Sometimes I really want to write. I have things to say, but I struggle with where to start, and what to tell. Is it too much? Is it time to reveal more of me to others? I need to be in a place where I am not afraid of my own story, not fearful that my past, hell, my present, will reflect upon me poorly. Mostly because much of the good that I am now, has resulted from the hard spots in my past. Those spots that some would say are better left alone, hidden, or just plain forgotten. However, I believe that when one forgets the past, it is very easily repeated. So I remember, I look back, but as I once heard someone say, I do not stare.
All of this ruminating was caused from a big anniversary I just had celebrated last Friday on May 15. It was 26 years ago that I had my last drink of alcohol. I remember it was mother’s day when I flew home from a failed first marriage of three years and met my mother in the airport. I was broken, looking terrible and feeling like a total failure. My parents took me home and loved me. It was the first step to healing. They got a lot of advice on how to help me and within a week of coming home, they took me to a treatment facility for a 30 day in patient program. My father looked me in the eye as he walked me to the door and said “This is it. Your one chance to make this work. Then you will be on your own.” I must have known he meant it, because I have been sober ever since that mother’s day all of those years ago.
The treatment center was a gift. It gave me a head start on my sobriety journey, with the added help of being around others with the same problems as I had. I saw I was not alone. I was not the only one that felt different, afraid, and lost. I also saw I did not have to feel that way, there was a host of ways to find support and to not do any of this alone. AA was one wonderful tool and led me to a group of people that cared about me. Furthermore, I got reacquainted with the very strong faith of my youth. I had been running from God for some time. I needed to remember He was always right inside of me and that I could never outrun Him.
Once I was in the treatment facility I began to pick up my Bible, and look for God’s guidance. It was amazing how He showed me things faithfully, just as He always had, but I was listening for once. I remember a graduate from the facility coming to give a talk on her one year sobriety “Birthday”. She was telling us how hard it is to beat the odds and stay sober. She said, “Only 1 in 20 of you will make it to 90 days, and only half of those will still be around at one year. I heard those odds and I thought that will be me”. I listened to her hard, I listened, and I heard a voice inside me whisper, “That will be me too”. And it has been, for 26 consecutive years.
I am so grateful to have the life I do. It began with that journey. The journey of sobriety, which led to other revelations, changes, obstacles to overcome and a lot of hard work that has paid off. Not with material things, not with what I might have thought I wanted, but with more than I ever expected. I continue to walk forward, to journey on, to learn and grow and remember. I continue to look back, but I do not stare.