The other day I told a friend, “The only thing keeping me sane right now is reading and writing.” I’m still utilizing the Morning Pages, but have stopped beating myself up for not filling up three pages. There’s so much going on with my jobs right now, I don’t have the luxury of spending time on three, but one page gets me grounded.
This time of year I always think about sobriety. My sober birthday is in November, but a couple of months before it arrives the mind starts playing tricks. The mind of an alcoholic will say, “After 23 years, surely you have this under control and can have one drink.” Fortunately, I’m stubborn enough to ignore those thoughts.
One thing I know about staying sane and sober is you need community, because it’s not a ‘go it alone’ lifestyle. I’m plugged into several online communities through work, but the one that holds my heart the most is my neighborhood. That simple habit of walking to the end of the street refreshes my soul.
I wouldn’t be living this life I love if I was still drinking. Not even certain I’d still be alive. If I was to have a similar conversation with my friend today I would elaborate with, “Walking, reading, writing and my relationship with God is keeping me sane and sober.
Every morning I open my eyes, my first thought and words spoken are, “Thank you God for waking me up sober.”
I’ve been thinking about sobriety, which is normal for me this time of year. On November 10th, I’ll be 22 years sober. There’s a twinge of embarrassment when I say that to someone newly sober. They usually ask, “How’d you do it Barb?” I respond with, “With God one day at a time.”
When I was newly sober, my then husband flew me to Canada with him for business. We were to meet his clients at a French restaurant for dinner. I recall walking into our private dining room and seeing the table set with what seemed like a million wine glasses. I was 2 weeks sober.
It broke my heart to take a seat at that table.
My then husband didn’t understand the alcoholic. He thought maybe I’d have a glass of wine and be a part of the evening’s festivities, but when the waiter came to my glass with the bottle, I laid my hand over the top so he wouldn’t pour. He felt my trepidation and took the glass away.
Then I just got angry. Being the lady I am, I sat quietly at the table holding my composure, but wanted to scream. That was the last time I sat at a table like that.
Back then, I looked at drinking as something I couldn’t have and it felt like I was missing out. What I didn’t realize it was actually the beginning of a whole new life.
Almost 22 years later, I’m still thinking about sobriety. It’s not that I can’t drink. I could and the life I have today would quickly dissipate. I’m not willing to let that go. When it comes to one more day sober, here’s your permission slip to choose your table wisely, and protect your sobriety.
One week ago, I celebrated 16 years of sobriety. The first thing I do each morning is to thank God for waking me up sober. Each day is truly a gift, and waking up without a hangover, is an absolute miracle.
Each day is a special gift from God, and while life may not always be fair, you must never allow the pains, hurdles, and handicaps of the moment to poison your attitude and plans for yourself and your future. You can never win when you wear the ugly cloak of self-pity, and the sour sound of whining will certainly frighten away any opportunity for success. Never again. There is a better way.
I had to let go of the person I was so familiar with, and open my heart and mind to who I could become. There was no room for negative thinking, or feeling sorry for myself for all the years spent drinking. The pain and hurt caused by my actions were in the past, and I was ready to make amends and embrace the present.
By accepting there is a higher power greater than myself, I was willing to follow His plan for my life. After all, my plan had placed me where I was, and that was not desirable anymore. It was time for a new life, and a new me. Thank you God for waking me up sober, and thank you for my new life.
*Quote taken from “A Better Way to Live”, by Og Mandino.