Yesterday was my 11th sobriety anniversary. In fact, it was exactly Sunday, March 8, 1998 that (so far) I had my last drink of alcohol.
In fact, that last drink was AFTER I'd gotten out of jail that morning. Yes. Jail. On a drunk-driving charge from Saturday night. I awoke that Sunday morning in a cell, my clothes piled neatly on the floor ourside of my cell... safely out of reach (lest I do something stupid, like fashion a noose from my trousers). It took most of the last $220 I had in my wallet to get out of jail that morning. I still had part of a 1.75 liter bottle of rotgut vodka back in my small room at my brother's house, where I'd spent the previous 3 months sleeping on a paper-thin mattress on the attic floor. I polished it off before I passed out for the last time. I hated myself and wished I were dead.
Two days later I attended my first 12-Step meeting, at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, March 10, 1998.
After that there were court dates, a loss of license for 6 months, fines, insurance surcharges, court-mandated attendance at something called IDRC (Intoxicated Driver Resource Center) and, finally, court-ordered attendance at 12-Step meetings for the next year.
By the time the court got around to that, though, I'd already been attending meetings for 3 months. In fact, I'd gotten my 90-Day pin the day before my first court appearance.
11 years later... during which there've been no police, no courts, no insurance surcharges and, most importantly of all, no court-mandated attendance at 12-Step meetings (I run to them of my own volition these days).
I've come to realize a lot of things in those 11 years. I've come to realize that there is a God and that I'm not him (or her). I've also come to believe that there is a plan, which is not my plan and that God, frankly, doesn't give a rat's ass about my opinions regarding that plan, but that my job is to show up for that plan and to do my best to implement that plan. It makes life so much easier when we stop trying to be God... and get rid of that massive chip on our shoulders because we are not God.
I have loving friends and family. For a long time I didn't. I like being around people today. For a long time I didn't.
I go to a Step meeting on Sunday mornings in the sleepy little town of Plainsboro, NJ (home of the non-existent Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital where House practices being a medical jerk). My sponsor goes to the meeting with me. It allows us to have some valuable "face-time" every week. He gave me my 11 year piece at the meeting yesterday.
I love my sponsor. He's my best friend. He puts up with a lot of crap and neediness from me. He thinks I'm a good friend, too. He's told me so. We're good for each other. He and his wife have taken good care of me over the years. They've been there for me with all my medical crap over the years. I would take bullets for them.
So today I start my 12th year of sobriety. I started it the same way I started my sobriety on a dismal, friendless and hopeless Sunday morning in 1998.
One Day at a Time.