When I told a friend that I was thinking about writing a gratitude blog as I was coming up to 25 years of sobriety, she said it would give me a lot to think about. She was so right! Reflecting on that first year of sobriety and my ongoing efforts to stay sober has been much deeper and richer than I had imagined.
To start with, I decided to tell the hard truths, like we do in A.A. To share some of the insane things I did in my drinking and drugging days. To share how hard it has been to get sober. Writing about my experiences before and after sobering up is the whole point of this blog, so it only makes sense to put the truth out there, even when it is neither pretty nor flattering.
As my years of sobriety grew, I thought less and less about those early days of getting sober. Spending these months thinking back about getting sober, especially that first year, has been amazing. It was surprisingly hard to do this digging and reflecting at times. Many of those early memories are so sharp – and unpleasant. Those memories remind me how unhealthy and truly insane I was when I was using. They confirm just how important it was to do the work on myself so that I could get sober and stay sober.
Writing this blog has also given me a chance to share how important A.A. has been to my sobriety. Many people say they have trouble with this or that about the A.A. program. I don’t mean to say their concerns are trivial, only to encourage people to take a second (or third) look at A.A. As a feminist, as a lesbian, as someone who does not participate in organized religion, there are some things about A.A. that I have to take a deep breath about and let go, following the A.A. approach of “take what you want and leave the rest.” But I firmly believe I would not have sobered up without A.A. and I am so very grateful for the program and the people in those rooms at 8pm or noon or whenever alcoholics and addicts gather to work on their sobriety.
Spending this year reflecting on getting sober has also allowed me to see the progress I have made. To remember the insanity of my life as an addict and alcoholic. To re-live those first shaky days and weeks of early sobriety. To acknowledge my hard work struggling through the 12 Steps in that first year. To so deeply appreciate my greater contentment and ease, the many small joys I experience in my daily life. To remember the importance of continuing to work on the A.A. program, including giving back to other alcoholics and addicts as I keep working on my sobriety, “one day at a time.” And to share the immense gratitude I have for the many blessings in my life.