When we get here, we are usually shot in many ways. Some have lost, and some have lost BIG, and we come, we come to, and then we start moving forwards.
The moving forwards might be slow at first, and some of us might not be so sure on our feet, or in our heads. With the encouragement of others, and hopefully a sponsor in our back pockets, we begin the slow climb out of hell.
I’ve been through several losses in my life, due to addiction and bad choices. And that last bad choice, cost me everything that I owned save a backpack full of clothes, my bible and a few books.
Once again, I had to rebuild from the ground up.
It took a while to reach my ultimate bottom, and the biggest decision was, “was I ready and willing to grow up now?” The answer was a hesitant, Yes.
When I got here, like I have said before, I was already hooked up when I landed finally to stay in one place and give it a go.
Having nothing but a couple of suitcases and a few boxes was good for me, because I was not carrying much of the past, into my future. Just mental baggage and trauma.
They have said to me, that when we start using and drinking, we become stunted, and we mentally and emotionally remain the age we were when it all began. With that said, I was a twenty year old boy, living in a thirty four year old body. In congruent to say the least.
I walked into a room one night, with an expectation list as long as my arm for God, because, in some universe, I thought God owed me for coming back.
Those ideas were shot down immediately.
I did the work required of me. Had a sponsor, and was participating in an aftercare rehab program with a therapist, who I had in my life for a couple of years. Tonight we read a story about a woman who got sober quite young. But in the room tonight, were folks of varying ages and situations.
It was mentioned that some thought that where they are right now, is not where they thought that they should be, or that they should be somewhere else, or have an idea of what they want to do with their lives.
Some of these questions are still outstanding.
But we learn, that sobriety and clean time, is about the journey and NOT the destination.
And no two people are at the same point in my social circle in either fellowship.
In my first year, I was not ready to commit to much except staying clean and sober. The clean was really not an issue of me because at that point I had been clean for more than a year when I landed here, it was the drink that worried me.
On my year anniversary, my therapist sat me down and asked me a single question.
You’ve been sober a year now, What do you want to do now? What is it that you would like to accomplish that you haven’t yet done? well, those are two questions, really.
I decided that I would go back to school. At age 35.
I was in a relationship that came out of nowhere, and I was really happy with that new part of my life. I had the idealistic idea, that I would meet a man, on a one off situation, and that that would be it, all said and done, because I saw my best friend, a number of years ago, get that one off attraction, and he and his husband had been together for over a decade when I got sober the second time.
I moved in with hubby, in the Winter of 2002. I became a Canadian Citizen on February 13th of 2003. And started school that next fall.
I had built for myself meeting infrastructure. I had my “set in stone” meeting nights that I maintain to this very day, now fourteen years later. I had a boyfriend, whom, in 2004, became my husband. We were, by that time, both in university. We were building a home, and both of us going to meetings. We are both clean and sober.
I never had real plans that were outlandish. I had just enough strength to keep together what we were building together. And we started with an empty apartment between us and we began to build. That build had reached its climax last fall, 2015.
I live with a terminal illness and nobody knew if I would live this long. My doctor had hope, that the medication I was and am taking today, was going to raise the stakes and keep me alive. And so everyday, for me, is a new day, because I am still alive and breathing. At twenty two years now, we don’t know the long term life expectancy, but the odds are good right now, so this keeps things in perspective.
My story is unique. Because among this sober community, I am one human being who survived the 1980’s and 1990’s AIDS death story. I am the only one left in the room that survived.
I know my limits and I know the detriment that expectations bring. I keep it simple and I live every day well. I did not know where we were going to end up or how life was going to turn out. We did not plan for this, but we hoped with all that we had, that we would be able to make this relationship work as it was dealt to us, illness and bi-polar diagnosis situations as it turned out.
They also say that, in sobriety, we make plans and God laughs.
Lately, God has been laughing a great deal at some of my friends. That is the running joke right now.
Coming from nothing into the life I had, I could not have predicted it, and did not know it would get this good. We live one day at a time, very simply.
For many, in sobriety, this is a bitter pill for folks who expect to be somebody substantial, and to have something to speak of, or be proud of, expectations, again …
Some folks are not there yet, and so they ask … “Are we there yet?”
One day at a time.