Step 1. Alcoholics Anonymous. Way back. Like, waaaaaay back. Years ago. Quietly suspecting that those words might hold some magic. Quietly suspecting I might have a problem. Quietly drinking. Quietly suppressing, trying not to bother anyone. Quiet. I read those words somewhere…and waited for the magic to happen. It didn’t come. Admitting I was powerless over alcohol was embarrassing even as I thought about it while I was alone.
Fast forward to last year. 2013. Lent. Gave up alcohol. Again. Thankful that there were only 3 days between Ash Wednesday and the first Sunday of Lent so that I could drink. I always thought that fasting from whatever we gave up on Ash Wednesday was kind of like a “gimme” to get me through till Sunday. Not like when Lent is in full swing and you have to go a week before you can have what you forsook. (? That sounds weird, but I think it’s right.) Regardless. Irregardless. Either way, I.never.made.it. I came close once & then I drank on Good Friday. I felt like such a schmuck. There I am, going through all the motions and traditions that are so dear to me – and then I drank – sigh. Sigh. Jesus came and died for the sinners, for the sick. I counted there.
2014. Through inspiration from someone very close to me, I stopped drinking. To be in solidarity. He gave me strength. Knowing my inspiration’s battle gave me strength to look at my own war within myself. I was astounded that I could quit. Like that. Like being on a tightrope and feeling completely at ease. I just decided to do it. I counted the days. I was so happy when I made it past 7. Like, I had beaten my Lenten record. What was up with that? I was going to Alanon. I was seeing a counselor. Turns out, I may have had some problems to deal with. (Insert sarcasm;) I started accumulating weeks. Of sobriety. Me! And I liked it! Then I started getting a little worried. How long could I do this? On my own. I wondered about the “white knuckling” I had heard about.
I went to LA. I was invited to an AA meeting. I may have blogged about this before – anywho – as I listened to the part “How It Works,” I was hooked. Yes, I had a desire to stop drinking. Yes, I wanted what those people had. I.found.my.people. All my life – I started drinking when I was 7 – I looked for a place – a place where I fit in. Just like I was. No pretense. Just me. And all my faults. All my baggage. And I had to go clear across the country to find it. Imagine. I had not experienced that kind of true contentment in a long while. Years. And contentment with myself, not because of someone or some outside force. I was happy to be there and felt I found my way home.
Fast forward again. I came home and began going to AA meetings here. I got a sponsor. We started working on my steps immediately. With my sponsor, who knows more about me than any other human on the face of the Earth, I admitted I was powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable. I couldn’t do it alone. My life could not continue the way it was going. Something had to change. Drastically. So, Step 1 began my true journey to sobriety and finding myself. I was finally able to start pulling back the curtain on my life and letting the sun shine on all those secrets for all those decades. And through this journey, I have felt the Son shine His beautiful mercy and love on me. On me. A wretched sinner. A sorrowful, repentant sinner. A simple person who knows what it is to NEVER fit in – who has to think back decades – like before my dad died when I was 8 – to remember feeling like I belonged. It was amazing.