When I had one year, I got a beautiful bronze coin with a roman numeral "I" on it. It was beautiful. I spoke at a meeting with other friends who were also celebrating their birthdays. No one was offended if I expressed my utter and complete joy at having such a gift given to me.
But now I am creeping up on my 27th AA anniversary. And I find that I can't talk about that without raising the hackles of people. I mentioned it at the meeting on Sunday and was quickly rebutted by some young man who carried on about "not caring about how long he has been sober, but caring about the quality of his sobriety, we only have today, etc." I seem to get that a lot lately, so mainly I just keep my trap shut. Unfortunately, a sponsee called me last night, devastated that this young man got drunk - again - and he may be one of those people whose funeral we all attend and mourn.
About a year ago, in a friend's last conversation with me, he said that I never failed to tell people how long I have been sober. He said it was in my blog every single day. I went back and looked at my blog and it wasn't there. Why would he think it was? And why would that offend him so?
I talked with my sponsor about this. I got no sympathy from her. She is sober 38 years and says she faces misunderstanding every day. People seem to take joy in taking pot shots at her. I have seen it happen. It is just ridiculous. She told me to not expect that people would understand me, and just go from there.
I have the same "by golly, gosh, gee whiz!!!" feeling about 27 years as I had about thirty days or one year. I want to jump for joy and shout - "Do you see what God did for me? I have gotten to live most of my adult life as a sober person!!! Can you believe it? Me? Sober? It is a miracle on par with the parting of the Red Sea!"
Do I think that my years always make me right? Nope. And I think most of the people I have interactions with know that. Do I think they guarantee I will never have a drink again? Nope. I still rely on the Grace of God and cooperate with that in every way I can. Do the years mean I can "rest on my laurels?" No siree. (what do you get when you rest on your laurels? wrinkled laurels.)
Thank God I have close friends who do understand me. I have a sponsor I love. I have sponsees who seem to "get" me. I am grateful for all of these.
And the totally undeserved gifts that God has given me. Incredible!