It was funny because we were a bunch of nuts 25 years ago. There were spiritual giants amongst us, but we weren't them, and the people who looked so good then aren't sober now. I won't use names, but I will tell you a little bit about us, and see what you would think of our odds of staying sober. (initials have even been changed to protect the innocent)
A. was living with a woman he wasn't married to and very busy with many other women in AA. I guess you could call him a 13th stepper. He was pretty darn cute and very charming. He made his living in what I would call pretty shady ways. He "sold stuff" and he was good at it. He was serious about staying sober and after a while things started changing. It was a long while though. His life is exemplary today.
B. was married to a woman, but living a double life as a gay man. He worked at an adult book store at night and in the daytime went to meetings. He was serious about staying sober and after a while things started changing. He faced his sexuality and divorced his wife and started living honestly. He got a real job with insurance and everything - in the daytime. He is still sober today.
C. didn't know if she was a lesbian or not. She was doing all kinds of things with all kinds of people, including getting married and divorced - a lot. She worked for a while as a CAC at a treatment center, which was as close as she got to going completely off the deep end. But she was serious about staying sober and after a while things started changing. She is a lovely woman who is still sober today.
D. was our social director. She was very social. She had parties at her house. Her house was a bit of a sober boarding house. Lots of people lived there as they were getting sober. In her drinking and her sobriety, she had always kept her job, so she looked a lot more functional than the rest of us, but she still cried at about 90% of the meetings she attended - for many years. But she was serious about staying sober and after a while things started changing. She is my dear friend today - her life shows absolutely no signs of ever having been dysfunctional. And she remains sober.
I could go on... but you get the idea... and me? In my first year, having left my husband of ten years, I was dating a man I met in AA. A man who happened to be drinking. If I saw a new woman doing that now, I would think she didn't have a snowball's chance in hell.
We were blessed to have a new group which was at a new club. I know that people look down on clubs, but I think that club saved a lot of lives. We not only went to meetings at the group, but we hung out at the club. Most of us didn't have real jobs, so we had a lot of time on our hands. Time in which to get in lots of trouble. Maybe we got in trouble together, but we were sober. We were a very close group.
When I hear people judge sobriety and say they would rather be drunk than have "that kind of sobriety," I think they must not be the kind of alcoholic I am. I would rather have any kind of sobriety than be drinking. And I thank God that I had an opportunity to have the kind of sobriety I understood in my early years. When I could do better I did. We all did.
So, this morning, on a beautiful July morning, here we were. All of us still sober. All of us radically changed from those days. All of us profoundly grateful not only for who we are today, but what it took to get us here.
I thank God that I didn't get to AA and spin dry. I didn't just get rid of the booze and think I was just fine because it was clear I wasn't.
It was clear that I was beyond human aid.
I could not change me, but God could. And I thank him every day because he did.