To Thine Own Self Be True: 18 Months of Sobriety
WOW, I am actually holding an 18 month chip in my lil hand! My first chip with two digits on it, WAAHHHOOO!!! The next time I see this, it won’t be for another 8 1/2 years. I am actually not really sure how this happened to be quite frank.
The Gift Of Desperation
I know when I went to rehab I was dying, I was done, and I was desperate. Dying from OxyContin and Jack Daniels; I was done trying to muster up some sense of wanting to continue living; and desperate for something to change. I had no idea when I stepped off the plane in West Palm Beach that that first step would lead me down a road to this moment right here. People always share that the sober life they are living is “beyond their wildest dreams”; and while I am happy for those that share that sentiment, I can’t exactly relate. I never had any dreams, seeing as I wasn’t even supposed to live this long, I can not honestly say I have a life “beyond my wildest dreams”. I can however, say that the road that I was placed on back in April of 2011 has been full of pot holes, one way signs, U –turns, debris I had to clear, stop signs, construction barrels, and many other obstacles that I had to get past in order to be holding this 18 month chip right now. Some of those obstacles were very easy while others not so much. Yet despite trudging the road there have been many happy memories. I have met some incredible people, I have had some incredible experiences, and the best thing is I have the ability to remember it all, because I did it sober.
My Travels In Recovery
Along this road, I have learned so much about the reasons why I drank and drugged so heavily for 17 years of my life and yet today, no matter what happens, I know I can go through anything without having to use or drink. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some crazy days over the last 18 months but because of the sober network, (The Watershed told me to build a support group because it was so very crucial in early days of sobriety), that was in place, my program kicked in on those crazy days and I still only have one sobriety date.
I wish I could share with the newcomer or the person still out there that all you have to do is A, B, and C and life gets better. I really do. I wish I could just give what I have to those that are suffering. But, what I have realized over the last number of weeks, coming into this birthday, is that “I” have done nothing. I did nothing to get the gift of sobriety. And, “I” can’t give away anything, but the experience of what this disease did to me, the strength of what recovery can be, and the hope that they too can have a life full of incredible memories.
The gifts I have been afforded are simply by the grace of God. Gifts of guidance, support, love, tolerance, the room to grow up, understanding… wow the list is long! The sponsors I have had were given to me by a God who knew they could be vessels for Him. The mentors I have were given to me by a God who trusted they would guide me down the path’s He needed me to travel to be exactly right here, right now. The sponsee’s God has placed in my life are there to show me His power through working with others. Working with sponsee’s in fact has been one of the most incredible things about this program. As much as I want to shake them at times, I still can’t help but love their lil self’s; for they are me and I am them. I have come to realize that it isn’t so much what we can teach as much it is that we can learn from working with other addicts; we are all teachers, all students, molded only by the power of willingness.
Over the last number of months I have become convinced that me being sober has nothing to do with me nor is my sobriety for me. By all accounts, I should be a statistic in some Drug Addict Database in the “Dead” column; but I am not. I am a statistic instead of Bill W and Dr. Bob; that when you work this program to the best of your ability, take suggestions, be as honest as you can, and continue to remember that you are not immune to this disease, that you can live a sober life, full of some insane, crazy, wild, and RIPPIN rides! That my friend is a miracle.
As I was sitting on my patio last night, counting down the hours and minutes till my 18 months; my phone was blowing up from friends in the program congratulating me on my accomplishment, as the clocks in their house hit midnight across the country; all I could do was stare at the stars and the big moon that graces my view every night and think HOLY SMOKES, God you kept your promise, the promise that it would get better, the promise that life would once again mean something! The promise that He would give me everything I needed each and every day, the promise that my experiences of the past would not be in vain. When it talks about it in the Big Book, having a host of friends, I never thought that was for me; but there I sat as text after text came in. How can you deny the power of God, the power of this program, the power of change when you see something so tangible? But, the flip side of that coin is that I believe God let’s us see tangible things every so often, but wants us to have faith that He is there even when we can’t see the things that are so obvious that He is doing, has done, ect., for its faith that we can tap into our God-conscious. What I’m in the process of learning right now with my sponsor is that the more God-conscious you are, the more you will see the light of the world. The more light you see, the more serenity you find; the more serenity you find, the more peace you find; the more peace you find, the more happiness you find. The list goes on and on as you continue to uncover and discover. It is truly amazing!
Surrendering To A New Way Of Life
I don’t know much and I have just 18 months engraved on this chip sitting in my hand, but I will share this: my sobriety has been more about surrender than anything. Surrendering to a disease that I know will kill me. Surrendering to a God that I know can take care of me. Surrendering to the idea that I don’t know more than I do, surrendering that I will never know enough, and surrendering that time on a chip means nothing if you haven’t the journey of a lifetime backing it up. Anyone can get sober; anyone can set down a 50 year chip and shock a room full of addicts. I wanna be the old timer who quietly sits in meetings, sharing merely when called upon or as God directs, that is full of peace, serenity, joy, happiness, and humility. I am not there yet; but by the grace of God, the direction of this program, and the willingness to be open and honest, to the best of my ability, the reality exists that God could and would give me that desire, if He were sought.
A Watershed Alumni Recovery Story