Yep. It’s TODAY. Good ol’ 1095.
For those of you that read my blogs or listen to our podcast, maybe you’ve caught a glimpse as to what it is that Drunkless is all about. Maybe you’ve discovered why it exists, and possibly how it even started. Maybe, just maybe, you or someone you know has even used Drunkless for the stated purpose — whether as a contributor, a guest, commenter, or other participant — or just as equally important, as a recipient of some HOPE.
And during this process, for those of you that have been here since day one, you’ll surely know what today is.
Or, well — you probably won’t, actually. This is the first time I’ve actually written about this. Maybe I should go back and check on that... hmmm. But now that I’ve got your attention… today is the 1,095th celebration to the start of this journey, which began here, and here.
That's right — THREE YEARS ago.
Three years as of roughly 2:xx AM. Or maybe earlier. Or later. I barely recall, except that I couldn’t stop shaking that day… Hell was long, hot, laborious, and intense. And by all rights, I should have been dead — but I wasn't.
I’m so glad those days are behind me — 1095 days behind me.
Tonight, I will collect my three year chip from the 12-step meditation meeting I so gratefully inherited the responsibility of chairing (if the starter-chip-set actually gets here in time). This meeting has taught me perseverance, gratitude, respect, tenacity, and most importantly of all — how to connect. How to connect with my Higher Power, how to connect with people, how to connect with a group, and how to connect… with ME.
Me. And I don’t feel bad about being a little selfish about that. Not nowadays. I’ve learned over the last three years how to be okay with grabbing myself by the scruff of the neck and saying, “There are hands reaching out to help you, GRAB ONE! And if you can't ask for help, then someone is reaching out asking for yours, so GRAB ONE!” Not an easy feat, even today, but it is a doable one. A most definite doable one.
Now, Drunkless doesn't support any single, recovery program, 12-step or not, we simply endorse whatever it takes to get to the light, as many paths as it may or may not take. That being said, I am going to offer this:
Here's how I do it:
- Everyday, I wake up and I thank my Higher Power (or God, for the simplicity of this blog) that I actually opened my eyes today. Three years ago, I was cursing the very same Creator for that fact.
- I plant my feet on the ground, and I give some time to meditation - ten or twenty minutes if I can. If I can't give that much time, I find an hour. Or sixty seconds. But I do it.
- I give God my day. All of it. (And sometimes I steal it back, and regret it afterwards...)
- I ask for guidance... and to my emotional demise, I sometimes ignore it.
- And if I had a really bad day the day before, then when I ask God to take away my character defects, I also ask that she take it easy on me, or maybe even not train me that day, because perhaps I am still a little bitter from the day before. But I don't advise doing that with God. oh no... Trust me — you'll likely get rigorous training if you do, please please, trust me! Yet, for some reason, I do it anyway... I guess that's because I'm an alcoholic — or so I've heard. ;)
- I suit up, and I show up. This is very scary. And especially last Monday night, when I was confronted in acting class about actually beginning the course instead of just sitting there, and to get in front of the room (I chickened out, btw). I'll save that blog for another day, perhaps, but I will say this and then move on: I thought I was going to puke, I couldn't stop visibly shaking, and as I shrank in my chair, my blood was boiling from inside-to-out. Not quite the same reaction as a withdrawal, but close and uncontrollable nonetheless.
- I do the next, best indicated thing. From the gut — don't overthink it. Well, truth be told, I usually overthink it, struggle with it for hours (if not days, or even weeks), and then go back to the gut and just do it. Ugh... I guess I know what I'll be doing next week in acting class... oi.
- I try to be helpful to others. I don't expect anything back. There's no magic behind that, no cursed "if you expect it back, it doesn't work" bullshit. If I feed someone, I feed them, which means they've been fed, regardless as to whether or not I expect anything back or not. The difference is, if I don't expect anything back, then I can't build a resentment. No resentment, no precursor to a drunk. If the resentment is there, then I was expecting.
Just something to chew on... :)
- I work very, very hard at opening up and talking.
- I work JUST AS HARD, if not harder, at LISTENING — and not talking. Hence the acting class, actually. Yes, I know -- maybe seems askew, but it landed in my lap, so I'm not going to argue.
- I keep. coming. back. I don't care if it is a recovery group meeting, an AA meeting, a White Bison meeting, a Y12SR meeting, meditation group, counseling, coffee with friends in recovery, sober activity groups, socializing (meeting after the meeting), calling a sponsor, calling a SPONSEE! — I just keep coming back. For me, I need to. I want to. If I wander to far away for too long, Left Side and Right Side begin to chatter. We all know how well I get along with the Twins... they constantly conspire to kill me. I kinda like being alive these days.
- I just don't drink or use. That means I don't tempt the Beast. I know that if I do, it's all over for me. In my Alcoholic Dictionary, there is no definition of "just one." Not for anything in my life. I can't take just one ibuprofen, or just one scoop of ice cream, or just one gulp of soda. It's always MORE. Always... even if it only started with just one.
- I DON'T GIVE UP.
- I work my Program, the Program of WE. Together, all things are possible.
- I work on loving myself. And when I don't think I deserve it, I kick my ass a few times and then love myself back to health -- with the help of God and all those in my life, from the Groups, to Family, to the few I can truly call Friends (you know who you are).
- And at the end of the day as I lie in bed, I thank God for the positive things that happened that day; the tough lessons I didn't think I'd make it through, and yet did; the character defects that were (sometimes painfully) removed, replaced, or repurposed for my life; for the new perspective as I shift from one path to the next; and for the opportunity I had to breathe. And then I ask for help with and hope-to reconfigure myself in preparation for the things I need to do tomorrow to correct the negative ones I'd done today, whatever that may involve.
- I - Just - Keep - Moving - Forward
I think that covers the basics. Essentially, anyway. Everyone is different, but the basics are all the same. Find what works for you. Most find that some kind of spiritual program is best (spiritual does not mean religious, though for some, it can be), and many of them find 12-step programs to be the most beneficial. But there are many programs out there. Just do what you must to not drink or use. Take what works, leave the rest. My path has been many, but they've all led to the light. I'm so grateful for that.
And if you need to say something, write it out. Get it out of your head, and onto paper. Then lock it up, burn it, give it to a trusted person -- do what ever it takes, but get it out of your head. And then talk. Open up and let others see in, so that you can see out. I promise, the light is worth seeing.
If anyone has any doubt as to whether or not it is actually possible for themselves to do it, just look at where I am at today compared to where I was even a year ago... or two, or three. I was working on dead, but Death roped off the Beast and took back the ticket I'd stolen to Deathville.
And for that, I'm grateful.