Thursday, March 08, 2007

9 Years....

Exactly 9 years ago today I had, what I hope will be, my last drink of alcohol.

I've changed a lot in 9 years. All the resentment and bitterness of the past (well, mostly) is gone. I've grown up and accepted things. Not just about myself, but about others too. I've FINALLY gotten over my childhood (an alcoholic mom and grandmom, a non-existent father). I've "dropped a lot of rocks" as they say in the recovery business, about an ex-lover, about a science fiction writer, even about Sister Francesca who may have gotten a little over-eager in her vain attempts to get me to learn Algebra in the 9th grade, to which I may have over-reacted just a teensy-weensy bit.

It's funny, now, to look back and see how deluded (and so full of self-will) I was about so many things. We alkies are a strange bunch.

For example:

Non-addicts are perfectly capable of modifying their behavior in order to achieve their goals. Addicts, however, happily modify their goals in order to achieve their behavior.

Trust me, that short paragraph makes total sense to anybody with an addiction problem.

Yes, I've experienced a lot of growth in these last 9 years. My life has gotten better "beyond my wildest dreams". When I first came into recovery my secret goal was to stay sober long enough to pay off my debts (a whopping $18,000.00) and then to die, peacefully, in a year or so.

Thank goodness my Higher Power had other plans for me.

In year 4 of my recovery I had to confront and deal with my ACOA issues (adult children of alcoholics). I spent a week at the Caron Foundation in a program they have for people dealing with that. It was a wonderful experience. Yes, and scary too.

In year 6 of my recovery I got to walk through open heart surgery which didn't bother me in the least, but scared the crap out of my close friends in recovery (my sponsor and my home group). But they got to watch ME "walk through" the fear of it, and come out the other side. My courage in the face of that gave courage to OTHERS to face their own nameless fears regarding doctors and medicine. I know of at least two people (and there were probably more) who, thanks to me, made doctors appointments because their fears were lessened by my experience.

In year 7 I had more surgery. Bi-lateral endarectomies (they cut open the arteries in your neck and scrape out the congealed cholesterol). It wasn't pretty and now, close-up, I resemble Baron von Frankentstein's High School Science Project. But I got through it!

In year 8 they gave me diabetes (because otherwise it would've been a boring year).

The point is, by publicly dealing with all this stuff, I never know whom I was affecting. For decades I thought I lived in an isolated bubble, neither being affected by, nor having any affect on, others. I thought I didn't matter, that nobody cared, that my actions were lost and meaningless. It never occured to me that other people actually cared about me and had feelings that were often hurt by me. By sharing all of my feelings about my medical experiences in recovery with others in my circle of sober friends, it lessened their fears, too.

It also increased their love and compassion for me. And vice versa.

I know so much more now than I did 9 years ago. Sometimes I think I don't, but I do.

But what I know right now is, I'm really looking forward to staying sober...

Just for today.

(thank you, God!)


Bev Sykes said...

Wow. Has it been 9 years already? I continue to be so proud of you, mostly because you are so happy with yourself.

JoyZeeBoy said...

Hiya, Sis! YUP, 9 years since the last drink!

I am happy. Fundamentally so.

I don't need to remind you that that never used to be the case. I always felt as though I were walking on eggshells, even when I was alone. I was just that miserable.

And it was ALWAYS somebody else's fault!

What an idiot I was!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so inspired by you! i to have a little over 9 years, visited the Caron 5day program in my 4th year, and am now considering visiting the phase II part of the program as i feel there is still something "missing"
I need to say, that first paragraph hit home, and am grateful to have read it, as reality of my acting out to not deal with present emotions and fears mixed with situations i have now placed myself in (and of course want to run from) THank you!

JoyZeeBoy said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your kind words.

Someone close to the Caron program told me to wait another year before doing Phase II of the Codependency program because it's still going through a lot of changes. Oh, well, maybe next year.

And I sure do understand what you mean when you mention creating chaos and then wanting to run away from it! I do that all the time! I wonder why we have a problem with our "serene" lives?

Oh well, still we must try.

Good luck and may God bless you!