On Sobriety after 13 years

October 4, 2001 is my sobriety date.  It took several attempts to get here and even more attempts to stay here.  And I’m still not done, for each day I get up and I make the decision that I still want to be sober and I do what’s necessary to stay that way.

Back then it was a clawing by my fingernails existence for a good while. Back then it was a get through a minute, hour, day, week, month, year sober one day at a time, and some days even now it can feel like that.  But incredibly different.

Longer term sobriety is luxurious.  It is gratitude filled.  It’s the difference between a dish you’ve lovingly prepared that took much preparation and then much longer to simmer and baste and tend to hourly to create something deeply rich with flavor versus microwaving single serve macaroni and cheese.  Both have their merits.  For newly sober people, that microwaved single serving mac and cheese is delicious.  It’s the difference between something hot and creamy and a bag of chips.  It’s all in your perspective of where you came from, versus where you are now.

Long term sobriety is getting an email from your mom like this –

Honey–Happy, happy birthday! Thirteen years of sobriety–unbelievable.
I’ve watched you do the hard work for so long now, teaching and encouraging and walking with so many others along the way, many of whom you will probably never meet. I’ve never seen you soar the way you have in the past year or two, though. Having your babies has added a whole new dimension, a whole new richness, a whole new reason behind the way you’re living your life. It’s just a total pleasure to be able to be in on the whole thing. Have a wonderful celebration; you know I’ll be thinking of you.

– when your messages from her years ago were simply full of concern and worry.

Long term sobriety is friends and family KNOWING it’s your day and celebrating along with you because they get to have you in their lives.  And THEY GET THEIR LIVES BACK.  It’s a family affair, sobriety, and it takes us being vigilant and never resting on the fact that we’ve not used in a long time.  Because we all know someone.  We’ve all seen someone with long term sobriety who seems to have their shit together GO BACK OUT.  It never ends well.  You don’t hear many people who go back out reporting back that HEY, IT IS REALLY GREAT OUT HERE AND I CAN TOTALLY HANDLE IT.  Nope.  It’s usually worse than ever.  It usually ends in a terrible, hurtful way to all involved.

May I be fortunate enough to always remember and always choose sobriety.  Every single day.

As long as I make the decision each day to stay sober, I get this life beyond my wildest dreams.  Just because I thankfully celebrate 13 years sober means nothing if tomorrow I wake up and think, “hey, I can have a drink.”

EVERY DAMN DAY.  Together.  We can do this.  For ourselves.  And then everyone around us reaps the rewards of our sobriety.  We get to be productive members of society.  And this life is too damn good to miss out.  Sobriety is my most valuable possession.  It’s worth more than anything else in the world so I guard it and protect it as if it’s under threat at all times.  And yet, I get to take it out and show it a good time and really bask in the beauty of it every single day.  It’s cared for as if caring for a flower garden.  It needs tending and pruning and weeding and watering and also appreciation.  Otherwise, what’s the point really?  It becomes dark and unhealthy and withers and dies.  What’s the point of being sober if it’s not incredible?

Lucky number 13! You know what they say. 13 is the hardest year yet! WINK.

Everything I have is a gift.  A bonus.  A delectable, well prepared dish after eating only microwaved, processed food for a long time.  And lots of bedpie.

I don’t want to risk losing any of this.  So I never take any of it for granted.  I practice gratitude every single day as I have much to be grateful for.  I do the hard work on myself working on changing my behaviors and my attitude.  I suit up and show up.  I keep helping others.  As I was helped and continue to be helped.  This is how it works.  FOR ME.  And it works if you work it.  


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