on my second day of sobriety, the compulsion was lifted. Every now and then in my first couple of years, I would get angry about something or another and make a decision to drink, but I always prayed first, and somehow, I never got that drink.
I found through the steps that there was an entirely different way of life - that did not include alcohol in any way. I wasn't avoiding alcohol, I just found a new and infinitely superior way of living. I have absolutely no interest in being around booze at all. It is boring. It makes people boring. I don't care to be around it.
I met the most wonderful people in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have friends outside of AA, but they are not the people dearest to my heart. I have the most incredible relationships with the people in AA. That did not happen overnight, but it did happen. If you are not going to meetings or making an effort to be part of the fellowship, you are depriving yourself of one of most satisfying parts of being sober. It makes it easy to be sober when all of your friends are. And when your friends are in AA, they understand you the way no one else can. The fellowship is just sublime.
I have been sober approximately 43% of my entire life. Some of those years weren't so good. I had a very horrible marriage in AA, and once that was over, I lost everything I ever had. I lost custody of my kids. I was homeless for a while. My daughter went crazy when she was 14 and became a meth addict. Things were not always pretty. Even my experiences in AA were sometimes pretty terrible. But I would not trade one day of the years of sobriety for any day before sobriety. I feel like I barely know who that person was before I got sober. She was certainly not anyone I would want to be today.
In this life of sobriety, I have never been hanging on for dear life. I have never been avoiding a drink. I have always wanted to be sober more than anything. Through the steps, I found a relationship with God that convinced me I never needed to live in fear again. I know that God cares for me and loves me in a way that I can barely conceive.
For an alcoholic, just not drinking is a nightmare. I need a lot more than an absence of something! I needed for that need to be replaced and it was. What I got in return is infinitely better than anything prior.
I can't imagine sitting around thinking about what I am missing! Yes I am missing suicidal depression, hurting everyone who loves me, neglecting my children, being painfully self-centered, being bloated and lazy and sick all of the time.... Those are the things I am missing.
There is so much joy in this life! It is not an absence. It is a powerful presence. I am not running from life and problems, I am embracing whatever God sends my way. And I am thanking Him for it!