How superstitious are you? Salute magpies? Avoid walking under ladders?
Well 13, the bakers dozen, is often considered an unlucky number. Today I reach that number in terms of number of years in sobriety. How has that happened? Well, to reiterate a phrase I’ve heard repeatedly over those years, “don’t drink and go to meetings”. Yes there has over time been more than that to it but you have first and foremost to simply not drink before the other stuff can occur. I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking inwards at who I am, who I want to be, who I don’t want to be and what is the true meaning of my life today… note not yesterday, not tomorrow but here, now, here, in this place with me in focus.
I often reflect that I regularly still feel like a newcomer in recovery terms. In my regular circle of recovery buddies there are many with 20 years, some with 30 and actually one terrific guide to me who has over 50 now. Many of the groups I attend were set up by these people not because they didn’t like a particular meeting or the venue etc. But simply because there wasn’t a meeting that was accessible in any reasonable time and distance. My recovery has been greatly aided by being rarely more than 24 hours or a dozen miles from a meeting. I’ve been blessed.
13 years is significant for me. I judge my alcoholic drinking from age 16 when going to the pub with my mates became regular until that day in May 2004 when I stopped. That’s about 25 years. So 13 means I’ve been sober just over half the time I was drinking. Just to me that feels like I’ve crested some sort of summit on my journey.
Now if 13 years ago you’d have said that I’d get to today without taking a drink and that I’d be so focused still on my recovery and that my life would be what it is now – I’d have laughed in your face. I now look forward (ALERT: projection is never something to dwell on for me) if you say in another 13 years I’ll still have never taken a drink, I’ll still be engaged in my recovery and still engaged with my recovery communities (in the rooms, on the web etc)…. ok I don’t scoff outrageously any more but I shrug with a “who knows” feeling, a bit like the dismissive Gallic shrug Frenchmen have so artfully mastered.
For now though it’s just another day…. one day at a time…. The only example I can offer is that if you don’t drink and go to meetings one day at a time you might find, like me, that you pass some significant milestones every few days or so.