June first is a special day for me – it’s the day I got sober. Today I celebrate yet another year of sobriety and I couldn’t be happier.
I wish I was one of those people who could have a drink now and then and be okay. But, I’m not. I’m an alcoholic. If I was to have one drink, I wouldn’t be able to stop. So, I don’t drink at all – and I’m okay with that.
I had my first drink when I was six years old. I became a serious drinker as a teenager in high school – partying every weekend. I became a “professional drinker” in college. My drinking buddies and I would go out every night to the bars. Somehow, I still managed to be an A student (I earned my B.A. with a 3.0 GPA). It’s amazing what you can do when you’re young and invincible.
For many years I was the life of the party. My drinking was humorous to those around me. They knew if they wanted to have a good time, they could always call me and my booze.
As the drinking continued through my 20s and 30s, the repercussions started to add up: failed relationships and destroyed belongings. But it didn’t matter. I could always count on my old friend alcohol to be there for me. As long as I was drunk, I was happy.
A lot of times actors portraying alcoholics on stage, film, or television present the character as gulping down the booze in a constant effort to reach the bottom of their glass. This actually isn’t how a real alcoholic thinks. A real alcoholic always wants to be assured that there is at least one sip left. Not having a full glass is about the only thing that can scare a true alcoholic.
My family and friends, of course, recognized I had a problem. But when you’re a drunk committed to being a drunk, you don’t listen to anyone no matter how much you love them.
Alcoholics Anonymous was the key to my getting sober. I went to meetings every day for a full year, worked with a sponsor, and went through the steps. If you think you might have a problem, give it a try. These people can help you to help yourself. I’m living proof.
Will I ever have another drink? Not on your life. Why? For one, because I’m happy not drinking. My life is better. My health is better. My relationships are better. Everything is better.
And, there’s one other reason. Quitting drinking for an alcoholic is almost next to impossible. It’s an addiction. Drinking means more to you than anything else. I did it once. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I honestly don’t know if I could do it again. So why tempt fate? I’ll just enjoy my sobriety.
Today the sun shining on me – both literally and figuratively and I like the feeling. I’m thankful for a lot of things, my relationship with my two wonderful sons chief among them. I’m thankful for my health and my home, my friends and all of my extended family. I’m thankful to God for giving me this sober life and giving me the wisdom to appreciate it.
Peace. Love. Trust.