On Thursday, Nov 29th, if I don't drink or use and I have no plans to do either, I will have been sober and clean 6 years. Like a guy in a meeting I go to says "I didn't get here on a winning streak". I got here finally due to bad checks, of course those checks were alcohol related. I was arrest on a Sunday night at home, this was the second time I was arrested at home for a bad check. We lived in a small town, pop 700 people, this was very embarrassing to my 15 year old daughter, oh yeah we lived on a busy street too. Sidebar; here is the insanity of alcoholism, I had received a letter from the county attorney saying if they received a money order by a certain date the matter would be taken care of otherwise there would be a warrant issued for my arrest; so what do I do, I wait until the day the money is due to the county attorney to mail the check, I did this not once but twice and both times I was arrested. I procrastinated to the last moment because I needed my alcohol money, in my sick mind I must have thought they wouldn't arrest a nice guy like me even though they had done it before. So anyway, I had a couple of phone conversation while I was assigned to the holding cell with my sister and daughter who were both very pissed off at me and to my surprise were not going to bail me out. I had to spend the night in the holding cell, they said I would be release the next morning if the money order was in the incoming mail. That night in jail I thought about all the heat which was on my ass, family upset about my drinking, work upset about my drinking, probation officer I was making excuses to for not going to outpatient treatment who was going to nail me sooner or later. I decided to go to treatment, to cool the heat and hopefully get my drinking control-able again, see even with 9 years in AA the disease was telling me I wasn't an alcoholic but that I just needed to be able to control my drinking. I made some calls and about two weeks after my night in jail I walked through the doors of a treatment center.
I only stayed in treatment two weeks, because I had been in recovery before and was picking the tool kit back up fairly quickly, my counselor told the insurance company I could probably make it on the outside with just Intensive Outpatient counseling. A women I had known from years back when I was active in recovery gave me a ride home and her husband came by later that night and agreed to sponsor me, these 2 wonderful people would give me rides to meetings and other events, I did a lot of early step work riding in my sponsors pickup. Here is how divine providence worked for this drunk; I lived 30 miles from work, a guy in the town drove right past my work place on his way to work and would drop me off, oh yeah I didn't have a drivers license due to my 2nd DUI, after work I would get a ride to a friends house, then go to the 5:15 meeting, my sponsor and his wife were going to college full time in a town 40 miles on east of where I worked, they would meet me at a meeting and drop me off at my house on their/his way home, they lived 10 miles south of me. The stars lined up in my favor those early months, I was able to make 5 or more meetings a week in those early months even though I couldn't legally drive nor was there a meeting in the town I lived in.
The obsession to drink left me fairly early in recovery; I give credit to divine providence and also I felt hope again, were as when I was drinking I just wanted to die. The psychic change Dr. Silkworth talked about really happened to me and it happened within a few days of treatment. I re-connected with the God of my understand by rereading and studying We Agnostics; when I was in recovery before I lived in a small recovery world filled with Bible talking people, I kept my non-Christian spirituality to myself out of fear of being not accepted, people pleasing is one of my major character defects, one I continue to work on. In these 6 years I have continued to seek spiritual growth, I have my outs with some in the program, I still live in the Bible Belt, but I am very comfortable in my own skin and in my own understanding of a God, I stand up for the newcomers who have troubles with the God thing because I don't want them feeling the program will not work for them because they don't believe in the same God as a lot of the people in the rooms are talking about. I also have a sponsor who understands my spirituality and could careless what my Higher Power is or isn't.
Most of you know all about what I have gone through in this last year and what a year it was:-) To me this was the year of the 5th step, I actually did another 4th and 5th step. It was a year of learning to talk to people about what was going on inside. I connected with a wonderful woman who I call my sponsor, my original sponsor isn't easily accessible due to his work schedule, he has moved away too and goes to meetings in another town. I started seeing this woman weekly, it was nice to have some one on one face time with a sponsor again, it was also needed since I was only making 1 or 2 meetings a week; again divine providence stepped in to help me. I also started talking to a few others regularly. I am a pretty closed person, oh yeah I can write stuff here but doing a one on one opening up to another is a challenge, see I don't want to burden another with my struggles. I am learning to undo some of the conditioning of my upbringing, I was starting to get comfortable opening up a lot with my original sponsor and a couple of others, then my moving around and jobs kind of made me back slide, had to keep a good face don't you know, oh I would talk to Lady B sometimes and maybe a couple of others if the pain got bad but for the most part I clammed up again, I don't think it was intentional, it was just the old way of thinking taking over, a bad self survival instinct, haw see I just used the word "self". So yeah the 5th step is about opening up to another, it is easy to talk to my God and even mediate but I need other people in my life for guidance, to explain what God is probably saying and not what I think God is probably saying. With work and school I don't make it to my sponsors every week but I do check in every couple of weeks, see her at meetings and visit with her there. I also go to an average of 4 meetings a week and talk to a couple of other people, my circle of close friends is getting bigger.
Challenges are challenges everybody has them alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike. By embracing the whole of AA; steps, meetings, sponsorship and service work, most of the time I can face the challenges with some semblance of inner-peace. I did freak out a few times this summer, I needed the freak outs to learn some stuff, sorry if I pissed anyone off with the freak outs. The challenges aren't over, not for me and probably not for you either, I am in a better place today to handle the challenges than I was 6 months ago because I walked though the storm and learned a couple of things, I also talked about lot about what was going on, even sometimes in my home group, ugh.
The new challenge is changing my major in college. When I was going through the catalog looking at classes for the next semester, I started really reading what Business Admin was all about and I also read the description for Health Care Information Systems Management and realized this is what I was really wanting to do with a degree. HCISM is learning management skills needed to work in any health care related business, whether it is a hospital, treatment center, Red Cross, American Cancer Society, etc. I don't know jack shit about the medical field really, biology, anatomy and all that type of stuff is foreign to me. I stopped and talked to my sponsor about my thoughts on changing majors, she was very supportive and strongly encouraged me to make the change, so next semester I am taking a different path towards a career. One of my fears is it will take me 3 years to get my degree, that is 3 years without a full time job, something else which is foreign to me, this is also a pride issue, but I think my dad would be cool with me not working as long as I was doing it for a good reason. I talked to my buddy about my fear of taking classes in which I have no practical knowledge of, we both agreed this may be a good thing since the business classes come easy so maybe the new challenge will do me some good. I also talked to the guidance counselor at the college and she told me I might be able to get financial aid to take 9 hours of classes this summer, knock some of the general educations out of the way. I really like were I work, so I don't want to quit for the summer, I would rather stay working there if at all possible until I get my degree; the job is going well and I am well liked by my manager and the big boss.
Well shower time, then to get a few needed groceries before the noon 12 and 12 meeting. Going to put up Christmas lights outside this afternoon since the weather is going to be decent, not sure what next weekend will bring so better get on it while the getting is good; I have an nice front porch and awning at this trailer so I have a place to hang lights, Angel is all excited about decorating for Christmas.
Hope everyone is well, I send a prayer of love and positive energy your way at night. Thanks for being a part of my recovery!
Peace Love Light
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