Wednesday, September 01, 2010
I forget to mention my twenty-five year birthday meeting, actually a meeting where the whole group celebrates all of the "year anniversaries" for the month. We left the kids at Germ Gardens and started wending our way back home, unfortunately Linda Lou turns into a pumpkin and cannot do a midnight meeting any more. Which meant that I got her home, got to visit my own bathroom and then had to get into the car and drive again to the group where I sobered up. Lucky they're giving gasoline away these days.
So, I drove another fifty-odd miles, in a slightly different direction, to the group I first sobered up in. I don't go there very often, just to celebrate these days. It's mostly a beginner's group, I fear it might be on it's last legs. The Saturday Midnight birthday meetings were once crowded and lively, this one was sad and attendance was sparse.
Worse were the people "celebrating". There was no joy. Well, I brought a few bucketsful but I don't know that it was enough to dispel all the gloom. If I was sitting out there with one day or one week sober I might have gone out for a bottle after some of those folks celebrating.
There is a reason we celebrate our AA "birthdays" and it has little or nothing to do with cake or a shiny new medallion, or "look at me, I'm special!" We celebrate birthdays because life as an active drinking alcoholic bites the big one. Getting and staying sober for the first few years is HARD! Things do, though, get better. Much better, eventually.
The whole purpose of celebrating those birthdays is to say, "I've been where you are". I am not anything special. I did a few simple (not particularly easy) things and now my life is much better. If I can do this, so can you. Come join me where life is better. I will help you but you must do it.
That is why we celebrate. If I had not stopped drinking those 25 years ago, I would not be alive today. This I know. We in AA have no opinion about other people's drinking, all we say is come see us if it causes problems in your life. We get asked a lot "what makes an alcoholic?" We don't know. There is a simple answer to those wondering "am I an alcoholic?" The answer? If it causes problems, it is a problem.
I got sober when AA was celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the forming of the first AA group. Well, now AA is seventy-five. And I have been sober for one third of that. And so, we look for the next drunk, wanting to change his or her life. So AA can have it's 100th anniversary. I doubt, with my health, I'll see it from this side of the grass. I hope many will, and are just as glad to live free and sober as I am.
Oh, speaking of "birthday presents", our number two boy called from North Carolina. He managed a promotion at his job and his wife is pregnant again. Grandchild number eleven will be here about next April. They're hoping for a girl, they already have four boys. We ran long on boys and short on cash around here. Anyhow, I don't know how many are in a full squad these days but it used to be eleven in a rifle squad, not that I ever saw any up to full strength. So, my dream of a squad in the Armed Services of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is almost complete.
Those disreputable looking fellers up top? Pals of mine in recovery, Doug, JT, Steve and the bald fat guy.