BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
They said, “Don’t leave before the miracle happens.” I could’ve never known the magnitude of what that meant when I first heard that. I could not have conceived an adequate definition that could have begun to define what that would look like. All I know is that today, I am so glad I heard that statement and for whatever reason, it motivated me (kept me just curious enough) to stick around for one more day.
Fast forward over six years now. I still cannot grasp what it means to me. Each day I am overwhelmed with the amount of miracles that flood my life. From the moment I drew my first sober breath up until today, I am a true miracle.
But that goes without saying, because to not drink is against my nature. So, what “miracle” were they talking about? Have I yet to experience it? No one can give me a clear answer as to what that “miracle” is. I have drawn the conclusion that each of us have our own brand of “miracle” that happens much like our own personal relationship with our higher power. I can’t help but think that maybe the miracle is so much more than just one. I have experienced an abundance of amazing miracles in my sobriety.
So, what about those ornamental miracles that adorn my recovery? What do those look like – all the little extras? When I first got sober I didn’t know what I was looking for, so when they first started happening they were subtle and often times hard to detect. I realize now, looking back, that they had begun the moment I put the drink down.
The first time I noticed a “miracle” had occurred was in the change in my thinking. Without even knowing it, my way of thinking had altered. Headed down my stairs, dressed and ready to go to a Friday meeting, I suddenly became aware of what I was wearing that night and self conscious of it. I will never forget the sudden need to dress a little more conservative (against my nature as well) and how I turned around, went back upstairs, and changed without ever questioning that thought. It occurred to me after the action that I, Tami from Las Vegas, had decided that my body would not be the center of attention that night. I realized in that moment that I had been treating the meetings much like the nights I went to the club. It wasn’t about me anymore, it was about the newcomer. All eyes and attention needed to be on them. That complete shift in thinking was the radical jolt I needed to begin to take note of what else was changing without me knowing.
Day after day, small things would happen. No day was left untouched by miracles. I kept count for awhile and then lost track. I would testify in meetings of the transformation that was occurring without even trying. I just had to have the willingness and openness to accept them and trust in the process. Overnight my whole world became Technicolor – rich in miracles.
Along the way I have repaired relationships that were so damaged that my death would have been welcomed by most. It would have been a relief not to have to worry or deal with my insane behavior any longer. Today, I have amazing relationships with family, ex’s, and long lost friends as a result of the amends process. I am a trusted employee, a faithful partner, a respected leader in my family, and a role model to many.
I have begun to clean up my financial wreckage and as a result, been able to graduate from college with three degrees. After forty-six years on earth, I applied for and received my first of many credit cards, paid off a car in full, and am in the process of buying my first ever home. I am now understanding what financial freedom means.
I have walked through some of the darkest hours in my life - from nearly losing my son, ending my engagement, losing everything I had in early sobriety, to walking through the death of both of my parents within four months of each other. All of this occurred without ever taking a drink.
I have been able to have grandchildren who have never seen me drink and to be present for their lives. I have flown on hot air balloons, gotten my passport, rafted down the Snake River, and auditioned and got the part in a play. I have picked up my pen again and begun to write. I now blog regularly (once only a dream) and have started to write my book. I am becoming a respected figure in the recovery community and have made a host of amazing friends around the world as a result.
And, just when I think it couldn’t get any better, the power of just doing the right thing proves to be the one miracle that gave me one of my most treasured miracles to date.
On a Saturday afternoon in mid August, after over a year of one little girl’s new life, I came face-to-face with my one-and-only granddaughter for the first time since her birth. After years of pain in our family, the healing began in a park in Boise, Idaho. A severely torn relationship between her mother and I found the single stitch that would begin to mend our family back together. I am the proud Mema to four very beautiful and spoiled grandsons. I also I am the Mema to a little angel, my first and only granddaughter. I had never had the chance to meet her. The amount of hours I have spent crying and praying for her and her mother are innumerable. Then one day, out of the blue, I received the call. The next morning, I would finally meet my little girl.
I cannot explain the amount of joy that a person can experience when they realize that all the pieces in their lives have finally fit into place. There was nothing left that I was missing. My family was whole again. I didn’t ask directly for that day. In fact, I left it in my higher powers hands a long time ago. I was not expecting it and it happened. I trusted and it manifested. One more beautiful miracle to add to my list – all because I just didn’t drink today.
I cannot say whether I have experienced the “miracle” they talk about. What I can say I know is that I wouldn’t trade any of the miracles that have occurred for all the money in the world. I can honestly say that my worst day sober (walking through the death of my parents) was better than my best day drinking. All I can be certain of, is that no trade off would ever be worth not being able to experience any more of my amazing miracles. I live for those. They are the reason I keep coming back and to think I would have missed all this if I had “left before the miracle happened.”
~Tami Harper Winn~
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