Depending how it is counted – some counters include the day you enter as 1 some seem to count from the day after – either yesterday or today is my 4000th day sober.
Now there is a fact I never thought I’d be celebrating or mentioning to anybody. When I was a cute (trust me I was ;-)) little kid in short trousers and mud on my knees from the kick about at lunchtime and even when I was greasy adolescent swinging from rock n roll to punk to heavy metal to prog rock with associated hair cut, clothing and apparel changes looking to find an identity I could associate with and that wasn’t in the mainstream, I didn’t have a burning ambition to become and alcoholic either active, arrested or recovering. But that’s life and the breaks you get dealt.
So here I am on another day’s journey to be sober and stay sober. I’ve already reminded myself I am an alcoholic – the sobriety chip I keep on my nightstand by the alarm clock where I drop my keys, glasses, wallet etc. every night and where I pick them up every morning is one key thing. I look at it and barely a day goes by where those two points in the day at least mean I think just briefly – “Thank God I’m sober. I trust I’ll make it through today if I stick to my programme” and then later “Thank God I’m sober. It’s worked for another day”. Then I just have to practice the programme … simple… well, anyone out there who has tried that knows that it ain’t necessarily all that easy but with constant practice and vigilance it certainly isn’t that torrid.
I was invited to be a speaker at a meeting a couple of weeks ago. It’s a meeting I occasionally attend and I know several of the regulars there as we overlap at other meetings too. At the end of that meeting someone approached and asked if I could speak at a meeting a bit further afield. A meeting I’ve not been to for quiet a few years now – it is about 40 miles away from home and in a direction now away from work and not really where I regularly frequent. I used to work much closer to it when I got sober so did drop in every now and then for the first few years of my sobreity. To find the date hits my 4000th days sober is one of those AA co-incidences… it was the first ever meeting I went to, being bussed there in the rehabs people carrier like a bunch of naughty school kids all planning clandestine dashes to the chip shop to buy forbidden foods and cans of coke! I spent half the meeting wondering if it was impolite to return to the kitchen to get some more of the chocolate biscuits which I’d not eaten since entering rehab!
I first identified with AA members on that first night as people shared back about the speakers story, which I have to truthfully say with sadness I never listened to at all I was just thinking what on earth was I doing there. The people shared back and I was stunned that these people felt like me, drank like me, were being so honest about all their struggles… but… key point… were living in the real world and able supposedly to cope with all that and not drink. I now know that the seed of hope in the 12 steps and the AA fellowship was planted in me on that night. Some weeks later I went there on the last night I was in rehab on my initial stay (I was moving to a part-time day programme) and I shared. I just blurted out right at the end of the meeting that I was leaving rehab and really thanked them for being there for me. So tonight will be a really special opportunity to return to that place and thank those that jump started my AA career.