I was at a 12-Step meeting Saturday night when the leader decided to have a topic (well, two topics actually) of Hope and Change.
I didn't have any hope when I first came into the program. I just wanted to be dead. Undeniably and reliably dead. I thought God hated me which is why he kept me alive. It was just another slap in the face from the Almighty. So I thought. It turned out to be more like a good, swift, kick in the ass.. which is what I really needed (and wanted).
I got hope by the end of my 2nd meeting. I'll tell you how it happened. My first 12-Step meeting was on Tuesday morning, March 10th, 1998. It was at 7:00 a.m. This "Early-Bird" meeting actually meets six days a week (not on Sundays) at 7:00 a.m. At the end of that first meeting (for which I was about 15 minutes... and 29 years, late) I'd gotten a taste of the understanding that there were others "like me" in the world.
But it wasn't until my 2nd meeting, on Wednesday morning, that I got that glimmer of hope. For, you see, when I walked into that meeting (and I was on time for it), I saw a lot of the same faces that I had seen the day before.
In other words, they had managed to stay sober for 24 hours without looking any the worse for it (unlike me). And that gave me hope.
As time passed, though, and I began to realize that the only way I was going to "stay stopped" from drinking would be by changing... everything... about me.
There's a joke in our area to the effect that "alcoholics are like babies diapers... they should be changed often... and for the same reasons."
As I slowly changed everything about me, the drama slowly disappeared from my life. I became serene, largely unflappable and mostly content in the knowledge that things are exactly the way they're supposed to be, that God is running the show and not Ron-Almighty, and that my "job" in life from now on is simply to do the best I can to a) stay sober, b) practice these principles in all my affairs and c) to try to help the still sick and suffering alcoholic inside, and outside, of the rooms.
Which all sounds lovely and altruistic except that every now and then a) I want some cash and prizes and b) I still feel "less than."
Which is why I need hugs.