No, it’s not my day-of-birth but my day-of-rebirth, known in Alcoholics Anonymous as my Birthday. It’s been thirteen years since I took that last drink, one day at a time. I don’t know how much that adds up to in 24-hour increments, but what matters is that I won’t drink today.
I remember everything about that last cocktail: where I was, who I was with, how it tasted as it went down, how it felt. It was a vodka martini, the second one. The clock on the bar wall read 3:45. I knew I had to quit. I’d waited until the last minute, and now it was do or die. I toasted my friend, slugged back the remaining droplets, and exited into the warm summer-like afternoon. I mumbled the Serenity Prayer, remembered why I was doing this, why I had to do this, and went on with my life.
In fact, I went on with a new life. The old one wouldn’t work anymore since much of it centered around drinking. Step by step, I learned who I was underneath the drunk. I followed dreams and realized them. I made a new way for myself. I had to cut out some friends who didn’t understand “why the fuck” I wouldn’t drink with them; I made new friends. The fog lifted from my eyes, and I felt renewed. I took to heart a spiritual presence, something greater than myself, without whose help I would have never survived.
Everybody does it differently, but one thing all alcoholics/addicts have in common is the way our drug rules our life. So in the face of such evidence, why are we so resistant to change? That’s what addiction does. It tells us what we’re doing is okay, right, the only way open to us. What would we have left in a world without booze? The devil we know, etc.
I won’t go into the insidious tragedy that is alcoholism, or how an alcoholic mind will do anything to keep us drinking: lie, cheat, steal – anything. I won’t try to define why one person can have a few glasses of wine with dinner, while another won’t stop until all the booze is gone or they pass out, whichever comes first. Unless you ask, I won’t tell you about the things I did during my drinking career. Some were good and some were very very bad. I’m lucky to be here today.
More precisely, I am blessed.
So raise a glass with me- mine is ginger ale, but you drink whatever works for you. Please join me to toast thirteen years of sobriety. One day at a time.