Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy "Birthday" To Me.

It was 1985 when I woke up to my very last hangover (so far, anyway). I have been sober now for twenty-five years. I by no means did this alone. Without the loving help of a gracious and forgiving God I would never had a chance, and that is just the beginning. Although He is the most important.

My family, too was very important, I doubt I'd even be alive, much less sober and fairly happy, without my Linda Lou. The added "family" from AA was the last thing that made the difference.

The wonderful thing about AA is that almost never did an alcoholic recover from drunkenness before Bill W. and Dr. Bob sobered up in 1935 and wrote down what they did. That, I believe, is the key to AA's success. Before AA it was always some smart person looking down his nose at a drunk and saying "this is what you should do". Much like those idiots in Washington, DC, most of whom have never run a hot dog stand, trying to run American business from afar. We see how this is working. How about that Recovery Summer, Barry?

Bill W. and Dr. Bob did not do that. They sobered up. Then they wrote down what they did. In a way it's kind of depressing to stand in front of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and look out over the group. Experience has shown that more than half of the people will die as wet drunks. Those who do not recover are the ones too smart to follow directions.And it's really that simple. Those willing to follow some simple (not easy, simple) directions are the ones who recover.

I believe that it also takes a certain amount of stubbornness. We alcoholics say that, in order to recover, one must "hit bottom", have one's life get so awful that one is willing to make the effort to change. This is why trust fund kids and actors and famous athletes are so often train wrecks. A lot of money can insulate one from the damage. Anyhow, once one has hit bottom and started the recovery process it takes a peculiar combination of willingness to follow directions and enough stubbornness to keep on when things get hard. It also take the knowledge that there is always another bottom, always lower and worse than the one before.

I do not know that if anyone new in sobriety will ever read this. If one does I have a special message. Try to remember the pain. To recover I need to remember that pain and live with the knowledge that I don't ever have to feel that way again. That is one of the main reasons we keep going to meeting once we have a year or so sober, by the way. Humans are hard wired to forget our own pain. I usually prove this by noting all the women out there with two or more babies. Going to meetings, though, and seeing the newcomers struggling with trying to get, and stay, sober reminds us of our own pain.

Yes, the bad news is that half will fail. The good news, half will win. Todauy I am a winner. It's my twenty-fifth "birthday" Too bad my knees and back (and a few other parts which I shall not name.You're welcome.) do not believe I'm twenty-five.

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