In a few days time I’ll be able to collect my latest sobriety chip. For those of you who don’t use AA the background is that some groups give out chips or medallions to celebrate lengths of sobriety. In the first year these are monthly then annually from there on. However the most important one anyone can get is their first 24 hour chip – the first day they didn’t drink. I never got that one as I rocked off to rehab rather than just arriving at the doors of AA unaided. On my night stand I have two chips – the one I was given on my “graduation” from rehab and my current chip. I don’t collect them I recycle my old one back into the chip pot in my home group so that someone else can collect it and I view being able to hand one over it having been in my sight first thing every morning and last thing every night is a good luck omen, I hope, to anyone who subsequently receives it.
However the AA birthday approaches and I’m less focused on it now than I used to be. I just accept being sober, being in recovery and all that as such a part of my life it is just there. But I shouldn’t forget whilst I don’t have a daily battle with the obsession to drink I still have a daily battle with life at times. I had a stupid blazing row with a lady who parked across my drive at the weekend at the point we were all leaving to go somewhere. I provoked the situation, added coal to the fire and then was more enraged when the lady reacted to my provocation. By the time we’d driven to where we were going I was embarrassed, remorseful and sorry for how I acted. Step 10 – When we are wrong promptly admit it (paraphrasing). I apologised to my wife and daughter about it. It was laughed off but it worried me. I could (should) have just sat there, asked the lady to move and waited a few minutes then just gone with a smile and wave. Why didn’t I? I don’t really know – underlying stress about things? Maybe… I need to think on that more and look for any patterns in thinking and behaviour but it was my old style of behaviour… just stupid, childish and crass. Reflect, consider, learn, move on. That is what I try to now do.
As an interesting additional thought – I had a drinking dream the other night. One of those ones where I was in a situation, looked down and had a pint in my hand – lager which is interesting as I didn’t regularly drink that back in the day and then knew I’d had some already and was thinking – “Too late I’ve started again”. On waking there is that heartbeat or two when my rational brain is trying to make sense of what I was dreaming and there is a moment of “Was that a true or implanted memory?” One of two breaths later I know it was just a dream but …. that behaviour, drinking dreams…. Possibly the anniversary isn’t as benign as I said at the top these anniversaries, these cycles can dredge up stuff unconsciously that it is important to process possibly.