On the 17th of this month I’ll be 30 years without a drink or a drug. While it is quite a milestone, none of this would be possible without the help of many, many people and an amazing 12 step program.
Like most addicts and alcoholics I lived in denial; I also lived with extreme shame, guilt and remorse every single day, before and after a binge. When I drank I got drunk, seriously drunk. Falling down drunk. Blackout drunk. Not a pretty picture, and nothing to be proud of.
After years of this behavior, those closest to me were done. There was no talking to, or reasoning with me. As I was spiraling down, the only friends left were the ones who drank and used like I did, some in worse shape than me…. others not. Every excuse I could imagine was the cause of my very unhappy life.
I clearly remember how it all unfolded. I felt like dying when the ‘god moment’ happened. I believe my Higher Power took the reins and before I realized what was happening, I was dialing a friend who I knew was sober (and avoiding), crying desperately for help. She was at my door within a half hour of the call and didn’t leave my side until she walked me into my first 12 step meeting. I was scared, in a fog and didn’t quite grasp what was going on. I do remember feeling a sense of relief. My secret (which was not a secret to anyone who knew me) was out. After that meeting I was able to breathe a little easier.
On that day I made a commitment to give sobriety a chance. I said it out loud, and day by day I started to believe if I listened to those who had days, weeks, months and even years of sobriety — maybe I had a chance. There was nothing left to lose at that point.
It has not been all peaches and cream on this road, but by staying on this road I have lived the best years of my life. The last 30 years is nothing short of a miracle. No matter how you get to your first day sober, stay on the road and see where see where it leads you. In gratitude, Barbara