A month shy of my sixteenth sober anniversary comes on the ninth day of November, when my fellow, Juan, picks up another year sober.
The rat has been unusually quiet, as of late. I am much more serene than I have been in a long time. Over the past little while, I’ve consolidated my energies. And to this date, I have deleted people, places and things from my life that I just don’t have the mental or emotionally energy to put towards any more.
The joys of being 50 I guess.
I am a bit more selfish with whom I socialize with. I’ve paid my sober dues to people in the rooms for the last ten years. Many of the dues I paid were never reciprocated in any way, shape, or form. I don’t owe anyone any more favors. And I said that to a lady friend not long ago.
My friends have repeated the same refrain that they believe I need to hear and that is:
You have sixteen years of sobriety. That’s nothing to smirk at. It’s a good chunk of time. You know what to do. You have a routine that works, and people who love you. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks or says. You aren’t them. Your experience is unique in the rooms and nobody can take that from you. They are correct.
The last eighteen months have been terribly emotional for me. I hear Lorna in my mind speaking the words of: “I’ve never been so ANGRY, RESENTFUL and BITTER in my life in sobriety, after all these years.”
But I am not fully on the page with being totally, “Compassionate, Understanding, and totally 100% Serene, just yet.” But I am working on it.
I do not trust entire communities of people. I know them more intimately than they know themselves. Because I have studied my friends like lab rats for the entire run of my sobriety.
Wisdom sets in little by slowly. I do know this for sure: Hindsight is my greatest teacher. People have come and gone from my life. People have died, people have gone back out and drank and used. And with this much time, I can safely say, looking back at all these goings on, with regards to decisions and actions, there were patterns of behavior and patterns of decisions, inaction, or purposeful action, that led to what each of them did.
I know what that looks like today. Very Useful Lessons about Sobriety.
When I speak to people, they really don’t want to hear my critique of their sobriety. So I write it down. I write everything down. I pay good money to keep this private place safe from prying eyes. I paid a price in allowing every Joe and Charlie to read my rantings and ravings.
Over sober time, one grows up in many ways. One begins to see the patterns as they reveal themselves to you, the longer you spend in a particular meeting. I am soberly invested in three communities now. I really pay attention to my friends. Not that they admire that attention I give them, and some of them would rather I just keep to myself.
I do that now. Because not many people care for my brand of sobriety.
They want lip service and no responsibility for their actions or decisions. Which keeps them numb and dumb. I don’t know why people like it that way, when the program of recovery IS a program of action. People don’t want action, they want simple stupidity.
I am SO OVER simple stupidity.
We spoke of willingness. You either get it or you perish. We spoke of spirituality and spiritual principles. You either find them or perish. You practice what you are told to practice on a daily basis, or you perish, and you languish in numb and dumb.
I hate people. I dislike people. I resent people. I do not trust everybody equally.
When we come in, we are supposed to be kind to everyone. Allow everyone a little latitude. We are supposed to be understanding, because when I came in people were all those things to me. Sadly., members today are not so kind and giving.
I saw an old sponsor tonight for the first time in a long while. The very same man who used to demean me and call me derogatory names. I fired him because of this practice. Why are double-digit sober men such assholes, I ask you ?
Tonight, I said hello and the first words out of his mouth were:
Well, you have some grey hair don’t you !!!
I’ve lost thirty pounds. I look better than I have ever looked before in my life. Not since twenty-five years ago looking. He did not notice that. He noticed my grey hairs.
UGH !!! I hate men.
Alcoholics are sick people trying to get well. Some of them, are trying to get well. Others, on the other hand, are just plain SICK. They are numb and dumb. And many of those sick double-digit sober men have legions of long sober women, who continually blow smoke up their asses, as they pledge their loyalty to them and laud them as paragons of sober living. I tend to disagree with these people, vehemently.
I have a close-knit group of friends now. Some of my best friends have a fraction of sober time that I do, yet they are men, in my age group, who love me for me, who have stood with me on the firing line and supported me through my angriest phase of sobriety.
I know how people have treated me over the last year, which is reflective in which meetings I go to today, who I socialize with and who I give my time to.
My friends are suffering. Not many of them know how to pick up the 2000 pound phone. That has always been an issue in the rooms. We ALL have SMART PHONES, yet we don’t necessarily use them as they were intended to be used.
I follow a specific pattern in sobriety. I do specific things. I offer the same council to everybody. I offer simple suggestions, which, when you put them all together, will give you a complete recipe of how to get and stay sober.
Many of my fellows don’t believe a word I say in public. They just shake their heads in dismay, like, is this guy for real ? Is it really that simple ?
Yes, it is that very SIMPLE…
This far along in my sobriety, nobody has come into my sober orbit, with anything new to try. Meaning, I have not met another sober member from anywhere else, who has a new fangled way of working the program. I am still running on the New York, Atlantic Group, Big Book Sober Program, I learned from a group of folks over years ago.
However, I did work another round of steps with my Mennonite an Mormon Elder Spiritual directors this past summer into the fall. That was very fruitful. I finally ticked ALL the shit I have been sitting on for all these years, which has spiritually freed my soul to sing joyfully.
It has been a year since my Elder Christensen went home to Idaho. Spencer is now at Brigham Young University in Utah, studying medicine. I love my Spencer. He is the smartest spiritual young man I have ever met. That’s what struck me from the very first conversation we had when we met over a year ago, now.
He gives me faith and he gives me love of Heavenly Father.
You cannot go wrong with a Mormon Elder in your life. At least I can’t.
I’ve learned that there is light after the darkest of days. I’ve learned that I can feel, and walk through those feelings, damned what anybody else thinks about me. And I did that over the last eighteen months, and I did not drink over any of it.
Because I followed a strict sober recipe.
Go to meetings. Speak honestly. Do service. And fuck all everybody else in the room.
All along this journey, people feared me and avoided me like the plague. Nobody from the meetings I had been participant in, said anything supportive to me, at any stage of the game. Not One Soul offered me friendship nor companionship, or even kindness.
They just let me come and go, rant and rave, and not one of them did anything to help me ease the Dis-Ease I had walked through for so many months on end.
And I hate every last one of them. They can all go fuck themselves.
I stayed sober and I grew up, in spite of my emotional and mental problems. And I survived to see my fiftieth birthday and survive twenty-five years living with AIDS.
I AM a survivor.
Despite what anyone else thinks, says, or believes about me.
Today, I could care less what people think of me, because for a long time, I harbored resentments about those very same people because they ignore me in public and are uncharitable and unkind to me in front of others.
Now I know, they are just the same old numb and dumb sick alcoholics.
Sixteen is just around the corner.
Praise God I don’t have a desire to drink or use.