That is 10 years of not drinking after 35 years of abusing alcohol. I remember coming into AA and hearing people with 10, 20, 30 years of sobriety and feeling overwhelmed with the idea of that much time, of feeling remorse for lost time and feelings of hope that it was possible to live a life without alcohol. I honestly had never thought about it until then. A life without alcohol. It was so ingrained into my life from childhood I never considered the possibility, didn't care to, and I accepted the unconscious choices I was making because unknowingly my life was ruled by alcohol and the false self that it had helped to create rather than the freedom of my true self for which I was created. "It is in self forgetting that one finds" is one of my favorite verses from the St Francis Prayer because it so very succinctly defines the spiritual journey, false self forgetting for finding true self. Alcohol was a part of that false self but once I put the drink down, lo and behold it was still there. Defects of character, defenses, rationalizations, justifications, mistrust, FEAR, insecurity, esteem, I could go on, all part of the human condition with or without alcohol. Alcohol just helped protect me yet also contributed to their manifestation and acted like cement. AA and its 12 Steps helped me to uncover the glimpse of the true self and a path for a spiritual journey that I had no idea I needed and wanted to take until alcohol brought me to my knees and broke me enough to allow the light to shine in and show me a way out. I get why they wanted to originally title the Big Book "A Way Out" because that's what my journey in AA has felt like. So in a way, even though alcohol was my downfall it was also my salvation. I've learned to accept paradoxes.
I'm always happy to still have this blog even though I've been inactive. Journaling was never my strong suit and this was a great way to journal and then to have the feedback as well as other bloggers experiences to carry the message was just so helpful to me. I always reread some of my journal entries to remind myself of what my early recovery was like. This year I wanted to post as well. 10 years. My recovery is still strong though different. I am reminded of what I heard a man named Dennis say early on, "AA is not my whole life but it made my life whole". I know what he means now. I have struggled in the last 5 years with how many meetings Should I be going to, how many women Should I be sponsoring, how many times Should I share...etc. etc. etc. The Shoulds! My therapist always says don't be a Shouldhead! I have learned to be easy. To understand that my recovery now is not going to look like my recovery 5 or 10 years ago. I have found the meetings that work for me. I do not beat myself up if I miss one. I have a new sponsor in this last year after years of having a sponsor in name only. She is helping me to discern my spiritual journey because that is what my recovery looks like now. And if I can give back what was given to me, I am grateful.
I am trying to practice these principles in all my affairs though I often fail. See paragraph 1. I would love to be perfect but that's one of my defects as well. Recently we read Step 6 in the 12 & 12 which in the very first few sentences states that this step takes repeated efforts. But how I handle these defects is much different today than it was 10 years ago or even last year.
"But the first salt wind from the east, the first sight of the lighthouse set boldly on its outer rock, the flash of a gull, the waiting procession of seaward-bound firs on an island, made me feel solid and definate again..."
-Sarah Orne Jewitt
From the Bondage of Self Going Sober: June 11, 2007
To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. --Henri J. M. Nouwen
So Far Away by Stain'd
And So It Continues....
"There were in her at the moment two beings, one drawing deep breaths of freedom and exhilaration, the other gasping for air in a little black prison-house of fears. But gradually the captive's gasps grew fainter, or the other paid less heed to them; the horizon expanded, the air grew stronger, and the free spirit quivered for flight." Edith Wharton