5 years ago today I began to get really worried about my drinking. I had given up my favorite drug a few years earlier but I noticed that the drinking had become a 5 pm daily ritual that I couldn’t seem to give up. I tried moderation. I tried only drinking on certain days. Nothing worked. So I gave myself the 30 day challenge to see if I could actually last 30 days without a drink. I did it. It was a nail biting, tearing my hair out kind of experience (I didn’t yet know about SMART Recovery) but I did it. And after I did it, I celebrated with a whopper of a drunk that ended me up with a broken leg when I slipped and fell down.
That’s when I googled alternatives to AA. That’s when I found SMART Recovery. And that’s when I made the choice to change my life. Hammer was waiting here for me, helping me right from the start. Richard facilitated meetings in those days and he helped me in more ways than I can put into words. And a whole lot of wonderful people guided me through the early days of my journey (too many of you to start listing) as I gradually found my way through that incredible tool box of ours. My life was full of CBAs, ABCs, meetings, more meetings and more meetings. I loved it and my journey took a whole new path because of it.
And there was the really difficult time last year when my partner died suddenly one morning. I sit here with tears of gratitude for all of you who held me close while the slow process of grieving began. And I did that sober. And I’m so glad I didn’t use or drink during all that. I would have missed one of the richest journeys of my life.
Today I live alone. There is nothing so remarkable about living alone except that I’ve never lived alone without using or drinking my whole life. Isn’t that amazing? It’s not always easy. It takes a lot of getting used to. I am learning to surround myself with people that nourish me and people I can give back to. When I help other people, it really makes me feel good about myself.
And I have a VACI (vital absorbing creative interest) that I’m committed to. Something I started years ago when I was a hippy in college. Something I’m doing now clean and sober.
The road I travel has a lot of bumps in it. But I think it always did. The difference is now I don’t numb myself to get through the day. I try to take life as it comes.
It’s a joy to be here.
Thank you, all you smarties who have touched my life so deeply.